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This Siopao Asado recipe is the perfect balance of sweet and savory, all wrapped up in a fluffy steamed bun! It’s made with a mushroom filling, simple siopao dough, and a vegan siopao sauce. This popular snack is bound to spark nostalgia and satisfy even the strongest of cravings.
What is Siopao Asado?
Siopao (show-pow) is a favorite filipino snack in the Philippines and a staple at many Filipino restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores. It can be enjoyed any time of day! There are two specific variations, which are siopao asado or siopao bola-bola. It is said to have been popularized by a Cantonese immigrant street vendor around the 1920’s.
Siopao Asado is the Filipino version of char siu bao, a Cantonese barbecue-pork-filled bun. They both look very similar, made with a fluffy steam bun filled with a meat filling, but they differ based on their filling and their size. Siopao asado filling is traditionally prepared with meat, but I have found that oyster mushrooms make for a great substitute, especially when shredded. This siopao asado tastes just like the classic Filipino recipe I grew up with!
- Trumpet mushrooms: Also known as oyster mushrooms, these mushrooms are a popular substitute for pulled pork or other meat substitutes in a vegan diet. They can be more difficult to find, but are in season during the summer and fall months and tend to be more prevalent in grocery stores then. Give them a try in our other mushroom recipes such as Vegan Calamari or Oyster Mushroom Sandwiches (MLTA).
- Vegan oyster sauce: This sauce is used to add flavor to both the filling and siopao sauce. Typical oyster sauce is of course not vegan, but there are vegan versions available for purchase. We use Kikkoman Vegetarian Oyster Flavored Sauce.
- Vegan hoisin sauce: Another essential sauce for the filling and sauce. Hoisin sauce is typically made with fish, but the Kikkoman Gluten-Free Hoisin Sauce is also vegan friendly.
- Better than Bouillon Vegan Beef Flavored Broth: This broth is highly recommended as it helps achieve a similar flavor to the savory meat fillings in traditional siopao pork asado recipes. If needed, opt for a vegetable broth.
- All-purpose flour: A key ingredient in homemade siopao dough. We have not tested this recipe with gluten-free flour or whole wheat flour. Test these variations at your own risk.
- Active dry yeast: Allows the dough to rise and become soft and fluffy.
- Vegetable shortening: Makes the siopao dough soft and flavorful. We have not tested this recipe with a shortening substitute and cannot recommend one at this time. For best results, please use vegetable shortening.
- Mixing bowls
- Clean work surface
- Rolling pin or flat-sided bottle/cup
- Parchment paper, cut into 4 x 4-inch squares
How to Make Siopao Filling with Mushrooms
- Shred the mushrooms. Using a fork, shred the trumpet mushrooms into a pulled pork like consistency. For a helpful visual watch this video: 3 Ways to Cook King Oyster Mushrooms.
- Sauté the onions and garlic. In a large pan or skillet, heat two tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Once hot, add in the onions and garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant and the onions are translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add mushrooms. Cook the shredded mushrooms for 2 minutes, mixing often.
- Pour in the oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and sugar. Mix until uniform.
- Prepare a cornstarch slurry. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and warm broth until completely combined. Add the cornstarch slurry to the pan with a pinch of black pepper and mix until well combined.
- Allow the sauce to thicken. Cook the mixture for 8-10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
- Season to taste. Once thickened, taste and adjust the flavor as needed. Set aside and cool completely to room temperature while you prepare the dough.
How to Make Siopao Dough and Fill the Buns
- Bloom the active dry yeast. In a small mixing bowl, add the 3/4 cup warm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Mix well, then stir in the active dry yeast. Allow this mixture to sit for 10 to 15 minutes to activate the yeast.
- Combine the dry ingredients. In a separate large mixing bowl, mix the remaining sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt together until uniform.
- Cut in the shortening. Add in the shortening and work it into the flour mixture using a fork until it becomes a sand-like consistency and is evenly distributed.
