This pan-fried mochi bun recipe is made from glutinous rice flour to create that chewy pull when you bite into it. It’s filled with a simple crunchy vegetable and tofu filling for a delicious savory bun.
Many of you loved the savory rice balls I shared a few weeks ago and requested gluten-free dumplings. I can’t think of any other combination better than this. The look of these buns is similar to my no yeast crispy bottom buns but are made from glutinous or sticky rice flour. So, you can imagine biting into soft mochi dough with a savory filling. It’s amazingly yum and you want one after another.
How to make pan-fried mochi bun
Step 1: Prepare the dough
Using a similar method to the crispy sesame balls, I used hot sugar water in this dough. The sugar will create that golden brown layer and minimize the cracks when cooked.
Start by heating 3/4 cup of water in a pot or microwave until hot and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Measure the flour in a large bowl. While stirring the flour with a pair of chopsticks or spatula, gradually add in the hot sugar water until you get a lumpy dough with some dry spots of flour left in the bowl.
Dab your palm with the cold water and knead while gathering the dry spots of flour from the bowl to the lumpy dough. You may not need 1/4 cup of cold water.
As soon as you get a soft cohesive dough, add a drizzle of oil and knead until the dough absorbs the oil. Let the dough sit for 15 minutes while you turn your attention to the filling.
Step 2: Make the filling
For the filling, I’m using carrot, wood ear mushrooms, tofu, and cabbage. Cut tofu into tiny cubes and chop the rest into tiny bits so you can easily wrap them in the dumpling.
First, sauté carrot, wood ear mushrooms, and tofu in a heated non-stick skillet until tofu turns golden brown.
Now, add the cabbage, toss to combine, and season with salt, Chinese 5-spice powder, pepper, mushrooms seasoning, toasted sesame oil. Fold in the chopped scallions and combine. Set aside to cool.
Step 3: Assemble
Uncover and take out the dough. Mine weighs 450g so I divide it into 9 equal portions. Work with one dough at a time and cover the rest. Grease your hand, roll dough into a ball first, then, press a hole in the middle to create a cup-like shape.
Using your fingers, press the side of the dough while turning to make it into a larger mouth cup [see video].
Then, cup your fingers to support the wrapper on your palm. Top it with the filling and use the back of the spoon to press it into the wrapper. It takes a little practice to not break the wrapper when you do this.
Bring the edges to the middle and pinch to seal. Gently compress into a large thick disc with both of your hands. If it appears to be dry, brush some oil or water to smooth it out. The goal here is to make sure everything is properly sealed. The wrinkles will smooth out when cooked. Note: Please cover the wrapped bun with towel to prevent them from drying out.
Step 4: Cook and serve
Brush a thin layer of water on the smooth side of the bun and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Gently press to adhere.
Set a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, then add a drizzle of oil. Place the bun in, sesame side down, in one single layer, slightly apart. The buns will expand and stick to each other, so don’t place them too close to each other. Cover the skillet with a lid, and pan-fry until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
Then, flip and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, covered. Adjust the gap so they don’t stick together. If it browns too quickly, lower the heat.
Fully cooked through buns will look matte and the side of the skin will bounce back when you press it. If not, continue to pan-fry (same steps as above) until it’s done. Serve warm with your favorite chile sauce.
Pan-fried mochi bun Cooking Tips
- Is hot sugar water needed? I’ve tried a few times without it (check my Savory Rice Balls recipe) but the dough was not strong enough to hold all the fillings and cracked during cooking. So, yes, it’s best to use the hot sugar water. Savory rice balls are smaller with less filling so it was okay without the sugar.
- Filling ingredients – It’s best to chop them into smaller bits so it’ll be easier to wrap into the bun. Woodear mushrooms have a great crunch to it, but you can replace with other low moisture mushrooms such as Bella or king oyster.
- Cook the buns over medium-low heat and flip a few more times to get the golden brown, if needed.
- To check the doneness, press the side of the bun with your finger or back of a spatula. If it bounces back, then the bun is ready. The color will also change from white to matte with slightly translucent. The buns gets softer when it’s cool.
- I’ve pan-fried these buns over medium-low heat but they don’t look cook – This could happen if the dough is too thick. Spray or add some water when pan-frying them will solve this.
Why You Need this pan-fried mochi bun
- Replace chopped scallions with cilantro for allium-free version
- Perfect texture – soft and chewy
- Great for make-ahead meals. Once pan-fried and cooled, store it in an airtight container and refrigerate for next day lunch. Simply reheat in a steamer or microwave or pan-fry in a non-stick skillet.
- Tasty and Delicious!
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!
Pan-fried Mochi Bun
- 5 oz firm tofu drained and cut into tiny cubes
- 1 cup chopped green cabbage
- 1 small carrot finely chopped
- 3 dried wood ear mushrooms rehydrated and thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
- ½ teaspoon mushrooms seasoning
- splashes of toasted sesame oil
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
- cooking oil
- 240 g glutinous rice flour (~1 ¾cups)
- ¾ cup hot water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ cup water see instructions
- cooking oil
- Chop the filling ingredients into smaller bits.
- Prepare the dough. First, heat ¾ cup of water in a pot or microwave, then stir in the sugar until dissolved. Measure flour in a large bowl. Using a pair of chopsticks or spatula, stir the flour while adding the hot sugar water until a lumpy dough forms. If the dough is too hot to handle, cover the bowl with a lid and let it cool for 5 minutes before you continue. Dab your palm with the water, then gather the dry spots of flour in the bowl and knead into a soft dough. Add more water as you go. Once you get a smooth dough, add 2 teaspoons of oil and knead until incorporated. Cover the bowl with a lid and rest for 15 minutes.
- Prepare the filling. Set a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and sauté mushrooms, carrot, and tofu until the tofu turns golden brown. Next, add the cabbage and season with salt, Chinese 5-spice powder, mushrooms seasoning, and sesame oil. Stir-fry until the cabbage is as crisp as you like. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Turn off the heat and fold in the chopped scallions. Set aside to cool.
- Assemble the bun. Divide the rested dough into 9 equal portions, about 50g each. Grease your palms with oil, roll dough into a ball, and poke a hole in the middle. Then, using your fingers, press the edges to thin it out into a cup-like shape, about 4-inches in diameter.
- Then, cup your fingers on your non-dominant hand and place the wrapper on your palm. Top with fillings and press it onto the wrapper with the back of a spoon. Bring the sides to the middle and pinch to seal it tightly. Carefully press the bun with both of your palms to create a round disc. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cover the wrapped bun with a towel to prevent them from drying out.
- Cook the bun. Brush the smooth side of the bun with water and sprinkle it with sesame seeds. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat and add a drizzle of oil. Place the buns into the hot skillet, sesame side down, slightly apart in one layer. The buns will expand during cooking. Cook in batches of two if you have a smaller pan.
- Cover and pan-fry until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Uncover, flip and cover to cook this side for another 3-4 minutes. The steam will slowly cook the bun from inside out. If it appears to brown too quickly, lower the heat. Fully cooked through buns will look matte and when you press the side of the bun, it should bounce back immediately. If not, continue to pan-fry until they are done.
- Serve warm with a side of your favorite chile sauce.
- It’s best to weigh the flour instead of using cups.
Feel free to pin the below picture on your Pinterest Board for easy reference.
Products I’ve used
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1. Mushroom Seasoning – I used Po Lo Ku and highly recommend that you get it from the store ($17.99) if you can, to make sure you get the right one.
2. Glutinous Rice Flour – It’s cheaper to get these at the store. 🙂
3. Chinese 5-spice powder – I can’t find the one I used (picture below) online but found a similar substitute here.