Crispy Veggie Buns

These Chinese vegetable buns are filled with a savory blend of cabbage, bok choy and onion and seasoned with garlic, ginger and basil. They are then pan-cooked until puffy and crisped on the outside. Serve them as part of a dim sum spread with dumplings and other small dishes. These buns are great on their own, but to amp up their flavor, serve them with soy sauce with a splash of black vinegar for dipping (rice vinegar will also work in a pinch).

Crispy Veggie Buns
Photo: Megan O. Steintrager
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs
Nutrition Profile:



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 cup cake flour

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast

  • ¾ teaspoon salt

  • cup warm water

  • 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable shortening


  • ½ small red cabbage, cored and julienned (about 5 cups)

  • ½ pound bok choy, julienned (about 2 cups)

  • 1 small white onion, julienned

  • 4-5 scallions, julienned

  • 1-2 red Thai chiles or Thai bird chiles, very thinly sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 (1 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

  • 4 tablespoons peanut oil, divided

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper

  • ¼ cup Thai or regular basil, coarsely chopped or torn

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce, plus more for serving

  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar

  • Black vinegar for serving


  1. To prepare dough: Combine all-purpose flour, cake flour, sugar, yeast and 3/4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine. Add warm water and shortening and mix with the dough hook for 10 minutes. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.

  2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Preheat oven to 425°F.

  3. Spread cabbage, bok choy, onion, scallions, chiles to taste, garlic and ginger in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon peanut oil over the vegetables and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until cooked down and lightly browned, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Transfer to a large bowl. Add basil, sesame oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Refrigerate until ready to form buns.

  4. When the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 to 3 minutes, dusting with flour if sticky. Divide the dough into 10 balls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

  5. To form each dumpling, flatten each ball into a 4-inch circle and fill with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the filling. Pinch the edges together to seal and twist (it will seem like too much filling but the dough is stretchy enough to hold it). Place the buns on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

  6. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. When the oil is shimmery, add the buns, seam-side down. Cook until golden on the first side, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and add about 1 cup water to the pan (carefully because it will get a little spitty). Cover immediately and let the buns steam until puffy, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook until the water is gone, 3 to 5 minutes, lifting the buns to be sure the bottoms don't burn. Serve with soy sauce and black vinegar.

To make ahead

Filling (Step 3) can be made up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

196 Calories
8g Fat
28g Carbs
3g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Serving Size 1 bun
Calories 196
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 3g 6%
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Vitamin A 497IU 10%
Sodium 301mg 13%
Potassium 142mg 3%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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