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Vegan Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork)

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4.9 from 16 reviews


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Char Siu Seitan

  • 3/4 cup vital wheat gluten (90g)
  • 3 tbsp soft tofu (45g // or medium firm)
  • 1/41/3 cup cold water (I use exactly 78ml)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce (10ml)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (1.5g)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder (1.2g)


  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (9g)
  • 2 fermented tofu cubes (15g)
  • 1/2 tbsp molasses (7g)
  • 1 tsp five spice powder (5g)
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper (1g)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika, optional (3g)
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil, optional (3g)
  • 1 tsp salt (5g)
  • 1 tbsp mushroom sauce (15g // or hoisin sauce)
  • 1 tbsp Chinese shaozing wine (15ml)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (30ml)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or sugar (20g // up to 3 tbsp depending on how sweet you like it)
  • 2 cups water (500ml)


  • 1 tbsp oil (15ml)
  • 12 tbsp maple syrup or dissolved sugar (20g)


  1. Blend the tofu with water. Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and mix. Then add in the tofu-water mixture while mixing. Knead with your hands for a few minutes (about 3). Squeeze the gluten (this helps remove any air bubbles), stretch and shape into a rectangle. Place in a container covered and rest for 45 minutes. 
  2. Add the marinade ingredients to a pot except the garlic. Reserve 3 tbsp of the marinade. Add in the garlic and water. Bring the marinade to a boil and then reduce to medium low. Once simmering, drop in the seitan and simmer 25-30 minutes. The seitan does expand, this is normal. It will shrink once you remove it from the water. 
  3. Slice in half and then brush oil and maple syrup over. Then brush the reserved marinade.
  4. TO BAKE: 350 F for 5 minutes and then broil for 1 minute. 
  5. TO PAN FRY: Over medium high both sides for 3 minutes or until charred. 

Sauce (optional):

  1. With the remaining marinade the seitan was boiling in, you can reduce it over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until most of the water cooks off and use it as a sauce. 


  • If you prefer a softer seitan, increase water by 1-2 tbsp and knead less. Aim for a soft dough.
  • If you prefer a denser, compact seitan then add 1 tbsp more vital wheat gluten and knead for longer.
  • Baking the seitan gives a lean-meat texture whereas panfrying it will keep it more moist.