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Steamed Bao Buns with Tofu and Pickled Vegetables

These steamed bao buns offer the right amount of squishy delightfulness filled with marinated tofu and crisp pickled vegetables. Topped with hoisin sauce, sriracha and cilantro or mint and with a slice of avocado, the combination will meet all your expectations.


For the Bao Buns:

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 1 package instant dry yeast

  • 4 T sugar, divided

  • 4 T olive oil, divided

  • 2 cups unbleached flour

  • 1 t baking powder

  • 1 t salt

For the Marinated Tofu:

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil

  • 1 pound tofu, pressed, drained and sliced in strips

For the Pickled Vegetables:

  • 1 carrot, ribboned with a peeler

  • 1 red onion, in thin slices

  • 1/4 cup jalapeno, or mild pepper, seeded and sliced in thin strips

  • 2 T sugar

  • 1 cup white vinegar

Additional Toppings:

  • 1 cucumber, julienned

  • 1/2 avocado, sliced

  • 1 mini red bell pepper, sliced in rings

  • Mint, or cilantro leaves

For Serving:

  • Hoisin sauce

  • Sriracha sauce


  1. Mix warm water with yeast, sugar and olive oil, Let yeast activate for 5 minutes

  2. Add flour, salt and baking powder. Mix with a spoon and then with your hands to knead dough. Add water if needed to get right consistency.

  3. Form into a ball, cover with a towel or plastic wrap, and let sit in a warm place for 2 hours.

  4. Meanwhile, marinate the tofu with the soy sauce, sesame oil and rice vinegar. Put in a container and refrigerate for at least one hour.

  5. After an hour, preheat over to 400 degrees and bake tofu on a baking sheet for 30 minutes (alternatively, sauté tofu over sesame oil heated with medium high heat in a sauce pan, turning after 10 minutes, and pour in remaining marinade and cook an additional five minutes)

  6. Prepare the vegetables and put into a mason jar or other heat-proof container. Heat the sugar and vinegar on the stove until they reach a boil. Pour vinegar mix over vegetables- let sit one hour.

  7. Return to dough which should have doubled in size, separate into two. Roll out one half of dough to 1/4 inch layer. Use a large glass, or round cookie cutter of 3-4 inches to cut out circles in the dough. Reform edges and continue to make new circles. Each half should make 8-10 circles

  8. Cut out 4 inch squares of parchment paper to fit each bun, place round on parchment square and brush with olive, or sesame oil. Fold gently in half to make bun

  9. Place each bun on paper in a bamboo steamer. Bring one inch of water to a boil in a wok and gently add covered bamboo steamer to wok. Steam for 10 minutes, remove steamer and let sit for a minute.

  10. Repeat with second half of dough when ready.

  11. When ready to serve buns, unfold buns and spread hoisin sauce, add pickled vegetables, tofu and other toppings. Add sriracha if desired.


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