Vegetarian Steamed Buns With Sesame-Orange Fried Tofu

Sesame Orange Tofu Steamed Buns With Opal Basil
Grilled Cheese Social
  • Total: 65 mins
  • Prep: 40 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 3 Steamed Buns (3 Servings)

These crispy fried tofu nuggets are tossed in a sweet yet slightly spicy sesame orange sauce and then stuffed into light and airy steamed buns. This type of bao is vegetarian-friendly and utterly delicious. And if you like things a bit spicier, then load up on the Sriracha and get ready for a good time.

Oh, and FYI, we've written this recipe as if you've got frozen steamed buns on hand―however, if you dare to make them yourself, we recommend following this recipe from Epicurious or try your hand at this cheater's version from Steamy Kitchen.


  • 3 frozen steamed buns
  • 3 (1" slices) of extra firm tofu (pressed and dried)
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • Oil for frying
  • 3 tbsp. orange marmalade
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • A few dashes sesame oil
  • 1 squirt Sriracha
  • 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 9 basil leaves (opal if possible)

Steps to Make It

  1.  Begin by preparing the sesame-orange sauce. In a small saucepan, whisk together the orange marmalade, soy sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha, and rice wine vinegar.

  2. Turn the heat to medium-high and keep stirring the sauce until it begins to bubble, reduce and thicken. Leave the sauce in the pan and set aside. 

  3. To fry the tofu, begin by tossing the dried extra firm tofu it in cornstarch and then add it to hot oil (approximately 370 F) until the exterior is light brown and crispy. Once it's browned, toss the nuggets in the sesame orange sauce and add the toasted sesame seeds on top. 

  4. Prepare the steamed buns accordingly and fill each one with the fried orange-sesame tofu nuggets and fresh basil. Serve immediately.