Makes 8
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Handmade soft, chewy steamed Chinese buns meet pineapple and cucumber salad for a refreshing and appetising treat. Powdered with Chinese five spice and chilli, there’s no doubt these healthy and presentable baos will satisfy both the tastebuds and the stomach.



  • 375 g firm tofu
  • 2 tsps Chinese five spice
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsps whole-egg mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsps roasted, salted peanuts, chopped coarsely


  • 2 cup (300 g) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • 1 cup (250 ml) light coconut milk
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing


  • 250 g pineapple, sliced thinly
  • 2 Lebanese cucumber
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 fresh long red chilli, finely sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh coriander leaves

Place tofu on a small wire rack over a tray, top with a second tray (or plate); weight with cans of food. Stand 30 mins or until tofu is a firmer texture.


Meanwhile, make bao. Cut eight 12 cm squares from baking paper. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Add coconut milk; stir with a fork until just combined. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently for 1 min or until smooth. Divide dough into eight pieces; roll out each piece into a 15 m long oval. Brush half of each oval lightly with oil; fold in half crossways. Place each bao on a square of baking paper; cover loosely with plastic wrap. Cook bao in two batches in a large steamer over a saucepan of simmering water for 8 mins or until cooked through.


Cut pressed tofu crossways into 8 slices. Dust with five spice and chilli; season with salt. Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat; cook tofu, in batches, for 2 mins each side or until golden.


Spread bao with mayonnaise; fill with tofu, salad and peanuts.


Make the pineapple and cucumber salad. Combine ingredients in a medium bowl; season with salt.

TIP You can press the tofu up to a day ahead; keep covered in the fridge.

Photo: bauersyndication.com.au

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