- Add in the yeast mixture and knead until smooth. Mix with a spatula until smooth. Transfer the dough to a floured, clean work surface and knead until smooth. If the dough seems too dry, add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time. If it seems too wet, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Rise the dough until doubled in size. Transfer the smooth, kneaded dough to a greased bowl and cover with a damp clean kitchen towel or greased plastic wrap. Place in a warm area to rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Divide into 10 equal dough balls. Once the fluffy dough has doubled in size, punch it down, then divide it into 10 equal pieces and form each piece into a ball. It can help to use a kitchen scale to ensure they are all even. Arrange the dough balls on a baking sheet in a single layer. Cover with a damp towel or greased plastic wrap as you work. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
- Roll the dough balls. Using a rolling pin or a flat-sided cup/bottle, flatten the dough into a 3-inch circle. Then, continue rolling out only the edges of the flat disk until about 5-6 inches.
- Fill the dough. Add 1 tablespoon of vegan pork filling into the middle of the circular pieces of dough. Fold in the right and left flaps and hold together. Then, bring in the top and bottom. Fold each flap in half in the middle to form 8 pleats, then twist it all together to sea the edges of the doughl. Place a piece of square parchment paper underneath and place it back onto the baking sheet. Refer to this Siopao Asado Complete Tutorial for a visual look at this process.
- Prepare your steamer. Prepare a steamer with water and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Be sure the water does not touch the bottom of the steamer or your siopao or your sipao will be soggy. Bring the water to a boil and set aside, covered.
- Steam for 15-20 minutes. Place the buns in your prepared steamer at least 1-inch apart (they expand a lot) and steam on low for 15-20 minutes. If you are preparing this in 2 batches, place the extra siopao asado in the fridge to prevent overproofing.
- Cool for 5 minutes. Remove the siopao from the heat and allow them to sit in the steamer (still closed) for 5 more minutes to prevent it from collapsing. Then, uncover and serve with the sauce.
Sweet and Sour Siopao Sauce Instructions
- Boil the broth. In a medium saucepan, add the broth and bring it to a boil.
- Simmer sauce for 10 minutes. Add in the garlic, onion, soy sauce, star anise, sugar, vegan oyster sauce, vegan hoisin sauce, and ground black pepper. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Strain through a fine-mesh kitchen strainer. Remove the siopao sauce from the heat and strain the mixture through a fine-mesh kitchen strainer into a large bowl, being sure to press all of the liquid out of the “pulp.”
- Bring to a boil once more. Transfer the liquid to a clean saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Thicken with cornstarch slurry. Mix the water and cornstarch in a small mixing bowl, then stir this mixture into the siopao sauce. Stir continuously until thick. Taste and add additional salt as needed.
- Remove from heat. Allow the siopao sauce to cool, then serve with your warm siopao asado.
Siopao asado can be served as a delicious savory snack or a delicious side dish. Pair it with Ginisang Munggo (Mung Bean Soup), Vegan Tinolang Manok (Chicken Tinola), or Vegan Filipino Pancit Bihon. You may also enjoy steamed buns with Vegan Filipino Garlic Fried Rice aka Sinangag and Vegan Bistek Tagalog (Filipino Beef Steak).
Store leftover steamed buns in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
To freeze, arrange the siopao asado in a single layer on a baking sheet and flash freeze until solid. Transfer to a freezer-safe resealable bag or airtight container.
Reheat frozen or refrigerated siopao asado in a steamer basket or in the microwave wrapped in a wet paper towel. If refrigerated, this should take about 5 minutes. If frozen, this will likely take 8-10 minutes.
Siopao is part of Filipino cuisine but is heavily influenced by Chinese bao buns.
Yes, this homemade siopao dough can be prepared in a stand mixer using a dough hook.
I have not seen vegan-friendly siopao dough in stores, but you might be able to make a Cheater’s Siopao Bola-Bola dough using biscuit dough. I have personally not tested it, but it does look promising.
Looking for other vegan Filipino recipes?
- Vegan Pandesal (Filipino Bread Rolls)
- Banana Cue (Filipino Fried Caramelized Bananas)
- Filipino Scrambled Eggs
- Pancit Bihon
- Lumpiang Shanghai (Filipino Spring Rolls)
- Bistek Tagalog (Filipino Beef Steak)
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