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mushroom gua bao

mushroom gua bao

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 (see blog post) as well as the handy guide that I had used to teach my friends with.

Makes 8



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


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 



  • 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.


  • 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.

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