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4.84 from 6 votes

Baked BBQ Buns (Siew Pau) - 素芙蓉烧包

These baked BBQ buns or commonly known as Siew Pau or Siu Bao have a flaky and buttery crust that's perfect for an afternoon treat. This savory snack is a veganized version of the popular Seremban Siew Pau '芙蓉烧包'.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Resting Time2 hours
Total Time3 hours
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keyword: bakedbuns, SiewPau, SiuBao, tofu
Servings: 4 people
Author: woonheng


Water Dough

  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • tablespoons powdered sugar or 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda *see notes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter = 55g
  • 100 ml water

Oil Dough

  • 160 g all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup [113g] vegan butter


  • 14 oz [397g] firm tofu
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • ¾ cup frozen green peas about 100 g
  • cornstarch slurry (mix 2 tablespoons in ¼ cup of water)
  • oil for cooking
  • salt to taste
  • sesame seeds

Seasoning for the filling

Vegan 'Egg' Wash

  • 50 ml unsweetened plant milk
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or liquid sweetener of choice


Make the Filling

  • Press tofu to remove as much liquid as possible, then cut them into tiny cubes.
  • In a heated non-stick pan with 1 tablespoon of oil, pan-fry tofu until golden brown and transfer to a bowl.
  • Using the same pan, add a little more oil and sauté onion until they turn translucent. Add in the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds.
  • Place the tofu back in, give it a quick stir, and season with all the seasoning ingredients.
  • Fold in the frozen green peas, give it a quick stir and swirl in the cornstarch slurry and mix until well combined.
  • Dish out and set aside to cool until ready to use. This can be prepped ahead of time and refrigerated until you need it.

Prepare the dough

  • To make the water dough, place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  • Rub the flour with butter using your fingers and slowly add in the water then knead into a soft dough. Cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
  • To make the oil dough, knead both ingredients until well combined into a soft dough, then cover and let it rest for 30 minutes as well.

How to make the bun wrapper

  • Transfer water dough to a dusted cleaned surface and roll it into a log.
  • Divide the log into 12 equal portions and roll each one into a ball. Set aside, cover them with a towel and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  • Repeat the same steps for the oil dough.
  • To make the bun wrapper, take one water dough and pinch to make it into a large circular disk, then place an oiled dough in the middle.
  • Bring the sides to the middle and seal, then roll it into a ball. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  • To create the flaky layers, take the prepped dough and roll it into an oblong sheet. See notes for tips on how to roll this properly.
  • Lift up the bottom side and roll it up like a swiss roll. Turn the rolled dough around so the swirl is facing you.
  • Flatten it again with the same method as above. Repeat the swiss roll, and pinch both ends together to create a ball. Set aside for 15 minutes.

How to make and cook the buns

  • After 15 minutes, take out one dough and flatten it using a rolling pin into a circular disk, about 4" - 5" diameter.
  • Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling in the middle and pleat to seal.
  • Transfer buns to a baking sheet pan.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Brush the buns with a layer of vegan 'egg' wash and bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  • Remove, and apply a second layer of vegan 'egg' wash and top it with sesame seeds. Note: Work with one bun at a time so the 'egg' wash won't dry out which prevents the sesame seeds from sticking to the bun.
  • Return the buns to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes until golden. Note: Oven temperature varies, so please adjust accordingly.
  • Serve these buns with coffee or tea for a yummy afternoon treat or store them once they are cooled down.


  • How to roll the dough into an oblong shape:
    1. Flatten the mixed dough with your palm.
    2. Then, rub the rolling pin with flour, place the rolling pin in the middle of the dough. Flatten the dough by rolling it away from you to the top. Bring the rolling pin back to the middle and roll the dough towards you. Repeat this a few times until you get a 6-8" length sheet.
    3. Now, bring the bottom side up and roll it up like a swiss roll.
    4. Turn the dough around with the swirl facing you and flatten the dough again using the same method above. 
    5. Roll it up one more time and pinch both of the opened sides together and try to tuck them under to create a ball. 
  • For homemade vegan 'oyster' sauce, you may use this Easy Stir-Fry sauce for this recipe. 
  • Baking soda normally needs acid or brown sugar to activate it and I used it in this recipe to create the yellowish crust. If you have tried other recipes that call for baking soda and resulted in a bitter aftertaste, please feel free to use brown sugar or other acidic ingredients to neutralize it. Mine had no bitter aftertaste even the next day. Only use up to 1 teaspoon.