Friday, February 05, 2010

Chinese Steamed Meat Buns (鮮肉包子)

As I've mentioned before, i was quite the busy bee this summer in Taiwan. With the unbearable heat in Kaohsiung, I mostly stayed indoors and only went out at night. Other than staying home hiding from the deadly UV rays, my only activity during the day was to push my bread machine to its limit and making enough buns to feed my family for weeks. The only time i took a break was when our freezer ran out of space to store them... but recess only lasted for about 2 days and then it was back to the bun-making cycle all over again. So as my summer came to an end, my mom started to get anxious about the fact that our one-man bun factory was about close down. So as you can imagine, I had to work extra shifts during my last week in Taiwan... And if i was actually getting paid for the hours i put into the buns, i think i could actually make a decent living out of it! Ok, just kidding... more like 2 Macdonald's happy meals per day (damn Asia with its cheap labor and meager minimum wage!).

So here's the recipe that i use for basic steamed buns (it's the same one i used for the Gua Baos 割包). You can make regular Mantous out of these or stuff them with any filling you'd like-- sweet or savory. I haven't got the time to try out any sweet bun recipes yet, but when i do, there'll be red bean buns updates for sure. Enjoy!

Chinese Steamed Meat Buns (鮮肉包子)
  • 600 grams ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 1.5 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1.5 cups spring onions, chopped
    This recipe yields more than enough meat filling for the dough recipe below (leftovers depend on how much meat you put in each bun). You can either make another batch of dough with the leftover meat or freeze them until next time!

  • DOUGH:
  • 1 cup water
  • 40 grams (6 tablespoons) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 500 grams high-gluten flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2.5 teaspoons active dry yeast
  1. For the Filling: Place all Filling ingredients into a big mixing bowl and using your hands, mix until everything is combined. Cover and refrigerate until the buns are ready [picture 1, 2].

  2. For Bread Machine: place all dough ingredients in the listed order into your bread machine [picture 3, 4]. Set the mode to "Knead and Rise" (this took around 1 hour and 20 minutes on my bread machine).
  3. If kneading by hand, you can also place all ingredients in the listed order into a big bowl and knead for 15 - 20 minutes until the dough forms a smooth ball. Put the dough in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. Remove the dough and separate it into 50 gram pieces [picture 5].
  5. Form the dough into a ball. With a rolling pin, flatten it out into a circle. Roll the edges of the circle thinner, leaving a thicker pad in the center [picture 6].
  6. Place 1 - 2 tablespoons of meat filling in the center of the dough and pleat and seal the edges to form a bun [picture 7] (it takes A LOT of practice, i still haven't perfected it yet!).
  7. Place the buns on cut-out baking paper or a cheesecloth to prevent sticking. Let it rise for another 30 minutes, covered, in a warm place [picture 8].
  8. When the dough has risen after 30 minutes, place them inside the metal or bamboo cooking steamers that you are using. Make sure they do not touch, standing about 1 inch away from each other.
  9. Turn on the stove to high heat until the water starts to boil [picture 9]. Once the water has boiled, turn down to medium heat and steam for 10 minutes.
  10. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat and let it rest, untouched, for another 10 - 15 minutes.
  11. Open the lid carefully, making sure water on the lid does not drop onto the buns. Remove the buns and place onto your serving plate. Serve while hot.
Steaming TIPS:
  • Avoid opening the lid too soon-- the buns will collapse when met with cold air.
  • Make sure the water on the steamer lid does not drop onto the buns, as they will create rough surfaces.
  • If the buns harden up after leaving them out for too long, just quickly steam them again and they'll be soft and fluffy in no time.
Chinese Steamed Meat Buns


  1. You have cute buns :D

  2. Oooh, these look so awesome! Chinese buns is something I've been wanting to do forever!

  3. Lovely. Do you eat them like that or with kind sauce?

  4. @Monikucha: We usually just eat them as they are, no sauce! They're already full of flavor so if you HAD to add something to go with this, it would be a cup of fresh soy milk. Buns + soy milk make the most PERFECT breakfast combo.

  5. AH! I miss these so much! I haven't tried making GF baos yet but I think I need to, they're the quintessential chinese snack arent they? Yours looks so professional. I would probably make one of those buns that are have thicker skins then meat filling...

  6. i have a food request for you!!

    it's just about chinese new years (oh look... that giant red thing i compleatly forgot about! whoops...)

    and my mommy really likes them weird chinese cookies that just about everyone sells, but i was thinking if i could get my hands on a recipe, maybe i can figure out how to make em for her. problem is, i don't even know what the heck they are called, much less am i able to google them up.

    can you help? here's a picture

    i know the one is a deep fried sesame ball, and the other is a deep fried cookie that is filled with either red bean or peanut filling. my mom likes the dumpling, i like the seaseme.

    thank you SO much for whatever help you might give!

  7. Heyyy babe! You've just won an award. Pop by my blog to get it ok? :)

  8. @Shallah: hmmmmm, i just spent the past 20 minutes trying to google these cookies up, but i still have no idea what they are! The closest I got was this: but they said it's a vietnamese dessert? Maybe i'm just not very observant but I have never seen those dumpling cookies before :( I was wondering if they're one of those Americanized Chinese dessert? [i.e. no such thing as fortune cookies in China].

    However, I have made sesame rice balls before, i can give you a recipe for that if you'd like? Or i also found this recipe:
    It's kind of like a sesame ball but WITHOUT the sesames.

    I would really like to help but i just can't really tell what the dumpling skin texture is like! Maybe they can be made with normal dumpling dough and then fried? Or is their texture more chewy like the sesame ball? Sorry if this is not of much help :(

  9. i actually haven't tried them... my mom eats them... i think their more like cookies. you can get them from the chinese malls or the asian supermarkets now, cause it's new years.

    i suppose it's not terribly popular. but thanks for looking!

    can you show us all how to make churros? cause you know. yum.
    and homemade gingerale? just to know if it's actually doable?

    your blog is awesome.

  10. @Shallah: Sorry i wasnt of much help. Where i am, we only have ONE chain chinese store and there's really only a handful of useful asian food there. I wish i knew what they were!
    And yes, Churros have always been on my to-do list, updates on that for sure! Ginger ale also sounds like an interesting thing to try. I will make them soon although it'll probably be a late update since Feburary is my Exam month :'( Thanks for stopping by :D