May 10, 2020

Fluffy Bao Buns (Vegan Recipe)

Today’s recipe features soft Bao Buns filled with spicy ground tofu and a mix of vegetables. Ideal for an outdoor aperitif or a dinner featuring oriental flavors. Enjoy!


Bao Buns

Today I want to share with you a recipe that is simple (you will just need a bit of time) and allows you to bring to your table something different: Bao Buns!

Have you ever heard of them?

Nowadays popular all over the world, Bao Buns see their origin not here in Japan but in the North of China, where wheat was more cheap and easy to grow than rice.

We are talking about soft steamed bread, stuffed with a tasty filling, and served still warm.

While the original ones involve the use of meat, their versatility makes them available also with a vegan or sweet filling (nothing to be scared of, they are delicious).

Because as you know, I love vegetables, today version will be 100% Vegan, but remember that you can always always always use your favorite ingredients to make them special for you and your loves one.

So here we are with their plant-based version. Remember to use local ingredients and to enjoy the cooking journey!




For Bao Buns (For 7 Bao Buns)


For the filling

Let’s Cook

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt, yeast and baking powder. Mix all together with a spoon

Slowly, Add the luke-warm water and the soy milk

Mix and knead for 5-6 minutes

Once the texture of the dough is soft and uniform, bring back in the bowl and cover with a towel. Let it rest for 1 hour

Once the dough has doubled in size, roll it into a sausage shape

Slice the roll into 7-8 equal portions 

Make each of the pieces into an oval shape, around 1cm thick, then add a drop of sesame oil and fold in half (thanks to the sesame oil it will not stick)

Cover again with a towel and leave for a further 30 minutes


For the filling

Bao Buns Filling

Remove the tofu from the package and allow it to drain in the sink. Cover with some kitchen paper and let it rest for 10-15 minutes 

Wash and peel all the vegetables. Cut the carrot, piman and red pepper into julienne and then cut in half to obtain small filaments. Cut the onion into small roughly diced cubes.

Mince the garlic clove and the small red chilly.

Fry onions and garlic in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat with two tbsp of sesame oil until browned

Crumble in the tofu and fry for 1 minute to allow excess liquid to evaporate. 

Pour in the soy sauce, mirin, sugar, black pepper, red chilly, and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the tofu has absorbed the sauce. Fry for another 2-3 minute to get more browning and crisp tofu bits

At this point, set aside the tofu in another dish, and in the same pan, heat 1 tbsp os sesame oil and star cooking the vegetables

Add the carrot, piman, and red pepper. Cook until at low-medium heat until they get tender (because they are small filament, pay attention to don’t burn them)

When they are almost ready, add the scrumble tofu, mix and let it cook together by stirring them regularly for 2 minutes, to blend the flavor


Steaming the Bao Buns with Bamboo Steamer

Steam Bao Buns

Place a baking paper inside the bamboo steamer and position your Bao Buns around the border. The baking phase will require a few steps as it is necessary to leave 2-3 cm between one dough and the other (they tend to rise). I suggest you to start with 3-4 boa buns and continue with a second baking afterward.

Put a wok or a wild pan filled with 2-inches of water and on medium heat. Do not let the water come to a boil (allow it just to come to a simmer) and place the steamer, with the lid on top, over the pot. 

Let them steam for 8 minutes.

After they’re steamed, add your feeling and serve on the table still warm.

You can top them with some sesame seeds, some sauce (I added some veg mayo and a touch of my Shiso Pesto)