Bao buns. Maybe a new word for you, but one you definitely need to meet and know: Bao buns are soft and smooth buns filled with all variety of fillings and originated in China. I never dreamed a gluten free, let alone a PALEO version of my beloved Asian bao buns from my gluten days would even be possible. But cravings are the mother of all inventions. And these Paleo bao buns were created.
After countless trials and errors, I have finally nailed a recipe I am proud of. And because I don’t want to keep it all to myself, I am finally sharing this recipe for Paleo bao buns with you!
My love affair of Asian bao buns of all varieties began long ago when gluten free was not even something in my conscience. Maybe, just MAYBE I was wee bit obsessed with those fluffy buns brimming with various meat and vegetable fillings.
One of my favorite cookbooks before losing the gluten was Asian Dumplings. Foremost, it is a fantastic book by Andrea Nguyen with all variety of bun and dumpling recipes. And boy do I mean variety!
Try as I might, I never found a dough recipe that ever gave me the satisfaction of the bao buns from my past….the texture was all wrong. While dry and crumbly might work in a berry crumble, what I was looking for was soft and pillowy. Yep, pillowy…not sure if that is even a word?!!! But you get the picture.
Over the years, I have tried. Trust me, I have tried. Countless buns. Countless flour versions. Maybe my bao buns were a pipe dream?
There was not a single attempt that was worth sharing, that is of course until now!
Not only have I created an easy to work with dough for my gluten free peeps…I have made it GRAIN free too, making these Paleo and Whole 30 friendly…yes (insert squeal of delight!)!!!!!
The ways in which I want to use this dough are endless…this is just the first way I prepared it, and it’s a DOOZY!!
I CAN’T WAIT FOR YOU GUYS TO TRY IT!
- Cassava Flour: an AIP friendly flour, it lends a great chewy texture to final products, and it has a totally neutral flavor! It is one of the easiest Paleo flours to use!
- Psyllium powder: This finely ground powder (not the flaky husks) is a key to binding the dough and providing much needed elasticity. It will add some extra fiber into your diet too! Xanthum gum works well too. I find this in the bulk spice sections of my natural foods store. Because it is a fiber, it is usually found in the supplement section too, just be sure it is not flavored!
- Flax meal: While I prefer the golden flax meal in my light colored baked goods, they both function the same. Flax meal is found in the fridge section of your grocery store…it needs to be kept cool!
I know some people enjoy seeing step by step how to photos!
Like Asian inspired dishes? Here are a few you could try that are mostly Paleo and all gluten free!
- Paleo Asian Roasted Chicken
- Quick Asian Stir Fry w/ Hamburger
- Thai Mung Bean Falefels
- Simple Grilled Vietnamese Chicken
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 cup cassava flour
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- ¼ cup golden flax meal
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon psyllium husk POWDER, or 1 tablespoon xanthum gum
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1¼ cup warm water
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- ¼ cup honey (could use less if you prefer)
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- Meat filling:
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ cup green onions, chopped
- ⅓ cup coconut aminos(or gluten free tamari)
- 1 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons minced/finely grated ginger
- 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
- Sea salt to taste, start with ½ teaspoon.
- 1 12oz package shredded cabbage or slaw mix
- For Topping:
- 1 egg white plus 1 tablespoon water whipped OR for egg free, mix 2 tablespoons EACH avocado oil and milk of choice.
- Sesame seeds
- Prepare the filling.
- Preheat a pan over medium heat, and crumble in the hamburger and the remaining ingredients except the cabbage to brown. Continue to stir occasionally, breaking the meat up.
- When the meat mixture is cooked through, mix in the cabbage, and cook until just wilted, and set aside to cool a bit while you prepare the dough.
- Prepare the dough. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a liquid measuring cup, mix the wet ingredients, and set aside to proof the yeast (should become frothy within a couple of minutes)
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the flours, flax meal, baking powder, psyllium or xanthum gum and sea salt.
- Once the yeast is frothy, mix wet ingredients into the dry mixture.
- Stir until mixed....the dough will be a bit stiff, but continue to mix until incorporated. I like to do this with my mixer to keep it easy. Set aside for 5 minutes to let the flours and psyllium work their magic and firm up nicely.
- Sprinkle a work surface with a bit of tapioca flour, and roll the dough out to a cookie sheet sized rectangle. Sprinkle additional tapioca to avoid sticking if necessary.
- Cut into 12 equal squares (ish)
- Working piece by piece, roll the square out enough to have apx a 5" or 6" square.
- Holding the dough in your hand, scoop about ⅓ cup of meat filling into the center.
- Close you palm around the filling and use you other fingers to seal and mold the bun.
- Place the bun, seam side down on a greased cookie sheet.
- Complete the remaining buns.
- Brush the bun tops with some whipped egg white, or a milk/oil emulsion and then sprinkle with additional sesame seeds.
- Bake in a preheated oven for about 18-22 minutes until golden.
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