Veggie Pan-Fried Bao

Left my comfort zone of safe recipes and sooo glad I did. These little pockets of yum aren’t difficult to make and feel like the ultimate comfort food. There’s a mini movie about a steamed bun, “Bao” and since watching I have been thinking about whipping some up, finally I have!

They aren’t the prettiest, but taste is spot on. I think I may have fried the wrong side first? Either way it works, and they didn’t take long to steam. Using a combo of pan frying and steaming, you get a really nice fusion of firm and soft. So, go on and get-cho ass in the kitchen to fire these babies up. This amazing recipe is from Bianca Zapatka, made by Bianca.


  • 2/3 c warm water approx 95 degrees (35 C)
  • 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour + more for dusting
Veggie Filling
  • 1-2 tbsp sesame oil for frying
  • 1 stick leek finely chopped
  • 7 oz white cabbage shredded
  • 1 large carrot shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 7 oz tofu, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • salt to tast
  • 1 tsp chili paste or sriracha
For Frying
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 c water
To serve (optional)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • chopped green onions
    Dipping sauce
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp srirach or chili paste


For the dough
  1. Mix the yeast with the water and sugar in a small bowl and set aside for around 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk together the flour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Pour in the water with yeast slowly and stir with a chopstick (or wooden spoon) until it clumps together. Transfer to a work surface and knead with your hands (or use a mixer with dough hooks) until a smooth and soft dough forms, about 5 minutes.
  3. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover and let rest for about 45 minutes, or until the ball has doubled in size.
Preparing the filling
  1. Heat the oil in a pan and finely chop the vegetables. Add the leek, cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the veggies are slightly tender.
  2. Then crumble the tofu in (it doesn’t have to be super small but broken up like chunky ground meat), soy sauce, salt and chili to taste. Mix well, cook off a bit of excess liquid from the tofu for about 3-4 minutes, and set aside to cool.
instructions about how to wrap a baozi--Chinese steamed buns, pork buns etc  | Food, Recipes, Asian recipes
*folding the bun
Assembling the buns
  1. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, knead it briefly to remove all air bubbles.
  2. Then roll it into a long log and cut into 10 pieces. Work with one piece at a time and cover the rest with a clean kitchen towel to prevent from drying out.
  3. Flatten one piece of dough with your palm and roll it into a round wrapper with thinner edges, about 4.7 in (12 cm) in diameter.
  4. Add about 2-3 tbsp of filling to the center, then fold the bun up and around the filling, making sure you deal the top. Repeat until all the buns are assembled.
    *Attached is a little photo to help visualize closing the bun.
Cooking the buns
  1. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Place the buns in the pan with the pinched side up (make sure to not overcrowd the pan), and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Once the bottoms are golden-brown and crispy, flip them over and carefully, pour in 1/4 c water to create steam. Immediately cover the pan, reduce to low heat and allow buns to steam for about 10 minutes, or until the water has evaporated.
  2. Remove from pan, sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions, and serve with the dipping sauce. Enjoy that sh*t.

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