Vegetarian Bapao with Minced Meat

vegetarian bapao with minced meat

This is an easy recipe for bapao (Asian steam rolls) with a filling of vegetarian minced meat. ;-). For this delicious mini vegetarian bapao no animal has suffered and eating less meat is better for our planet too.

I use minced meat from De vegetarische slager. This Dutch brand makes fake meat with tofu and wheat.

I’ve been experimenting with this minced meat more and more lately. It is a fantastic versatile vegetarian product and I can not get enough of it.

Earlier I’ve made bapao with a filling of tempeh. Also tasty. Go to this recipe here.

Vegetarian bapao with minced meat

This recipe is ready in 2 hours and enough for over 30 mini bapao.


Bapao dough

  • 400 grams of flour
  • 210 ml of lukewarm water
  • 50 grams of margarine
  • 50 grams of sugar
  • 13 grams of instant yeast
  • 8 grams of baking powder
  • a pinch of salt

Vegetarian bapao filling

  • 250 grams of vegetarian minced meat from De Vegetarische Slager (or any other kind)
  • 120 grams of onion (about 2 medium-sized onions)
  • 3 big garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon of hot sweet soy sauce
  • handful fresh coriander
  • handful fresh chives

Ingredients for vegetarian bapao with minced meat

On this blog, I make, among other things, all the recipes of journalist and cookbook writer Beb Vuyk.

This vegetarian filling is based on her recipe for bapao filling with (traditional) minced meat. Check out that recipe here.

Beb’s recipe does not contain very complex flavors; she keeps the filling pure. She sautées the meat with onion, garlic, sugar, sweet soy sauce and celery.

I go for fresh coriander and chives and two types of sweet soy sauce. A regular sweet soy sauce (I like kecap manis ABC) and a half tablespoon of hot soy sauce (ABC’s Kecap Pedas). You can of course also replace this with half a chili pepper and ordinary sweet soy sauce.

Easy recipe for vegetarian bapao - chop onions and garlic

I chop the onions and garlic, but not too finely so that there is still some structure in the filling. Then I sauté the onions and garlic in some oil and add the vegetarian minced meat.

When the onions turn yellow I add the soy sauces. I sauté on medium heat otherwise the vegetarian meat will burn easily.

You do not have to pay extra attention to the fact that your mince is cooked through and through because it is not meat. A very useful side-effect of this product.

In the end, I add the chopped chives and coriander.

I let this cool down in a bowl on the counter or in the fridge. When the filling has cooled completely my bapao are easy to fill.

Bapao dough

I treat bapao dough just like bread dough and make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature.

I use ordinary flour, but an even finer special bapao flour also works very well, for example Red Lotus Special Flour.

Knead well

I mix the margarine, which is at room temperature, with the sugar, yeast, baking powder and the pinch of salt through the 400 grams of flour and add the water little by little.

Easy recipe for vegetarian bapao - homemade dough

If the dough remains too moist and sticky, I add a handful of extra flour. It needs to become a beautiful and smooth ball that does not stick. I knead quite long, just like I would do with bread dough (at least 10 minutes).

Steam bamboo basket

In my steam basket made of bamboo I place parchment paper and cut it open with a small potato peeler knife (on the spot where the bamboo basket has his openings). It is important that the bapao are steamed well for the best result.

Make the buns

I roll the dough into a sausage and make about 30 equal pieces of about the size of a ping-pong ball.

Vegetarian bapao - cut the dough in equal pieces

The pieces I place in a bowl and I cover it with a lid or damp cloth. I roll the piece out one by one in a small round sheet of 0,5 – 1 centimeter in thickness. I scoop a teaspoon full of my vegetarian meat mix in the middle.

Vegetarian bapao - scoop the filling in the sheet of dough

Then I close it like this:

Vegetarian bapao - how to close the bun

Vegetarian bapao - how to close the bun like a flower

In this way the ratio of filling and dough is nicely balanced.


Now the bapao can be placed in the basket on the baking paper and needs to proof for about 40 minutes.

But I never stick to this time, because I just roll all my bapao and stack the baskets so when I’m done the buns in the bottom part have certainly risen for over half an hour and can be steamed immediately.

Steaming for 15 minutes

I never steam more than one layer at a time otherwise, the upper ones are not properly cooked.

Are the bapao already done ready and you only want to only warm them up? You can pile them up and steam all at once.

Vegetarian bapao - Steam in Bamboo Baskets

I fill a wok with water, bring it to the boil and place the bamboo basket on top of it (make sure it doesn’t touch the water). I steam my bapao with vegetarian filling for 15 minutes.


Vegetarian mini bapao - Steamed in Bamboo Baskets

I love mini bapao. I never eat big bapao. I do not like it; too much dough. That’s why I always make them for children’s hands ;-).

Freeze and defrost

I freeze them in a plastic ziplock bag when they have cooled down (cooling goes very fast). If we feel like bapao, we will thaw a few and steam them for 5 minutes or we place the frozen bapao directly in the microwave for 15 seconds.

Vegetarian mini bapao - Eat with Kecap ABC

The ratio of the vegetarian filling and the dough is perfect. The buns are also super airy. I still taste the fresh coriander very well in the minced meat. Also, the buns, despite the hot soy sauce, are not spicy, but full of flavor!


I also dip them in sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis ABC) or a sweet chili sauce. Let’s just warm up a few more… we are hungry!

Interested in making your own bapao? Check out other bapao recipes on this blog:

Vegetarian mini bapao - Eat with Kecap ABC and chili sauce

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