Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, these crispy bottom veggie buns are super delicious, and best of all, no yeast is required. I filled them with crunchy green beans, carrot, tofu, and seasoned with just salt, white pepper, and toasted sesame oil. This is my most remade dish from @woon.heng
Buns or dumplings are definitely my favorite go-to meals when I’m trying to include more vegetables in my diet. This is my family’s favorite comfort food and they are perfect for make-ahead meals. The buns have a soft texture with a crispy outer layer which makes it a great snack or finger food.
Why make this recipe
- No yeast required
- Easy to fold and pleat
- Has a soft and pliable dough due to the hot water method
- Minimal ingredients needed: flour, water, salt
- The filling is easily customizable: try a combination of mashed chickpeas, or mashed potatoes to substitute the tofu. And, use other delicious crunchy vegetables such as asparagus, kale stems, broccoli or cabbage to substitute the green beans
How to make Crispy Bottom Veggie Buns
First, prepare the dough by mixing flour and salt in a large bowl. Then, slowly add in the hot water and using a spatula or a pair of chopsticks, mix to combine.
Knead into a shaggy dough until there are no dry spots of flour in the bowl. If there are, add 1 tablespoon of cold water at a time to bind the flour together.
Transfer dough onto a cleaned surface and continue to knead for 5 to 10 minutes. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
For the filling, I simply sautéed chopped green beans with a drizzle of oil until fully cooked through. Then, season it accordingly.
To prepare the tofu, I placed mine in a nut milk bag and squeezed out as much liquid as possible. Place tofu, sautéed chopped green beans, chopped carrots in a bowl, and season accordingly with salt, white pepper, and toasted sesame oil. Then, I divide the mixture into 10 equal portions and form each into a patty-like mold.
Transfer rested dough onto a cleaned surface. Knead it a few times if it’s not already smooth. Then, divide the dough into 10 equal portions.
Work with one dough at a time and cover the rest with a damp towel. Dust some flour on the surface, and roll the dough into a 4″ diameter circular disc.
Place the filling in the middle and pinch to seal. Flatten the bun with your palm, then dip the smooth side with water and then sesame seeds. Place it on a pan and repeat with the rest of the dough.
How to cook the buns
Add some oil to a non-stick pan and swirl to cover the base of the pan. Place the sesame side down into the pan with a small gap between the buns. Then turn on the heat to medium setting.
Pan-fry the buns until golden brown (be patient with this step). Flip, and add enough water to cover at least 1/3rd of the buns’ height. Cover and cook the buns over medium heat until all water has completely evaporated, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove and serve with a side of sauce of choice.
- Divide filling into equal portions and form them into a patty-like ball. This step helps me keep the filling intact while wrapping the bun.
- Measure the flour using a scale. See recipe notes if you are using standard measuring cups
- Use low to medium heat to cook the buns. High heat creates a crispy layer quickly but possibly end up with uncooked dough around the filling.
- If your pan doesn’t come with a lid, use another same size pan as lid by flipping it upside down.
- Thanks to all the readers who shared the gluten-free tip: Self-raising gluten-free flour works well in this recipe.
Dough Troubleshooting Tips
My dough is too hard – Hot water dough is not as soft as other temperature dough during the first knead. First, be sure there are no dry spots of flour left in the bowl when you mix in with the water. If there are, add a little bit of cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time to bind all the flour together. Then, let the dough rest longer (covered) and knead again.
The dough is not smooth – Hot water dough will have a somewhat smooth top, but not as smooth as cold water after the first knead. To achieve the smooth top, once you knead into a shaggy dough, let the dough rest, covered, for at least 30 minutes, then try to knead again.
My filling keeps falling out during wrapping – I used pressed and crumbled tofu as a binder and form the filling into a patty-like shape to avoid filling that will fall out.
My dough is breaking while wrapping – Remove as much moisture as you can from the filling. If the filling is too wet and touches the wrapper for too long, it will start to break. Or try not to roll the dough too thin if this is your first time making the recipe.
