Vegan Siopao Asado (Filipino Steamed Buns)

January 12, 2022

Appetizers and Sides

By: Jasmine Briones 

The perfect balance of sweet and savory, all wrapped up in a fluffy and perfectly steamed bun! This vegan version of the classic Filipino recipe, siopao asado, is prepared with mushrooms and tastes like I remember growing up. It is bound to satisfy your cravings, no matter how picky you may be!

cooked siopao asado in steamer

What is Siopao Asado?

Siopao (show-pow) is a popular snack in the Philippines and a staple at many Filipino restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores. It can be enjoyed any time of day! There are two specific variations, which are siopao asado or siopao bola-bola. It is said to have been popularized by a Cantonese immigrant street vendor around the 1920’s.

Siopao Asado is the Filipino version of char siu bao, a Cantonese barbecue-pork-filled bun. They both look very similar, made with a fluffy steam bun filled with a meat filling, but they differ based on their filling and their size. Siopao asado filling is traditionally prepared with meat, but I have found that oyster mushrooms make for a great substitute, especially when shredded. 

A few tips before you get started: 

  • We like to prepare the filling first to completely cool and thicken before filling the dough. It is harder to seal the siopao if you prepare it too late and add it in watery. You can prepare it up to 3 days in advance if you want to save time.
  • Store leftovers in a container with a tight-fitting lid and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To freeze, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until firm. Transfer to freezer-safe resealable bags or airtight containers and keep for up to 2 months.
  • The siopao can be reheated frozen or refrigerated in a steamer or the microwave with a wet paper towel. 
  • When rolling out the dough, roll it out to about 3-inches, then only roll the edges out until it is 5-6 inches. You want to leave the center thicker to ensure you get an even amount of dough in each bite.
  • This can also be prepared in a stand mixer with a dough hook. I have also seen a shortcut version using biscuit dough. I have not tested it, but it looks promising! 

Equipment 

  • Mixing bowls
  • Clean work surface
  • Rolling pin or flat-sided bottle/cup
  • Parchment paper, cut into 4 x 4-inch squares
  • Steamer

Looking for other vegan Filipino recipes?

siopao asado cut open on plate
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siopao asado cut open on plate

Vegan Siopao Asado (Filipino Steamed Buns)


  • Author: Jasmine @ Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 3 hours 32 minutes
  • Yield: 10 siopao
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

The perfect balance of sweet and savory, all wrapped up in a fluffy steamed bun! This vegan version of the classic Filipino recipe, siopao asado, tastes like I remember growing up. 


Ingredients

Siopao Dough

  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup (62g) + 1 tablespoon (15.5g) sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups (340g) unbleached all-purpose flour + more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (32g) vegetable shortening
  • White vinegar, for steaming

Siopao Filling

Siopao Sauce (Optional)

Equipment

  • Mixing bowls
  • Clean work surface
  • Rolling pin or flat-sided bottle/cup
  • Parchment paper, cut into 4 x 4-inch squares
  • Steamer
  • Large and medium pan or skillet 

Instructions

Siopao Filling

  1. Using a fork, shred the mushrooms. Refer to this video to learn how. 
  2. In a large pan or skillet over medium heat, add oil. Once heated, add the onions and garlic, and cook until the garlic is fragrant and the onions are translucent for about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, mixing often.
  4. Pour in the oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, granulated sugar. Mix everything until uniform.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and warm broth until uniform. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pan and a pinch of black pepper and mix until everything is uniform.
  6. Allow the mixture to cook until the sauce thickens, about 8-10 minutes. Taste and adjust flavor as needed. Set aside and cool completely.

