Makes approx. 14-16 bao buns

Hoisin Tofu Bao Buns

A veggie/vegan bao bun that’s sticky, spicy and full of flavour. Originating from China and popular all over Asia for centuries, bao buns can be open (like these Japanese style hirata buns) or closed and filled with sweet or savoury fillings. The dough takes a little time to prepare but bao buns are surprisingly simple to make and are a sure crowd pleaser. Any spare bao buns can be frozen after steaming.


In a large bowl mix together the flour, yeast, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Mix the milk, water and oil together in a jug. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and then gradually pour in the liquid, incorporating as you go. Mix into a dough, adding a little extra water if needed, until you have a smooth yet slightly tacky dough. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 4-5 minutes or until smooth. (Alternatively mix in an electric mixer with a dough hook until combined and then on high for a couple of minutes until the dough is smooth).

Shape the dough into a rough ball, place in a lightly oiled bowl and lightly coat the dough with a little oil. Cover with a damp cloth and leave aside in a warm place for 1.5-2 hours or until doubled in size.

Tip the dough onto a clean work surface and loosely roll into a sausage shape. Tear or cut into 14-16 sections. Roll each piece into a ball, pinching and twisting as you go to form a smooth outer surface then set aside and leave to rest for a couple of minutes.

Roll each piece into an oval shape of about 4mm thickness. Lightly brush over the top of each pastry with a little oil, then gently fold over in half from the top of the oval into a taco shape. Place onto grease proofed paper, cover with a damp cloth and set aside to rest for a further 20 minutes.

Put the hoisin, vegetarian oyster sauce, soy, honey, orange juice, sesame oil and ginger into a small saucepan over a medium heat and cook until combined and sticky. Keep warm.

Put the corn flour on a plate and season. Add the tofu slices and toss to coat. Shake off any excess.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the slices of tofu. Cook on one side for 5-6 minutes until crispy. Flip over and cook the other side until crisp. Pour in the sauce and turn the tofu to coat.

To serve, prise open each bao bun and add a couple of slices of cucumber. Fill with the hoisin tofu and top with spring onion, chilli slices and coriander. Finish with crispy onions and sesame seeds for a crunchy topping and drizzle with sriracha mayo.



  • For the Bao Buns
  • 530g Chinese bao flour or plain flour
  • 7g fast action dried yeast
  • 40g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 50ml milk
  • 200ml warm water (you may need more)
  • 25ml vegetable oil
  • For the Sauce
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce or mushroom vegetarian stir-fry sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • a squeeze of orange
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 3 cm ginger root, grated
  • Filling for 4-6 Bao Buns
  • 1 block of firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1cm thick triangular slices
  • 4 tbsp ground nut or vegetable oil
  • 2-3 tbsp corn flour
  • To Serve
  • 2-3 spring onions, trimmed and julienned
  • ½ cucumber, sliced
  • small handful of coriander leaves, chopped
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and sliced into rings
  • 2 tsp sriracha mixed with 2-3 tbsp vegan mayo
  • shop-bought crispy onions, to garnish
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds (a mix of black and white is nice)