These buns are absolutely delicious. Super fluffy, filled with crispy tofu, crisp vegetable slaw, and topped off with sriracha mayo. I’m actually pretty proud of this dish. I went off by what I’ve seen, and not something I’ve actually eaten. So I had to get creative and really think about what flavors go well together. It’s so delicious and my friends and family love these.
- 2 ½ cups (320g) – all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon – baking powder
- ½ teaspoon – salt
- ¼ cup (50g) – granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup (156g) – warm water, 100° Fahrenheit
- 1 ½ tablespoon (21g) – vegetable oil
- 1 ¼ teaspoon – instant yeast, see notes
- ¼ – head of red cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded
- 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced or shredded
- ¼ teaspoon – sesame oil
- 2 tablespoon – rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoon – agave
- Pinch of salt & pepper
- Tofu Karaage, see recipe here
- Cucumber, thinly sliced
- Sriracha mayo
- Stand mixer, optional https://amzn.to/3aBRYaA
- Measuring cups or food scale https://amzn.to/2YglTjC
- Measuring spoons
- Mixing utensils
- Damp cloth
- Mixing bowls
- Rolling pin
- 4-inch cookie cutter or cup
- Silicone or pastry brush
- Parchment paper
- Steamer basket or pot, see notes https://amzn.to/2Q8ABEM
- Large wok or pan, to fit the steamer basket
- Frying pan, to cook the tofu
First thing! Start marinating the tofu for the karaage (You can marinate this overnight as well). See that recipe here.
Make Dough (See notes):
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the dry ingredients. All-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix to combine.
- Add in the warm water, oil, and yeast.
- Attach the dough hook attachment, and knead on the lowest speed, scrape down the bowl when needed. When a shaggy dough forms, increase the speed to 2, and continue to knead for 10 minutes. You should get a smooth dough, and it should bounce back when you lightly press on it. The dough should not be sticking to your hands, it should be soft and supple. If it is sticking too much, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until you get the right consistency.
- Transfer the dough to a work surface, and form it into a ball. Lightly oil the same bowl, and place the dough back into it. Cover with a damp cloth and allow it to rise for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Make the slaw and prep cucumbers:
- In a bowl, mix together the sesame oil, rice vinegar, agave, salt and pepper. Then toss it together with thinly sliced red cabbage and carrots. Cover, and place it in the fridge until assembly.
- Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, and cut them into thin slices.
Cook the tofu karaage. Set aside until assembly.
Finish the baos:
- Transfer the dough to a work surface (you don’t need to flour it), and roll out into an even ¼ inch thickness. Using a 4-inch cookie cutter or cup to cut out circles of dough. Set the cut-out dough aside. Knead the excess dough together and repeat! No wasting dough here!
- Take each circle of dough, and with a rolling pin, roll it out into an oval. Don’t elongate too much, just enough that it is longer than the circle. Then lightly brush the tops of each dough with oil, then fold in half and press over it with the rolling pin. Place the folded dough on the parchment squares.
- Cover it with a damp cloth and let it rest for 20 minutes until puffed.
- For this next part, you will have to work in batches. Prep a large pan with 1-inch of water, and bring it to a simmer. Place the dough in the bamboo steamer, make sure not to overcrowd the steamer. Leave enough space in between as it will puff up in size. Set the steamer over the pan, and steam for 10 minutes. (Keep the excess buns in the fridge while the others are steaming).
- After 10 minutes, turn off the heat and let the buns rest inside the steamer for 5 minutes. Do NOT Remove the cover/lid. This is very important because if you remove the cover too early, the buns will collapse and lose their fluffy shape!
- Carefully remove the bao from the steamer and set it onto a wire cooling rack. Continue cooking the rest.
- Prep your assembly line, have your bao buns, tofu karaage, slaw, sliced cucumbers, and sriracha mayo in front of you.
- Fill the baos and assemble in this order: slaw, cucumbers, karaage, and top it off with sriracha mayo. Serve and enjoy!
- I only had instant yeast at the time I made this. If you have active dry yeast, you can use the same exact measurements and you will need to activate it in warm water. Use the warm water in the recipe and add a teaspoon of sugar, mix it in with the yeast and set it aside for 10 minutes to activate. It should get foamy at the top. If it doesn’t get foamy after 10 minutes, your yeast might have gone bad. Try again with another yeast packet.
- If you do not have a bamboo steamer basket, you can use a steamer pot. But make sure to wrap the pot cover with a towel and tie it up. The condensation that comes from the pot cover can drip onto the buns and it can ruin them.
- You can make the dough a day ahead. It can be stored in the fridge in a tightly sealed container and you can easily reheat it in the microwave for a couple of seconds.
Keywords: vegan, asian fusion, recipe, Japanese, Chinese, entree, bao buns, karaage, street food