This sriracha tofu steamed buns recipe is ideal for a quick weeknight dinner because it comes together so easily. This is especially the case if you buy frozen bao buns instead of making the bread yourself.
This is an update to a post initially published in 2015. In the passing time between then and now I have come to appreciate the inefficiency of trying to do everything myself when other people do some of those things more competently. Case in point: making bao is not my strong point.
A few things about the initial sriracha tofu bao recipe have changed, the most significant of which is I've swapped the concept of a homemade stuffed steamed bun to one of a semi circular bao where the filling is prepared separately. The new recipe features the same cooking sauce and flavour profile.
Should you wish to make your own bao, purchase a good cookbook or find a reputable recipe writer on the internets. Otherwise you can buy frozen gwa pao (the taco style steamed buns you can fill), which is my recommendation for anyone who doesn't love the faff of pastry and wants to save time.
Smoky Sriracha Tofu Bao
- 60 milliliters unsalted stock or water ¼ cup
- 1 tablespoon Vietnamese-American style sriracha e.g. Flying Goose brand
- 1 tablespoon miso white, brown, or a mix
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- generous pinch or two ground black pepper
- small glug of oil for frying
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 185 grams firm or extra firm tofu cut into approximate 1 cm sticks
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 4-6 Gua bao/Taiwanese hamburger/taco bao prepared per packet or recipe instructions
- 1 spring onion julienned or sliced
- a few thin slices of cucumber
- Get your bao ready for use. If they're in the freezer, steam them per packet instructions.
- Combine stock, sriracha, miso, liquid smoke, brown sugar, soy sauce, tomato paste, and black pepper in a small bowl. Mix to combine, ensuring there are no lumps of miso.
- Heat a frying pan to medium heat. Add the oil and garlic and fry until fragrant (30-60 seconds). Add the sauce and the tofu. Leave the mixture to simmer, mixing from time to time to ensure all sides of the tofu meet some sauce.
- When the sauce is mostly reduced and soaked up by the tofu (how saucy you want it is your call). Add the sesame seeds and sesame oil. Stir through and cook for 30 more seconds.
- To serve, divide the tofu into portions and stuff each bun with a portion. Add spring onion and cucumber slices. Eat while hot!