When I lived in Hong Kong, I taught dozens of friends (mainly Australian) who loved the game so much, we would get together regularly to play, even at some restaurants, where the waitstaff would have a field day seeing 3-4 tables of Western ladies (and me!) playing, eating, drinking, and having a blast! They were impressed that my friends played so well. So 20+ years later, I'm sharing some Mahjong 101 as well as the handy guide that I had used to teach my friends with
FOR THE BAO
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp sugar
2/3 cup lukewarm water
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Slowly add the water whilst stirring it vigorously with a pair of chopsticks or a wooden spoon. The flour will start to clump together in a shaggy mixture. Use your hands to form this into a ball and knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If it's too dry, add a teaspoon or two of water. And if it's too sticky, add a tablespoon or two of flour.
Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes to an hour.
Knead again for 5 minutes until smooth.
Divide the dough into 8 even segments and roll each one into a ball. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand and then evenly roll it out into a 2.5" x 3.5" (6cm x 9cm) oval shape, about 1/2" (1cm) thick. Fold the oval over and place top of a 3" x 3" (7cm x 7cm) parchment paper square and into the steamer basket. It helps to have a small piece of parchment paper in between the fold as well, so it's easier to open the buns.
Steam for 10 minutes.
FOR THE FILLING
16 large shiitake mushrooms
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp water
2-3 tsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
Shredded carrot, cucumber slices, and fresh cilantro (or parsley)
Chop the mushrooms into 1/4" slices. Heat a skillet and add the oil to coat the pan.
Sauté the mushrooms for 2 minutes, add the water, soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, and smoked paprika.
Steam the bao buns. Let cool slightly before assembling with the mushrooms and fresh vegetables.