How to store the buns
- Lay wrapped buns in one layer on a baking sheet.
- Freeze until buns are hardened
- Remove buns from the baking sheet and store them together in a bag, then freeze. This 2-steps freeze method will prevent buns from sticking together.
- No thawing needed when you are ready to pan-fry them.
These crispy bottom veggies buns are
- Soft – I used hot boiling water for the dough to break down the gluten which creates a really soft and pliable dough
- Not as fluffy as yeast dough but equally tasty with a chewier texture
- Pan-fried really well with an amazing crispy layer
- Perfect pair with homemade chili oil, soy sauce and garnish with green onions.
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Crispy Bottom Veggie Buns ‘生煎蔬菜饼’
Dough (makes 10 buns)
- 300 g [~2 1/2 cups] all-purpose (plain) flour see notes below if using cups
- 175 ml [3/4 cup] hot boiling water
- a pinch of salt
Filling and Seasoning
- 1/2 lb [250g] green beans chopped
- 14 oz [397g] firm tofu pressed and mashed
- 1 small carrot finely chopped
- a handful of chopped cilantro
- 3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon salt adjust accordingly
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- oil for cooking
- sesame seeds
- a handful of chopped green onions
- To make the bun wrapper, place flour and salt into a large bowl and mix until well combined.
- Make a well in the middle and pour in the hot water. Using a spatula, fold in all the flour until a shaggy dough forms with no dry spots of flour in the bowl (if there is, add cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time).
- Transfer the dough onto a cleaned surface and knead into a dough, about 10-12 minutes. Cover with a damp towel and let it rest for 30 mins.
- Meanwhile, place tofu in a nutmilk bag and wring out all the liquid.
- In a heated non-stick pan with 2 teaspoons of oil, sauté chopped green beans for about 2 minutes or until green beans turn to a darker green.
- Place cooked green beans into a bowl along with the tofu, carrot, and seasoning ingredients.
- Mix all ingredients until well combined and divide the mixture into 10 portions. Using your both of your palms, form it into a patty-like shape.
- When the dough is ready, dust flour on the surface and roll the dough out into a log, and then divide into 10 equal portions.
- To assemble, take one dough and flatten it with your palm.
- Hold the wrapper with your non-dominant hand and a roller with your dominant hand. Roll the dough by pushing from the outside towards the middle of the wrapper.
- Twist and turn your wrapper while doing this (with your non-dominant hand). Roll it into a 4.5 inches diameter disc. With this rolling method, the middle of the wrapper is thicker which creates a good safety net for the filling.
- Place one filling patty in the middle and pleat to seal.
- Dab the smooth side with water and gently press on some sesame seeds. Continue with the rest of the ingredients.
Cook the buns – Potsticker style
- To cook the buns, heat a non-stick pan (used 12") with a tablespoon of oil.
- Gently flatten each bun with your palms and place them in the pan, sesame side down, slightly apart. Fit as many as you can in one layer.
- Cook until the bottom turns golden brown, then flip the buns and add 1 to 1.5 cups [250g-375g] of water (be sure the water covers > than ⅓th of the bun's height).
- Cover the pan with a lid, preferably glass and turn heat to low-medium. Cook until all water has completely evaporated, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Cook the buns in an oven
- Alternatively, preheat oven to 375F (195°C) and brush the buns with oil.
- Bake the buns for about 20-25 mins or until golden brown, flipping in between.
- Sauce 1: Serve with chopped green onions and soy sauce.
- Sauce 2: Serve with sliced ginger with Chenkiang vinegar
- Sauce 3: Serve with chili sauce such as sambal oelek or homemade chili oil
- To measure flour in the cup, I used the spoon and sweep method. Spoon flour into a standard measuring cup, then level the top with a knife without packing the flour, which I had about ~63g in 1/2 cup.
- I highly recommend using a weighing scale to measure the flour and water needed for this recipe.
- All-purpose flour is the same as plain flour. Please note that some all-purpose flour brands have higher protein content which makes the dough a tad chewier.