Blue oyster mushroom bao next to a steamer.

Blue Oyster Mushroom Bao Recipe

This blue oyster mushroom bao recipe is a game changer! We typically have savored bao buns from restaurants and they were almost almost served stuffed with pork belly.

To lighten up a classic, we decided to try making mushroom bao buns.

It. Was. Incredible.

As major fans of pork belly, we were floored that these mushroom bao tasted even better than the pork belly variety.

We even invited over some pork-loving friends and they agreed: this blue oyster mushroom recipe was the best bao they’ve tasted.

Blue Oyster Mushrooms.

What are Oyster Mushrooms?

Oyster mushrooms are one of the most popular mushrooms aside from plain ‘ol button mushrooms.

This variety of mushrooms are thin so they can be cooked whole or torn apart. 

The shape makes them cook more evenly than thicker mushroom varieties.

Their meaty texture makes it a great meat substitute, which means this recipe is actually vegetarian bao buns!

There are six types of oyster mushrooms:

  • Blue Oyster Mushrooms: Chewy texture that doesn’t lose shape when cooked with liquid, woody and sweet flavor.
  • Pearl Oyster Mushrooms: Mild, slightly sweet and woody flavor and the most common oyster mushroom.
  • Phoenix Oyster Mushroom: Similar to the pearl oyster with smaller caps and a longer stem.
  • Golden Oyster Mushrooms: A stronger aromatic flavor than the blue and pearl varieties.
  • Pink Oyster Mushroom: Tougher with a woodier smell, sometimes a substitute for seafood.
  • King Oyster Mushrooms (also known as Trumpet Mushrooms): Much larger with a thicker stem that can be sliced as a replacement of scallops.
Blue Oyster Mushrooms.

Oyster Mushroom Benefits

Swapping out meat for oyster mushrooms helps you to cut a number of calories from your meal (this is especially helpful as we are trying to keep the weight off that we lost for our wedding in Paris a few months ago).

A cup of oyster mushrooms is only 28 calories!

In addition to being low calorie, oyster mushrooms are a good source of fiber and contain Vitamins B3, B2, and B5.

Even if you aren’t trying to eat low calorie, we think you’ll still prefer this recipe compared to the more common pork belly version.

Cooking Blue Oyster Mushroom in a Wok.

How to Cook Oyster Mushrooms

When it comes to cooking oyster mushrooms, you have a lot of options.

Fried oyster mushrooms are a popular cooking technique but our favorite ways to cook these mushrooms are to roast them or sauté them.

We coated oyster mushrooms in olive oil and seasoning and roasted them in the oven when making this gorgeous mushroom toast earlier this year (psst… it tastes like bacon!).

The other way we like to cook oyster mushrooms is to sauté them with sauce.

The oysters take on a lot of the flavors of the sauce which packs a lot of umami in each bite!

Steam Bao Buns

Blue Oyster Mushroom Bao in a steamer basket.

For the bao buns, you have a few options.

If you have extra time on your hands, you could make your bao buns from scratch.

We’ve never made homemade bao buns before, but this homemade gua bao recipe we found online looks to have pretty solid reviews.

If you’re wondering where to buy bao buns, you can buy frozen bao buns at a number of grocery stores. Just be sure you are buying the gua boa buns not the stuffed bao buns balls.

Weactually  like to take a trip to 99 Ranch Market, our local Asian market to get some bao buns in the chilled refrigerator section. 

These are fresh homemade bao buns that just need a quick steam to soften up a bit.

We think this is the best way to get authentic gua boa buns all while saving some time.

Blue Oyster Mushroom Bao Fillings, pickled cucumber, radish, and carrots.

Bao Bun Fillings

For this blue oyster mushroom bao recipe, we kept it simple and fresh.

We started by making some homemade quick pickled carrots, cucumbers, and radishes.

Feel free to pickle your veggies ahead of time or even buy store-bought pickled veggies when you pick up your bao buns.

Doing so would save a lot of time making this recipe because cooking the actual mushrooms only takes about 5 minutes or so for these vegetarian bao buns!

Blue Oyster Mushroom Bao in a bamboo steamer basket.

Blue Oyster Mushroom Bao Recipe

Prep time: 1 hour

Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • ⅓ cup of julienned carrots
  • 1 cup of sliced cucumbers
  • 4 radishes, sliced
  • 4 bao buns, steamed
  • 1 package of Smallhold blue oyster mushrooms 
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce 
  • 1 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in a splash of water 

Directions:

  1. Bring one cup of water, one cup of rice vinegar, 1 tbsp sugar, and 1 tbsp salt to a boil in a small saucepan.
  2. Remove the vinegar mixture from heat and pour on top of your sliced cucumbers, julienned carrots, and sliced radishes and let it sit to start pickling your vegetables.
  3. Then, trim and separate the mushrooms into bite sized pieces.
  4. Mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sriracha, hoisin, and water/cornstarch slurry in a small bowl.
  5. Heat up 2 tbsp of sesame oil in a wok or a skillet on medium heat.
  6. Add the mushrooms in the sesame oil and sauté for 3 minutes. 
  7. Next, add the sauce mixture, toss and cook for another 1-2 mins.
  8. Heat up your bao buns in a steamer or if you do not have a steamer, wrap them in damp paper towels and microwave for 30 seconds.
  9. Fill the warmed bao buns with pickled vegetables and the blue oyster mushrooms. Garnish with sesame seeds, if desired.
Blue oyster mushroom bao next to a steamer.

Blue Oyster Mushroom Bao Recipe

Yield: 8 Bao
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

This blue oyster mushroom bao tastes better than the typical pork belly bao - seriously! You'll love this lighted up, vegetarian version.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • ⅓ cup of julienned carrots
  • 1 cup of sliced cucumbers
  • 4 radishes, sliced
  • 4 bao buns, steamed
  • 1 package of Smallhold blue oyster mushrooms 
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce 
  • 1 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in a splash of water

Instructions

  1. Bring one cup of water, one cup of rice vinegar, 1 tbsp sugar, and 1 tbsp salt to a boil in a small saucepan.
  2. Remove the vinegar mixture from heat and pour on top of your sliced cucumbers, julienned carrots, and sliced radishes and let it sit to start pickling your vegetables.
  3. Then, brust, trim, and separate the mushrooms into bite sized pieces.
  4. Mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sriracha, hoisin, and water/cornstarch slurry in a small bowl.
  5. Heat up 2 tbsp of sesame oil in a wok or a skillet on medium heat.
  6. Add the mushrooms in the sesame oil and saute for 3 minutes. 
  7. Next, add the sauce mixture, toss and cook for another 1-2 mins.
  8. Heat up your bao buns in a steamer or if you do not have a steamer, wrap them in damp paper towels and microwave for 30 seconds.
  9. Fill the warmed bao buns with pickled vegetables and the blue oyster mushrooms. Garnish with sesame seeds, if desired.

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Woman with finished Blue Oyster Mushroom Bao Recipe.

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