- 375g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1 tsp dried yeast
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1¼ tsp baking powder
- 225ml warm water
- Rapeseed oil
- 100ml rice-wine vinegar
- ½ cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds removed and cut into very thin half moons
- 6 tbsp light soy sauce
- 4 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
- 8 tsp rice-wine vinegar
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 4 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 600g oyster and shiitake mushrooms, cut into 0.5cm slices
- 1 large handful salted peanuts, ground or very finely chopped
1. Start by making the dough. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, then add the water little by little and bring the dough together using your hands; you should have a sticky ball. Turn it out on to a floured surface and knead for five minutes, until smooth and bouncy, then place in an oiled bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place to double in size – an hour to an hour and a half.
2. Meanwhile, put the vinegar and three tablespoons of water in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer over a low flame, then pour into a bowl, add the cucumber and leave to cool.
3. Turn out the dough on to a floured surface, knead for a minute to knock out the air, then divide into 10 equal-sized pieces. Take one piece, gently flatten it into a 1cm-thick disc, then brush one half with a tiny amount of oil. Fold the bun into a half-moon and place on a small square of baking paper on a tray. Repeat with the remaining dough, then loosely cover the tray with clingfilm and leave to rise for 30 minutes more.
4. Now for the filling. In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, garlic and sesame oil. Heat the rapeseed oil in a frying pan on a high flame, then fry the mushrooms hard for six minutes, until soft and browning at the edges. Stir in the sauce to coat, then turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring regularly, for five minutes, until the sauce reduces and goes dark brown.
5. To cook the bao, set a steamer over a pan of simmering water. Put the bao in batches in the steamer, still on their baking paper mats and making sure they don’t touch, cover and steam for eight minutes.
6. Once done, fill each bao with a generous tablespoon of mushrooms, three or four slices of cucumber and, for a little crunch, some peanuts.