Tandoori Jackfruit Bao (Pao) | Vegan/Vegetarian Recipe

Stuffed bao or what is also known as pao in Mauritius, used to be one of my favourite after-school snacks during my late high-school years Baos are soft fluffy Chinese buns that are often stuffed with either sweet or savoury fillings

The traditional Mauritian savoury pao calls for various fillings that are predominantly flavoured with soy sauce For a little fusion twist on the traditional version, in today's recipe, I am stuffing them with tandoori spiced jackfruit which makes a pretty unique flavourful filling Young green jackfruit is what I am using in this recipe I can get hold of canned jackfruit more easily But you may use fresh or frozen green jackfruit if you can find it where you live

If you are using canned jackfruit, make sure you get the green or young jackfruit in brine and not ripe jackfruit in syrup This isn't going to be appropriate for this recipe Drain all the brine and rinse the jackfruit pieces a few times in fresh water As usual you'll find the printable recipe on our website Check the description for the link

Gently squeeze the jackfruit to remove some of their water content This will allow them to absorb spices and flavours better Fresh white mushrooms will add some nice flavour and texture You may use any other types of mushrooms or just leave them out if you don't like them Finely chop or mince them

Slit a couple of green chillies along the length, but don't cut all the way through, and remove the stems This will just add a subtle flavour but not too much heat If you do like it very spicy, then you can just chop them up I love the flavour of fresh lime juice in this recipe but you may also use lemon juice Some fresh herbs like coriander or cilantro will balance out the spices and add a refreshing cooling note to the overall dish

If you don't like cilantro, you may also use a little fresh mint combined with parsley or basil Heat about half tablespoon of coconut or vegetable oil in a skillet on medium high temperature Add minced ginger and garlic paste We have a simple video tutorial on how to make your own minced ginger or garlic Check the description for the link

If you want to use onions in this recipe, you may add a small chopped or sliced onion at this stage together with the minced ginger paste Toss and saute for about 2 minutes Then add the jackfruit Saute for about 10 minutes and flip them a few times until they are lightly browned or slightly charred on both sides Take two forks and pull the jackfruit apart into strips

Add the green chillies and saute for about a minute Next add the mushrooms Clear a small section of the pan and add the tandoori masala Let it roast for a few seconds then stir the masala with the jackfruit in the pan You can use store-bought or homemade tandoori spice mix I make my own blend and I've shared a video previously on how you can easily do this at home

Check the description for the link to the video tutorial Add the lime or lemon juice followed by the coconut milk Add about 1 tablespoon of maple syrup or some sugar to balance out the acidity Taste and adjust salt and pepper Cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce and flavours have been absorbed

Lastly add the chopped coriander leaves and turn off the heat On its own, this tandoori jackfruit is mouthwatering and delicious While the filling is cooling, let's make the dough for the buns I am using whole spelt flour which creates a light fluffy texture for the bao You may also use all-purpose or plain flour or whole wheat flour

Add the flour to a large mixing bowl Next add the salt and instant yeast Instant or quick or fast-action yeast cuts the rising time in half because we only need to let the dough rise once instead of twice If you can't find instant yeast though, you may use traditional yeast In this case, you may want to start making the dough first then let it rise for the first time while you make the filling

Whisk all the dry ingredients together Make a well in the centre, add the warm water and maple syrup or sugar Draw the flour to the centre and start mixing it into a dough Then, go in with your hand and start forming the dough Depending on what type of flour you are using, you may need to adjust the water

We are aiming for a somewhat firm dough as it will give a better round plump structure to the bun If you make the dough a little softer, you may get flatter buns that won't hold well while steaming So, aim for a slightly firmer smooth dough without it being dry Once the dough is formed, knead it on the work surface for about 8 – 10 minutes Shape the dough into a nice round ball

At this stage, if you have used traditional yeast, let the dough rise in a warm place in a bowl covered with a damp cloth If you have used instant yeast, just proceed with making the buns Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces Take each piece and roll into a small ball Dip each ball in a little flour and dust off the excess

Flatten and roll out the ball of dough Thin the edges out and leave the centre a little thicker This will ensure that you get an even thickness of bread all around the filling You may also just flatten and stretch the dough out with your fingers instead of using a rolling pin, whichever is easier for you Lift the dough and cup it into one hand

Place some filling in the centre The bun will rise to twice or three times its size, so you can be quite generous with the filling here to get a good ratio of bread to filling Bring the edge toward the centre to enclose the filling Pinch to seal well and lightly shape the dough again into a smooth ball It is probably more common to have baos with the knot on top but I like to turn the closure down and have a smooth top

You can of course have the knot on top if prefer it that way Place each filled ball of dough on a flattened cupcake liner or a piece of parchment paper cut to size Cover and leave the buns in a warm place to rise If you have a multi-tier steamer, you may place them to rise directly on the racks Once the buns have risen, bring some water to a boil in a pot or steamer

Place the steamer rack with the buns into the pot Cover and let steam on medium high temperature for 15 minutes Repeat the process for the rest of the batch Depending on how many buns you can fit on the rack, you may need to steam in 2 – 3 batches Add more water as required

These baos are really tender and fluffy and the tandoori jackfruit filling makes them really tasty You can enjoy them warm or cold and they can easily be carried around for packed lunches or when travelling They also freeze really well Once steamed and cooled, you can freeze them for later use Just steam them again for about 10 minutes to reheat

You can find the printable recipe on our website If you've enjoyed this recipe don't forget to give us a thumbs up and send us some pictures if you give it a try We love to see what you're making Please subscribe to the channel for more recipes and make sure to enable your notifications, it's the little bell icon, so that you don't miss any of our videos We share a few more recipes on the blog so make sure to subscribe to our newsletter too and we'll email you every time we have a new recipe on the blog

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