Capacity-Building Projects

BBQ Tofu Steam Buns

YIELD: 18-20 buns

BBQ tofu

1 packageextra firm tofu
4 tbsphoisin sauce
2 tbspsesame oil
2 tbsprice wine vinegar
2 tbspsoy sauce
2 tbspginger, minced
2 tbspgreen onion, sliced

Steam bun dough

1 1/3 cupswater, warm (21°C)
1/4 cup + 1 tbspnon-fat milk powder
1 tbspinstant yeast
3 1/2 cupsbread flour
1/3 cuppotato starch
2 tspfine table salt
1/3 cup + 1 tbspwhite sugar
2 tbspcanola oil

BBQ tofu

  1. Slice the tofu into six 2 cm thick slabs.
  2. Combine the hoisin, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and ginger in a small bowl. Whisk well to combine into a glaze.
  3. Brush one side of the tofu slabs with the glaze. Place the tofu glaze-side down on a preheated, well-oiled grill. Flip the tofu every 2 to 3 minutes, brushing extra glaze on the tofu every time it is flipped. Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the tofu is well browned with a sticky crust.
  4. Roughly chop the grilled tofu into small cubes and toss with the remaining glaze and green onions. Set aside.

Steam bun dough

  1. Combine the water, yeast, and milk powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk to dissolve the milk powder.
  2. Add all remaining dough ingredients.
  3. Mix with a dough hook at medium speed for 10 minutes until a smooth dough is formed.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm area and allow to double in size, about 45 minutes.


  1. Turn out the risen dough onto a clean work bench.
  2. Roll the dough into an approximately 50 cm long rope.
  3. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut the dough into 18-20 equal-sized pieces.
  4. Roll each piece in a tight ball, place each ball on a clean surface, and loosely cover with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel.
  5. Leave the dough balls covered for 5 minutes to allow the gluten to rest. This will make the dough easier to roll out.
  6. Roll each dough ball into a 12 cm disc. If the dough is difficult to roll to size, let it rest for 2 minutes before continuing to roll it out.
  7. To form the buns, place a disc of dough in your non-dominant hand and spoon 1-2 tbsps of BBQ tofu into the middle of the disc.
  8. Using your dominant hand, bring the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock of the dough above the filling and pinch. Do the same with 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock. Seal the top of the bun by pinching the open areas remaining at the top of the dough to form an x. Alternatively, gather the edges of the dough around the filling to form a purse.
  9. Place the sealed buns on a parchment-lined steamer basket.
  10. Cover the basket and allow the buns to proof for 15 minutes.
  11. Once proofed, place the basket over a pot of boiling water and allow to cook for 15 minutes.
  12. Remove the buns from the basket and serve warm.

Note: This steam bun dough can be filled with the filling of your choice. The tofu in this recipe can be replaced by pork or chicken for a non-vegetarian version.