Chinese Steamed Pork Buns
These are truly just like what you get at Yum Cha / Dim Sum. Soft fluffy white buns with a juicy sweet and savoury filling. Perfect freezer standby - microwave from frozen and it's like they're fresh out of the bamboo steamer! Recipe video below.
Prep Time50 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Rising2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
- 1 tsp active dry yeast powder
- 1/4 cup / 65 ml warm water
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1/2 cup /125 ml warm water
- 4 tbsp /70g white sugar
- 2 cups / 300g plain flour (all purpose)
- 1 cup / 155g cornflour / cornstarch
- 1/4 cup / 65 ml vegetable oil
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup finely chopped escalot or white onion (Note 1)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce , regular or light (not dark)
- 1 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce (can sub Hoisin)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp cornflour dissolved in 1 tbsp water
- 1 1/2 cups Chinese Barbecue Pork , diced (Note 2)
Yeast Activation: Place yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl. Mix, then set aside for 10 minutes until it becomes foamy.
Place flour, cornflour and sugar in a stand mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook. Mix briefly to combine.
Add yeast mixture, oil and water. Mix on low speed for 3 minutes until a smooth ball of dough forms. It should be soft and elastic, not so sticky it gets stuck all over your hands. Adjust with a touch of flour/water if required to get the dough consistency right.
Cover with cling wrap and place in a warm dry place for 2 hours until it doubles in volume. (Note 3). Meanwhile, make Filling.
Remove cling wrap, scatter over baking powder. Return to stand mixer and mix on low for 2 minutes.
Turn dough out onto work surface, sprinkle with flour. Knead lightly to form a smooth round disc.
Making Buns (watch video):
Cut dough into 4 pieces. Take one piece, roll into an even log, cut into 3 pieces (so 12 pieces in total).
Take one piece of dough, cover remaining with cling wrap or tea towel.
Roll into round 4.5" / 11 cm in diameter, making the edges thinner.
Place dough in hand, put 1 1/2 tbsp of Filling in the centre.
Pinch 8 pleats around the edges. Then gather the pleats together one by one to seal the bun. Pinch the top the twist.
Repeat with remaining dough - make 12 in total.
Cover buns loosely with cling wrap and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes.
Line a large bamboo steamer (or other steamer) with parchment paper punctured with holes (Note 4).
Place 6 to 8 buns on paper, cover with steamer lid.
Pour about 4 cm / 1 1/2 inches in a wok / pot (steamer should not touch water) and bring to rapid simmer over medium high.
Place steamer in wok, then cook for 12 minutes. Check water halfway through, top up if required.
Buns are ready when they spring back when touched, and the buns have formed a smooth skin.
Remove steamer from wok, serve warm!
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add eschalots and cook for 2 minutes.
Add sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and water. Mix.
While stirring, slowly pour cornflour mixture in. Mix until smooth.
Stir in pork. Cook until sauce is thickened, 1 - 1 1/2 minutes (see video for consistency). Set aside to cool (thickens when cools).
1. Eschalots are the small onions which are finer than ordinary onions. Even brown onions or the white part of shallots/scallions/green onions will do here.
2. Use store bought or homemade Chinese Barbecue Pork (Char Siu).
Quick Chinese BBQ Pork: Marinate pork steaks in store bought Char Siu Sauce (or make small batch of the marinade from Homemade Char Siu) for 20 minutes. Then pan fry on medium or bake for 15 - 20 minutes at 180C/350F, basting with reserved marinade. Use per recipe.
3. Weird but wonderful tip, especially great in winter: DRYER! Run empty dryer for 1 minute, then place bowl inside. Draught free, cosy warm, perfect dough rising environment.
4. Paper steamer liners are sold at Asian stores but I've never purchased them. It's super simple to make (see photos in post & video): get a piece of baking paper, fold in half then quarters, keep folding until you make a thin triangle. Line up with the centre of the steamer then snip the end off. Then snip little triangles along both edges (these become the holes). Unfold and place in steamer.
5. Recipe ever so slightly adapted from this Steamed Pork Buns from Woks of Life. Judy and Bill - we salute you and your brilliant recipe!
6. Other filling options: You could substitute other cooked fillings instead of Char Siu to mix with the filling sauce. Some ideas: Chopped Chinese BBQ duck, chicken or pork meat, even leftover steak. You could even use ground / mince meat - just cook with the eschallot. For veg options, try sauteed mushrooms or vegetables.
7. Storage: Cook then refrigerate or freeze. Fridge - 3 to 4 days, microwave briefly to warm through. Freeze - microwave, covered with damp paper towel, from frozen for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until piping hot. These are exceptional freezer friendly snacks - once reheated, it's just like fresh out of the bamboo steamer!
8. Nutrition per bun.