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]
- 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:
- 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.
- Slice the tofu into slices approximately 1/2-inch thick.
- 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.
- 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:
- Add the coconut milk, flour, and salt to your food processor. Pulse to combine.
- 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.
- 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.
- Divide the dough into 4 pieces then form into balls. Pop them in double-lined cupcake cases then into your bamboo steamer.
- Add boiling water to the bottom of a wok then place the steamer over the water.
- Steam on a medium heat for 12 minutes then sprinkle with sesame seeds, chili, and cumin.
- 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.