These steamed buns are inspired by those soft, chewy buns you can order at Chinese restaurants and convenience stores. The tofu filling of these buns is marinated in a spicy, umami sauce so that it fully takes on the flavors and the buns are tender and coconutty. A splash of beet juice can be used as natural food coloring to turn the buns pink, but whether you choose to or not, they're delicious.

Spicy Tofu Steamed Buns [Vegan]




Cooking Time




  • 1 14-ounce pack firm tofu

For the Marinade:

  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 knob ginger, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed

For the Steamed Buns:

  • 1/2 13.66-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 can organic self-raising flour
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • Sesame seeds and cumin seeds, for topping
  • A splash of beetroot juice for color (optional)


To Prepare the Tofu:

  1. Remove the packaging from the tofu and pat dry. Places few layers of paper towel into a bowl then pop the tofu on top. Cover with paper towels and place a heavy object, such as cookbooks or a cast-iron skillet on it. Let it press for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Slice the tofu into slices approximately 1/2-inch thick.
  3. Mix the marinade ingredients in a container then add in the tofu – coat well then pop on the lid and leave to marinade for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  4. Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat and add a little coconut oil. Fry on both sides for a few minutes to brown then transfer to a baking sheet and bake in the oven on a medium heat for 20 minutes. Baste with the marinade a few times.

To Make the Steamed Buns:

  1.  Add the coconut milk, flour, and salt to your food processor. Pulse to combine.
  2. Empty the dough out onto a well-floured chopping board and knead for a few minutes, until you get a smooth dough. You may need to keep adding in flour if it’s too sticky.
  3. If you’re adding the beet juice, this is the time to do it; make a hole in the middle of the dough and add a splash at a time and then knead the dough again.
  4. Divide the dough into 4 pieces then form into balls. Pop them in double-lined cupcake cases then into your bamboo steamer.
  5. Add boiling water to the bottom of a wok then place the steamer over the water.
  6. Steam on a medium heat for 12 minutes then sprinkle with sesame seeds, chili, and cumin.

To Serve:

  1.  Slice the steamed buns in half then pile in the tofu, pickles, kimchi, coriander, and chili sauce.


Adapted from Jaime Oliver's recipe for steamed buns.


    Discover more recipes with these ingredients

  • Tofu