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+ servings
Bao buns filled with crispy gochujang tofu and lettuce with a bamboo steamer

Crispy Gochujang Tofu Bao Buns

Course Dinner
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12 buns (serves 3-4)
Author Izy



  • 1/2 a butternut squash , peeled
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  • 3 tablespoons gochujang
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic , finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


  • 340 g (12 ounces) extra firm tofu
  • 50 g (1/2 cup) corn flour (cornstarch)
  • 2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil , for frying
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

To serve:

  • 12 bao buns , store bought or homemade
  • 2 heads baby gem lettuce


For the squash:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Cut the butternut squash into pieces about 5mm (1/4 inch) thick. Toss with the vegetable oil on a baking tray. Roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through roasting, until starting to turn brown around the edges.

For the sauce:

  • Mix all of the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. Add a bit of water if needed to thin it out so it's drizzleable.

For the tofu:

  • Press the tofu: drain the tofu, wrap in 2 layers of kitchen towel and place on a cutting board. Top with another cutting board and place something heavy (like a few cookbooks) on top. Let sit for 30 minutes to drain.
  • Unwrap the tofu. Cut into 12 planks.
  • Place the corn flour in a wide, shallow bowl. Toss the tofu in it to coat well, shaking off excess.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a deep frying pan over a medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the coated tofu in a single layer and fry on both sides until crisp.
  • Remove to a dish lined with paper towel to drain. Repeat the frying with the remaining tofu, adding more oil to the pan if needed.
  • Once you've fried all of it, toss the tofu into the bowl of sauce and stir to coat. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
  • Keep warm in an oven at 100°C (215°F) until serving.

Warm the bao:

  • Place the bao into a steamer and cover with the lid. 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.


  • Take the warm bao and fill with a leaf of gem lettuce, some of the warm crispy tofu and a piece of butternut squash.
  • Eat warm!


  • Gochujang is a spicy, Korean fermented chilli paste. It can be found in many Korean or Chinese grocers and even in larger supermarkets in the 'world food' aisle.