carrot steamed buns

A long time ago, during my bangs and eyeliner phase, I had the steamed carrot buns at Dirt Candy, and I still think about them regularly because they were so good and clever! I don’t remember too many specifics other than loving that the texture of the carrots held their own against the squishy buns, and that the slight sweetness of both the buns and the carrots just went well together. And then a squirrel ran into the restaurant and everybody stayed very cool about it. These days, whenever I get the urge to throw bun parties, I like making sure to include a vegetarian option and always consider the carrot. There is a recipe for Dirt Candy’s buns online but every time I look at it I get a little stressed out because it has some ingredients that I just don’t keep on hand regularly, and whenever I make steamed buns I like to err on the side of keeping my fillings simple since making a dough and shaping buns, while extremely satisfying, is time consuming. (See: the shamelessness that is American Cheese Steamed Buns in Molly on the Range.

So when Soy Vay sent over some of their sauces I got really excited because, well, first of all, it’s basically *me* in sauce form. It was created by an Asian person and a Jewish person! And I remember seeing it in our fridge growing up. And also I saw that their Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce contained a lot of the same ingredients that I’d want to put into a carrot bun, like garlic, ginger, soy, and sesame, and immediately thought, yes, I am four steps closer now to carrot buns. So I got to work and came up with some of the most delicious pillow-y soft buns that explode with flavor! They are salty, sweet, and nutty and I love them. They’re not too difficult to make at all, and they are vegan! They’re great hot or at room temp (take them to a picnic!) or reheated from the freezer. 

I have nice buns and, look, now you can have nice buns too. 

Carrot Steamed Buns

Makes 16 buns

Steamed bun dough

1 c (236g) warm water

2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast

1 tsp + 6 tb (75g) sugar

2 c (260g) all purpose flour, plus more for dusting 

1 c (128g) cake flour*

3/4 tsp kosher salt

2 tb canola oil

*highly recommended for a fluffier texture but if you don’t have it, subbing in the same amount of ap flour is ok.



1 1/4 lbs. (about 5-7 large carrots), chopped into 1/2” pieces

1 tb canola or olive oil

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

6 tb Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce, plus more for serving

1 tb rice vinegar

1/4 c (34g) crushed roasted salted peanuts, plus more for topping

6 scallions, minced, plus more for topping



First, make the dough: In a small bowl, swirl together the water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar and let it sit until it becomes foamy on top, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together the flours, salt, and remaining 6 tablespoons sugar. Pour in the yeast mixture and oil and mix to form a dough. Turn onto a surface and knead for 5 minutes, dusting with flour as needed, until dough is smooth and slightly sticky. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turning to coat, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise for 2 hours, or until doubled in size. 

While the dough is rising, make the filling: Preheat the oven to 425ºf. Place the carrots in a baking dish and toss with oil and salt. (I like baking them in a high sided dish like a casserole so that I have room to add the other filling ingredients and then there’s no need to transfer to a bowl.) Bake for 30-35 minutes, until tender, and then let cool for 5 minutes. Add the teriyaki sauce, rice vinegar, peanuts, scallions, and a drizzle of sriracha and stir together. Set aside to continue to cool. It’s ok if it’s still a little warm when it’s time to fill the buns. This filling can be made a day in advance and kept covered in the fridge.

Once the dough has completed its rising time, turn it out onto a clean work surface and divide it into 16 balls. Keep the dough covered when you’re not working with it. Working with 1 ball at a time, roll them out to 4 1/2-5” circles, fill with about 2 heaping tablespoons of filling, and pinch the edges shut to seal well. Now is a good time to youtube steamed bun pleating videos! Place on individual squares of parchment paper, about 3” by 3”, and space them out in a steamer basket a 1 1/2-2” inches apart. (If your steamer doesn’t fit all of the buns at once, steam them in batches.) Cover and let rise 30 more minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Place the steamer over it and steam the buns for 20 minutes, until light and fluffy. To serve, top with another little drizzle of sriracha, and some sprinkles of peanuts and scallions. Dip in teriyaki sauce and enjoy!

Leftovers can be cooled and kept in the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer for a few months. To reheat, wrap them in a damp paper towel and microwave until heated through.

thank you, soy vay, for sponsoring this post! shop here with discount code SOYVAY10 for 10% off!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

bacon and egg shengjian bao (pan-fried steamed buns)

it has been so deliciously cloudy around these parts. it rains almost every day and i love it. it's perfect sweatpants and hoodie weather and the clouds create some very yummy photo lighting as well as the perfect backdrop for practicing three places in new england

this weather is not so perfect for farming though. every other day, for a few weeks now, eggboy says we're gonna start planting soon! but then it rains and it rains and planting gets delayed and he puts on a frown until i remind him that now we have time to get caught up with game of thrones.

in other news: i have felt guilty about letting almost a year go by of not making steamed buns. living with a gluten-free eggboy has its downside because who will share my buns with me?!

but today i woke up and thought fuck that! it's my birthday month, i'm making steamed buns and i'm gonna eat them all.

so i made them and i filled them with bacon and eggs as a nod to my all time favorite birthday breakfast, the humble breakfast sandwich. and then i decided to just go all the way and make shengjian bao, which are basically steamed buns... and then you fry them! (side note: henry james was wrong when he said that "summer" and "afternoon" were the most beautiful words in the english language, because i'm pretty sure that "and then you fry them" are more beautiful, no?)

typically shengjian bao have some soup in them, but these ones just have eggs, bacon, scallions, and a wee bit (a lot a bit) of parmesan. good thing i'm wearing stretchy pants!

bacon and egg shengjian bao

makes approximately 18 buns


for the buns:

2 1/4 tsp yeast

1/2 c + 1 tsp sugar

3/4 c warm water

3 c flour, plus more for dusting

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 c milk (cow or almond)

1/4 c vegetable shortening, melted

for the filling:

6 strips bacon

3 stalks scallions, chopped

6 large eggs

a bit of cheese, optional

salt + pepper

for serving:

soy sauce

black vinegar or rice vinegar

a pinch of crushed red pepper




to make the buns, proof the yeast with the 1 teaspoon of sugar in the warm water.

in a large bowl, combine the flour, remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, and salt. pour in the milk, vegetable shortening, and yeast mixture, and mix to form a dough. knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. transfer to a clean bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise for 2 hours.

to make the filling, crisp up the bacon and chop it into 1/2-inch pieces. in the bacon fat or a little olive oil, cook the scallions for 3 minutes. beat the eggs with a splash of water and the bacon pieces. pour the eggs in the pan and scramble them, keeping them pretty wet. don't overcook them because they'll cook a bit more when the buns steam. add in cheese, if desired, and season with salt and pepper.

roll or pat out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out 3-4 inch circles. you could also pinch off small balls of dough and roll them out into circles. fill with 1-2 tablespoons of filling and pinch shut. place on a square of parchment paper and in a bamboo or metal steamer, a few inches apart. let rise for 30 more minutes.

steam over a large pot of boiling water for 10-15 minutes, until doubled in size and cooked through.

coat a pan with vegetable oil, set it over medium-high heat, and lightly fry the steamed buns for a few minutes on each side, until browned.

to make the dipping sauce, combine 1 part soy sauce with 1 part vinegar and a pinch of crushed red pepper.

eat them all yourself!!! or share them.