Siopao Asado is a Filipino steamed bun with sweet barbecue pork filling. It’s great as to-go snack or road food or as we Filipinos call “baon” because the filling is nicely concealed inside the bun. Siopao is savory-sweet-delicious that you couldn’t have just one.
The traditional dough is already vegan. I substituted the pork with wheat gluten, which gives an equally wonderful texture. The traditional kind comes with a separate “Siopao Sauce” as condiment, but because this recipe is already sweet savory on its own, there’s no need for the condiment. Also this recipe is more “doughy” than “bready” (in Chris’ terms hehe), which tastes sweeter than the traditional slightly bitter versions. The buns also came out yellowish because I used Turbinado Sugar instead of regular sugar.
VEGAN SIOPAO ASADO RECIPE
Makes about a dozen medium buns or 8 big ones.
- I got my Vegetarian Mushroom Oyster Sauce at an Asian grocery store. It’s optional but it’ll be a nice touch.
- Make sure to carefully knead the dough until it’s smooth and doesn’t have any lumps.
- Wheat gluten is available at Asian grocery stores. You can also use Seitan which is available at most health stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, etc.
- Make sure the wheat gluten has cooled down a bit before putting on the dough because if the filling is too hot, it’ll tear a hole.
For the dough:
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 pouch active dry yeast
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 10 tbsp organic sugar (plus 1 tbsp sugar for the yeast mixture)
- 1 1/2 tbsp. baking powder
- 2 tbsp. Earth Balance, or any vegan butter
For the filling:
- 2 pounds Vegetarian Wheat Gluten or Seitan, chopped
- 5 tbsp. garlic, crushed
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp. cooking oil
- 6 tbsp. Earth Balance, or any vegan butter
- 3/4 cup Hoisin sauce
- 6 tbsp. Vegan Oyster sauce (found at Asian stores)
- 6 tbsp. soy sauce
- 5 tbsp. dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. corn starch, dissolved in 1/4 cup water
- Dissolve the pouch of yeast and 1 tbsp. sugar in the lukewarm water. Let is stand for at least 20 minutes. Bubbles should appear on top.
- In a mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, sugar, and vegan butter. Mix well.
- Add the yeast mixture.
- Mix well and knead thoroughly until the dough is smooth and has no lumps. Dust some flour on the kneading surface as well as on the dough to avoid sticking. I kneaded mine for about 40-50 minutes.
- Set the dough aside for one hour. The dough should expand about 1/4 its size.
- While waiting for the dough to expand, saute the garlic with little bit of cooking oil in a medium pot.
- Add the onion and saute until fragrant.
- Add the wheat gluten or Seitan. Saute for about 5 minutes.
- Add the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, mushroom oyster sauce, and brown sugar. Mix well and season to taste.
- Stir in the corn starch mixture. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until boiling. Turn off the heat.
- Once the dough is ready, knead the dough again and divide in individual pieces.
- Flatten each piece in round form using a rolling pin and place about 3 tbsp. filling on the middle. Fold the top bit by bit and twist to seal it.
- Cut out some parchment paper into squares and place each bun on top of the paper (to avoid the dough sticking onto the steamer).
- Place the buns in the steamer and steam for about 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Enjoy!
Here’s what the result looks like with its filling:
My Siopao was such a hit among my non-veg family and friends they even suggested I should sell them. The effort was definitely worth it.