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Dirty Vegan bao buns

These steamed buns are light, fluffy and addictive. Six buns feels about right for two… maybe a bit indulgent, but you’ll find that two is not enough, so best err on the side of caution.

Dirty Vegan bao buns

Serving Size:
serves 2
about 3 1/2 hours but that includes 2 hrs of bread rising
quite easy


  • 2cm piece of fresh root ginger, finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 300g firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp flavourless vegetable oil
  • 80ml warm water
  • 40ml unsweetened rice or oat milk
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fast-action dried yeast
  • 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pickled veg
  • Leaves from a small bunch of coriander
  • ½ tbsp sesame seeds
  • Sriracha sauce (optional)


  1. Start with the tofu. Mix everything except the tofu and oil in a shallow bowl to make a marinade. Cut the tofu into 6 equal slabs and turn them in the marinade. Leave to marinate while you continue.
  2. To make the bun dough, mix the warm water, milk, oil, sugar and yeast together in a bowl. Leave for 15 minutes, until the liquid looks foamy and active. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Knead for 10 minutes with your hands, or in a food mixer fitted with a dough hook, or until glossy and elastic. Form into a ball and cover the bowl with clingfilm. Leave somewhere warm until doubled in size – this may take a couple of hours.
  3. When the dough has risen, turn it out on to a floured work surface and knock the air out of it. Divide into 6 equal pieces and shape into balls. Roll each ball out into an oval and brush the tops lightly with oil. Place a chopstick in the middle of the oval, widthways, and fold the dough gently in half. Slide the chopstick out and place the bun on a small square of baking parchment. Repeat to shape all 6 buns. Loosely cover with clingfilm and wait until they have doubled in size again, which should take 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. When they are ready, place them in a steamer, on their parchment squares, and steam for 12–15 minutes until light and risen. This might be easier in batches, unless you have more than one steamer. The buns will last well for a few hours and you can reheat them by steaming again for a couple of minutes.
  5. To cook the tofu, heat the oil in a frying pan. Scrape as much of the marinade off the tofu slices as you can, so they will brown (but reserve the marinade). Fry them for 2–3 minutes a side, until golden. Tip the marinade into the pan and let it bubble away for a minute or so until thick and sticky, turning the tofu to coat it.
  6. Tease open the steamed buns along the line left by the chopstick and place a slice of tofu in the middle of each, along with any marinade left in the pan. Add some pickles, some torn coriander leaves and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. If you want some heat, add a streak of sriracha to finish.

Taken from Dirty Vegan Another Bite by Matt Pritchard, published by Mitchell Beazley