History of baozi
baozi 包子, or steamed buns, are the pillowy foundation for savory or sweet fillings and all kinds of toppings. A cornerstone of Chinese cuisine, these soft, fluffy snacks are found throughout Taiwan and are mainly eaten as a breakfast item served with warm soy milk. Growing up in Taiwan, I have fond childhood memories of eating Mantou (Baozi buns without filling) with warm soy milk for breakfast. Everyday on my way to elementary school, I passed by food stands serving fresh, handmade taro, barley, and oat flavored buns that were kept warm in large steamers. Back in those days, soy milk was served in plastic bags, making it easy for me to enjoy this comfort food on the walk to school.
The history of Baozi dates back almost 1,800 years to the Three Kingdoms period when it was created by Zhuge Liang, a military strategist. According to legend, Liang and his army were returning from an expedition in far South China when they were blocked by a great river. In order to cross, Zhuge Liang created the Mantou, which literally means “barbarian head” and offered it as a sacrifice to traditional Chinese deities so that his army could cross and continue home.
Baozi are very popular in Asia and yet they are very difficult trickyto make. Although the dough is made of few ingredients, there are many variables that can greatly affect the dough’s consistency, such as the humidity in the air. My favorite type of Baozi dough is pronounced “Q” in Taiwanese, which means chewy. When the dough is lightly pressed it should return back to its original shape and taste a little sweet to complement and enhance the savory filling. In Taiwan, Baozi is not typically served with dipping sauce; however, since it is my personal favorite, I have created a delicious dipping sauce composed of soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic and onion that will go well with Baozi, pot stickers and Chinese green onion pancake. Those who like it spicy can add our homemade chili paste to give it some heat.
Taiwanese Pancake 蔥油餅
What is a Taiwanese Pancake?
The Taiwanese pancake is a Chinese savory egg-battered pancake folded with oil and minced green onion. Unlike Western pancakes, it is made from dough instead of batter and is served both as a street food and in restaurants. This was one of my favorite things to get as a kid whenever we went out to eat in Taiwan. When I went back to Taiwan the summer of 2015, there was a stand serving egg pancakes, which is a green onion pancake with an egg coating on one side, deep fried and served with cucumber. The line was quite long but it was worth the wait.
I have modified the Taiwanese pancake to make it vegan and serve it with Asian slaw to bring it a freshness. These green onion pancakes are made by adding boiling water directly to the flour to make the dough chewy. It is also a laminated pastry which consists of two basic elements - delicate layers of dough separated by sesame oil, which give it a flaky texture as well.
Demystifying Protein 2000 A.K.A (P2000)
So what exactly is the Protein 2000, A.K.A. the P2000? This is the number one question asked, as it is the most popular dish we serve. The P2000 is made out of soy protein isolate that is the result of separating protein from the whole soybean. The end result is a curd with a texture that resembles chicken. With 45 grams of protein per cup, it is an excellent protein source for vegetarians. The Protein 2000 is battered and fried to add that crispy texture and then sautéed in sweet brown sauce. So why was it named Protein 2000? This dish was created at the end of 1999 and was given the number 2000 to commemorate the year 2000
Introduction to the sauces
VH Hot Chili Oil
chili oil (also called hot chili oil or hot oil) is a condiment made from vegetable oil that has been infused with chili peppers. It is commonly used in Chinese as well as East and Southeast Asian cuisine. Particularly popular in China’s Sichuan province, which is known for its love of spicy food, it is used as an ingredient in cooked dishes as well as a condiment. VH chili oil is infused with more than 10 ingredients to give that round burst of flavorful heat. Chili oil can be mixed with soy sauce to make a dipping sauce or just added to the dish to add a fullness of heat.
Umami Dipping Sauce
Perfect for pot stickers and pancakes. It's soy sauce infused with onion, ginger, vinegar, and garlic.
So what's in the R2D2? It's the most common of the Asian condiments - soy sauce of course!
Introducing Protein Vader
The Protein Vader was created during the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As a big Star Wars fan, I thought this would be the perfect name for our new signature dish to commemorate the reopening of Veggie Heaven. Protein Vader has the same soy protein as the P2000 that is served on a sizzling hot iron plate in the Sichuan spicy sauce.
Let the VH Saga begin and may the Protein be with you !