I am on a mission to ‘veganise’ all your meaty favourites. Here, I’ve made Chinese vegan bao buns with katsu ‘chicken’!
Have you ever tried vegan bao buns? Mate, they are bloody GORGEOUS! They’re fluffy white buns often filled with marinated meat and adorned with crisp veg, crushed peanuts, spring onions and fresh herbs. Nowadays, there are so many accessible plant-based proteins that we can enjoy this Asian delicacy to our vegan heart’s content.
Where did I get the inspiration for these vegan bao buns?
Short answer – my DELICIOUS vegan katsu curry!
Katsu curry is known as one of Japan’s most popular dishes, and now it seems one of the U.K’s favourites. The sauce is rich in flavour, mildly spiced with a hint of sweetness – always an easy pleaser.
Since my vegan katsu curry recipe is one of my most popular, I wanted to create another way for using this flavoursome sauce and thought bao buns would be perfect considering their Asian origin.
How to make vegan katsu?
In traditional katsu curry, animal products include egg, honey, chicken stock and chicken. The egg is usually used as part of the breadcrumb mix to coat the chicken, but I’ve used Quorn’s vegan tex-mex nuggets in this recipe as an easy short-cut which scraps the egg and meat altogether. Then instead of chicken stock, I’ve used vegetable stock and agave nectar instead of honey.
Like most sauce recipes, the key for great results lies in layering the flavour at various stages of the cooking. You’ll start by frying off finely chopped onion, garlic and ginger. Simply by allowing these to cook for a few minutes, you’ll release their aromas and enhance the overall flavour of the dish. Then comes the spice mix and finally, the remaining ingredients step by step.
The final additions of tahini and peanut butter bring all the flavours together, and your eyes will be popping at the taste of it! This sauce is one of my favourites to cook (cue drool), and is best eaten immediately once served (obviously!)
Buying ingredients for this vegan bao bun recipe?
There are some simple recipes for homemade bao buns, but I found frozen ones in my local Asian supermarket and was very happy with the results.
If you can, I would highly recommend you find your local Asian supermarket. If you live in a city, you’re likely to have one nearby. They’re a brilliant source for more exotic ingredients, and you’re able to get far more amounts of spice for your money.
If you’re out of town, then you may not have one nearby. If that’s the case, you can order bao buns online (a.k.a Hirata buns).
How can you make these vegan bao buns healthier?
I’ve used Quorn’s vegan chicken tex-nuggets as a quick and easy short-cut which makes this meal a breeze to cook, especially if you’re just in from work. I do love Quorn as there are so many benefits of cooking with it.
However, if you’re looking for a healthier alternative, I would use tofu. Soybean is incredibly high in protein, low in saturated fats and free of added sugars and salts. You could marinate some tofu in a simple seasoning and bake it in place of the nuggets.
It’s essential to use firm tofu for this type of thing, as soft tofu will break apart. If you’re in the U.K, I often use Tofoo’s extra firm tofu which is organic.
I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments once you’ve given my vegan bao buns with katsu chicken a try. I’m sure you will adore the taste and be delighted by how yummy a Life Without Meat can be.
Allergens: Soy, Wheat, Gluten, Celery As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Let this cook for a few minutes then add the curry powder, garam masala and turmeric. Stir and cook for a further few minutes whilst stirring in the remaining stock. At this point, you can transfer the pan ingredients to a blender and blitz until smooth before returning it to the pan. Feel free to do the same or leave it as it if for extra texture.
Whilst the sauce simmers, prepare a mix of freshly chopped coriander, sliced spring onion and fresh chilli. Drizzle over the juice of half a lime.
Sauce recipe adapted from Cupful of Kale.
If you don't have agave nectar, you can use maple syrup or golden syrup.
If you don't have tamari sauce, you can use soy sauce.
Allergens: Soy, Wheat, Gluten, Celery
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.