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Grilled Asparagus Bao Buns (Vegan)

Course Dinner
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 buns
Author Izy


  • 250 g (9 ounces) asparagus
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons black bean sauce
  • 1 tablespoon miso or doenjang
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce (or 1 tbsp maple syrup + 1 tsp hot sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Mushroom ketchup or vegan Worcester sauce

To serve:

  • 8 bao buns , shop bought or homemade
  • 1 carrot , peeled into ribbons
  • kimchi (vegan, if needed)
  • coriander (cilantro)
  • toasted sesame seeds


Cook the asparagus:

  • Peel the tough ends of the asparagus and trim off the very base. If you have quite thick asparagus spears, cut them in half down their length. Place in a roasting dish, drizzle with the oil and toss to coat.
  • Mix the black bean sauce, miso/doenjang, chilli sauce, rice vinegar, tomato ketchup and mushroom ketchup in a small bowl until smooth.
  • Heat a grill pan on the highest heat on the stove (or you can use a barbecue). Place the asparagus spears into the pan and grill, until blackened on one side. Flip and grill the other side.
  • Once that side is blackened, brush the asparagus spears with some of the glaze and turn so you can coat the other side too. Grill for 1 minutes then remove from the pan.
  • Repeat with any remaining asparagus.

Warm the bao:

  • Place the bao into a steamer. Fill a wide saucepan with a ~1 inch depth of water and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Turn the heat down to low then place the steamer into the pan.
  • Steam for 5-6 minutes if they were frozen, or 2-3 minutes if they're fresh.


  • Fill the warm bao with the asparagus, some kimchi and carrot ribbons. Eat immediately.


  • I love the vegan kimchi made by The Cultured Collective in the UK
  • Black bean sauce is also known as black bean garlic sauce. You can get it from supermarkets in the 'world food' aisle or from Chinese grocers.
  • If you're not veggie/vegan you can use Oyster sauce instead of the black bean sauce and standard Worcestershire sauce instead of the mushroom ketchup.
  • Mushroom ketchup is a common veggie alternative to Worcestershire sauce, found in most large supermarkets.
  • If you don't have a grill pan/BBQ, a cast iron pan will also work. You can also just roast the asparagus on a baking tray in the oven at 180C (350F) for 10 minutes with the oil, then brush with the glaze and roast for 5 minutes more.