Rou jia mo is often referred to as a Chinese burger, even though it's more of a street food kinda sandwich. While normally made with meat, in this recipe, tofu is marinated in vegetable broth and a medley of spices then topped with julienned carrots, cucumber, and bell pepper, and finally stuffed into a fluffy "mo" bread. Hearty and flavorful!

Rou Jia Mo: Chinese Burger [Vegan]

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For the Mo Bread:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • Neutral oil, as needed

For the Patty:

  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil
  • 1 (14-ounce) package firm tofu, pressed 30 minutes and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 small red chilis
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 anise pod
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, grated
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons fermented black bean garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brown sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice seasoning
  • 2 medium carrots, julienned
  • 1 medium cucumber, julienned
  • 1 medium bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper


To Make the Mo Bread:

  1. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the water and process until the dough comes together. Transfer to a large bowl and knead to combine into a ball. Spray the bowl with oil, return the dough to the bowl, and cover with a wax wrap. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Return to the bowl, cover, and set aside for another 30 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into 6 pieces, form into balls, and roll each dough piece into a 3-inch circle.
  4. Heat a 1/2 teaspoon of oil a large skillet over medium heat. Add a rolled out dough and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Do not burn.

To Make the Patty:

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the tofu slices until golden brown and crisp, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the onion, clove, chilis, cinnamon, anise, and coriander to the oil in the skillet. Stir and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the ginger and cook for another minute. Transfer to a large pot (with all the oil) and stir in the broth, black bean sauce, tamari, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 5-spice. Stir well and add the tofu. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.
  3. Make the pickled salad by combining the carrot, cucumber, bell pepper, vinegar, sesame seed oil, cilantro, 1 teaspoon sugar, salt, and black pepper, to taste, in a large bowl. Set aside.

To Assemble the Burgers:

  1. Transfer 2 pieces of tofu to a work surface and chop well, adding onions and simmering broth to moisten the tofu as you chop. Cut a piece of Mo in half almost all the way through and stuff it with the chopped tofu and onions. Add more sauce to moisten and top with plenty of pickled vegetables. Serve immediately.

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