Steamed Buns

ditto steamed buns

♫ Listening to: PONPONPON by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

Is it weird that I’ve never actually had a steamed bun? I remember there was a place in Philly that all my friends talked about back in the day that had vegan pork buns, so I modeled these after the memory of someone else talking about those. Haha. And of course, I spend wayyy too much time playing Pokemon Go, so I tried to make them look like ditto. If you like pokemon too, you might also like my snorlax cake and my pokeball pizza waffles. These are colored using purple yam (ube), and are sometimes called mantao.

This recipe makes around 12 steamed buns, depending on how big you want them to be.

Steamed Bun Ingredients

  • 1 large or 2 small purple yams
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • ½ cup warm unsweetened nondairy milk (I use my thermometer to heat it to ~110 degrees)
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon safflower or sunflower oil (or any vegetable oil)
  • extra flour for dusting rolling surface
  • cup of water
  • plastic wrap

Steamed Bun Directions

Steam the yams until you can easily stick a fork into the bigger one.

Cut parchment paper into 12 small squares. They should be a minimum of 3” on each side.

Peel and mash the steamed purple yams.

Measure the mashed yams so that you have ¾ cup when it’s packed in tightly.

Mix the yeast, nondairy milk (I used Milkadamia), and sugar in large bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Add flour, mashed yams, and oil. Knead for 10 minutes. (I use my kitchenaid for this because I’m too out of shape to knead dough without getting winded, haha)

ingredients for vegan pokemon steamed buns

Roll dough into a ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm place for an hour to rise.

purple dough for vegan pokemon steamed buns

Remove a small piece of dough, around the size of a rubber bouncy ball. Knead it with activated charcoal until it turns completely black.

Flatten the remaining dough into a disc and cut it into 12 wedges like you’re cutting a pie. Roll each of the 12 pieces into a ball.

purple dough for vegan pokemon steamed buns

Fill each dough ball with some BBQ jackfruit tucking the pinched part of the dough under the bottom and then set onto a small square of parchment paper.

Cover all of the buns with plastic wrap.

cover the vegan pokemon steamed buns

Shape the black dough into 24 tiny balls for the eyes and 12 short snakes for the mouths.

making vegan ditto steamed buns

Glue each facial feature onto the buns, using water to get them to stick.

vegan ditto steamed buns

Place 4 of the buns into the steamer by picking up their parchment paper squares and setting them in there. Put the lid on.

Steam the buns over rapidly boiling water for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and crack the lid and let them sit for another 10 minutes.

Remove the lid and leave them for another 5 minutes before removing them from the steamer.

Repeat with the other 8 buns.

These can now be frozen for up to 3 weeks and resteamed for 10 minutes before serving. When you resteam them, place a lettuce leaf on the bottom of the steamer to keep them from sticking. I never got a picture of them after I steamed them, but here’s what they looked like before steaming them.

vegan pokemon steamed buns


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