Siopao Dough

  1. To a small bowl, add in the warm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Mix well. Add in the yeast and mix. Allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
  3. Add the shortening and work it in with a fork until it becomes a sand-like consistency and is evenly distributed throughout the dry mixture.
  4. Add the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and mix it with a spatula until smooth. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth, adding more flour to water, 1 tablespoon at a time as needed.
  5. Transfer to a greased bowl and cover with a damp clean kitchen towel or oiled plastic wrap. Place it in a warm area to rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  6. Punch down the dough and divide it into 10 equal portions. You can use a scale to ensure they are all even. Form each piece into a ball and arrange it on a baking sheet in a single layer. Cover them with a wet towel or oiled plastic wrap as you work. Rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Using a rolling pin or a flat-sided cup/bottle, out the dough into a 3-inch circle. Then, continue rolling out only the edges until about 5-6 inches.
  8. Add 1 tablespoon of filling into the middle of the circle and wrap. Be sure to keep the filling away from the edges. I do this by folding in the right and left flaps, holding that together, and bringing in the top and bottom. Then I fold each flap in half in the middle to form 8 pleats, then twist it all together to seal. Place a piece of parchment paper underneath and place it back onto the baking sheet. This might be tricky at first, but you will get the hang of it. Refer to this video for more instruction. You can also tightly seal the dough and flip it over so that the crease is on the bottom and the smooth side is on top. Rest covered in a damp towel or oiled plastic wrap for 10 minutes.
  9. In the meantime, prepare your steamer. Prepare a steamer with water and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Be sure the water does not touch the bottom of the steamer or your siopao will be soggy. Bring the water to a boil and set aside, covered.
  10. Place the buns in the prepared steamer at least 1-inch apart (they expand a lot) and steam on low for 15-20 minutes. If you are preparing this in 2 batches, place the extra in the fridge to not overproof. This all depends on the steamer and the water. Remove from heat and allow the buns to sit in the steamer (still closed) for 5 more minutes to prevent it from collapsing. Uncover and serve with the sauce. Enjoy!

Siopao Sauce

  1. In a medium saucepan, add the broth and bring it to a boil.
  2. Add everything except the water, cornstarch, salt, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and then strain the mixture through a fine-mesh kitchen strainer into a large bowl, being sure to press all of the liquid out of the “pulp.”
  4. Transfer the liquid to a clean saucepan and bring to a boil.
  5. Mix the water and cornstarch in a small bowl, then add in this diluted cornstarch mixture. Stir continuously until thick. Taste and add salt if needed.
  6. Remove from heat and cool.

Notes

  •  We like to prepare the filling first to completely cool and thicken before filling the dough. It is harder to seal the siopao if you prepare it too late and add it in watery. You can prepare it up to 3 days in advance if you want to save time.
  • Store leftovers in a container with a tight-fitting lid and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To freeze, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until firm. Transfer to freezer-safe resealable bags or airtight containers and keep for up to 2 months.
  • These can be reheated frozen or refrigerated in a steamer or the microwave with a wet paper towel.
  • As of now, I do not have any recommendations for a gluten-free option.
  • We buy our vegan hoisin and vegan oyster sauce at our local Asian market as we find it is cheaper than ordering it online. 
  • Check out this video to learn how to fold perfect siopao. 
  • Refer to this video to learn how to shred mushrooms.
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 2 minutes
  • Category: Appetizer, Snack
  • Method: Steamed
  • Cuisine: Filipino

Keywords: siopao, asado, filipino, Philippines, snack, mushrooms, appetizer, braised

Disclaimer: This page may contain affiliate links, which simply means that we earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for supporting Sweet Simple Vegan!

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Recipe rating

  1. Remmi says:

    The dough ingredients say 1/4 cup of sugar but the directions say 3/4 which one is correct? This totally changes the consistency and flavor of the dough this is really important…

  2. Dada says:

    This is what I wanted to learn! Thank you very much to both of you!

  3. Jessica says:

    These were amazing. My partner told me they tasted like his mom’s buns, so I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out.

    I had leftover filling, so I made an extra half batch of dough and ended up with 15 buns. We froze most of them before steaming. Today, I let a couple defrost for a bit (about 15 minutes) and steamed them for 25 minutes. Perfectly fluffy, cooked through, and delicious. Thank you!

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