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Tofu Classic Bao

The Pond
  • Serves: Makes 12 small buns
  • Preparation: 45
  • Cooking: 30
  • Passive: 90
  • Ready: 165

Taiwanese-style bao buns filled with crispy fried tofu, crunchy peanuts, hoisin sauce, spring onion and cucumber.


For the steamed buns

  • 300 g bread flour or plain flour
  • 5 tablespoons caster sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon fast-action dried yeast
  • 180 ml soy milk (lukewarm)
  • 50 ml vegetable oil, plus extra

For the tofu filling

  • 1 block firm organic tofu
  • hoisin sauce (we like Flying Goose)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 200 g water
  • 100 g white wine vinegar
  • peanuts (1 small pack of ready salted)
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • oil for frying


To prepare the buns

Measure all of the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

Measure the warm milk and oil into a measuring jug.

Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and knead for a few minutes until the dough comes away from the bowl. It shouldn’t be too sticky – if it is add a small amount of flour.

Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and knead into a ball.

Place the ball of dough back into the (clean) mixing bowl and cover.

Place the bowl somewhere warm for about 60 to 90 minutes for the dough to rise and double in size.

To shape the buns

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it back and knead it by hand for about 5 minutes to release any air bubbles in the dough. Then roll out the dough until it is about 1 cm in height.

Use your hands to rub some oil onto the surface of the dough.

Use an 8 cm (3 inch) cookie cutter to cut out rounds from the dough. Re-roll the dough as needed.

Place the rounds onto a small sheet of baking paper – I like to use plain white cupcake wrappers which I flatten with a rolling pin.

Fold over each round and then use a rolling pin to gently flatten the dough to form the bun shape.

Place all of the shaped buns onto a large tray, cover with a tea towel, and place in a warm place for about 30 minutes for the buns to rise again. After this time, the bao should have puffed up slightly.

To steam the buns

Prepare a steamer on the stove.

Place a wok with hot water on a rolling boil big enough to sit steamer baskets on.

Steam the buns in batches for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they are puffy and soft, and cooked all the way through.

Serve the buns immediately.

To make the filling

Press the tofu between dinner plates with some weight on top (for example some heavy tins of food) – this will get rid of the excess water.

Slice the tofu into pieces around 1 to 2 cm thick depending on your preference.

Heat a pan with a small amount of oil and place the tofu in the pan on a medium heat so not to cook the tofu too fast but getting a nice crust on both sides.

Whilst the tofu is cooking, slice the cucumber into thin pieces.

Mix the water, sugar and vinegar together until the sugar has dissolved. Pour some of the liquid over the cucumber and toss until nicely coated. Leave to take on the flavour for 5 minutes.

Slice the spring onions.

Chop the coriander.

Place the peanuts into a food processor or crush with the end of a rolling pin. As they are ready salted just add a pinch of sugar to sweeten the peanut mix.

To assemble

Take 1 warm steamed bun, lay some of the cucumber slices on the base of the bun followed by the browned tofu, then the hoisin, peanuts and spring onions. Finish with the coriander.

The bun mix should make roughly 12 small buns bun you can make any size you prefer.

Additonal notes

Recipe courtesy of The Pond

The Pond is an unassuming watering hole in the heart of Brighton, serving craft beer and Taiwanese-style bao buns. The kitchen offers a 50/50 split between meat and vegan options six days a week and goes completely meat free on Mondays. The pub was inspired by the MFM campaign and increasing public desire to know more about what’s on their plate – and potential consequences of putting it there.

Facebook: The Pond
Twitter: @ThePondBrighton
Instagram: @ThePondBrighton

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