Aug 8, 2017

Pork and Chinese Chive Steamed Buns | #BreadBakers

These Pork and Chinese Chive Steamed Buns represent a cross between two of my favorite hobbies, bread baking and wok cooking.

Pork and Chinese Chive Steamed Buns

Chinese steamed buns. also known as bao or baozi, are kind of like a meal in a bun. They are typically filled with pork, other meats, vegetables, and even sweets.

I filled these steamed buns with a mixture of pork and Chinese Chives, along with lots of other flavorful ingredients, including Napa cabbage, onions, scallions, soy sauce, garlic, and sesame oil. Chinese chives are usually found in Asian grocery stores. If you can't find them, regular chives will work just fine.

Pork and Chinese Chive Steamed Buns

Most folks, when they think of steamed buns, think of Char Sui Bao, which are buns filled with barbecued pork. They are such a popular snack in Asia. That's pretty much where my mind goes too. However, there are so many other ways to fill these amazing buns, including with a sweet filling.

Pork and Chinese Chive Steamed Buns

As a bread baker, the hardest part for me to get used to is the look of these buns, and how difficult they were to photograph to portray their deliciousness. Because they aren't browned in the oven, they kind of look like raw dough. Right? Regardless of how these buns look, they are fully cooked, and pretty much amazing. They just might be a new obsession.

The dough for these buns is sweet and aromatic, and does not contain salt. If you intend to fill them with a sweet filling, I recommend adding about 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the dough. Otherwise, you will not miss the salt with any savory fillings.

Pork and Chinese Chive Steamed Buns

I am so excited about these steamed buns, and I'm now obsessed about making more. In fact, I can't wait to try making these with an array of fillings!

These buns, once cooked, freeze really well. Just wrap them individually after they cool, and then toss them in the freezer. They can be reheated by either steaming or microwaving.

This month, the Bread Bakers are baking steamed breads, a theme chosen by Sneha's Recipes. I've been intrigued by the technique, and now I'm totally obsessed.

After the recipe, be sure to check out the rest of the steamed buns from the Bread Bakers.

Note: For these buns, I used a dipping sauce of soy sauce mixed with rice vinegar and a bit of chile garlic sauce.

Pork and Chinese Chive Steamed Buns

Pork and Chinese Chive Steamed Buns


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 385 grams (2 3/4 cups) all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 180 grams (3/4 cup) water, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups filling of your choice
  • Dipping sauce of your choice


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the yeast, flour, sugar, and baking powder. Add the water and oil, and mix with the dough hook for about 5 minutes.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
  3. Cut parchment paper into 16 3 inch by 3 inch squares.
  4. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto your counter. Cut it in half and cover each half with plastic wrap.
  5. Working with one half of the dough, cut it into 6 equal sized pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, and cover with plastic wrap.
  6. Working with one cut piece of dough at a time, roll the dough into a 5 inch rounds. Add 2 tablespoons of the filling to the middle. Fold each "side" of the dough toward the middle, and then pleat the corners that are sticking out toward the center. Once you've gathered up the dough, twist it together. Place each shaped bun on top of a parchment square, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 20 minutes.
  7. Fill a wok with water to a depth of about 2 to 3 inches and bring to a boil. The boiling water should not reach as high as the buns that you are steaming.
  8. Place the buns, with the parchment squares underneath, onto a bamboo steamer, spacing the buns about 2 inches apart. You will probably have to steam these buns in two stages (8 at a time), depending on the size of your steamer.
  9. Steam the buns for about 12 to 13 minutes, until puffy and shiny, and the filling is fully cooked. You may have to test one of the buns to check on the filling.
  10. Serve immediately. Any leftovers can be frozen and reheated in the microwave or by steaming.
Yield: 16 buns

For the Filling


  • 1/2 pounds Napa cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Chinese chives (garlic chives) or standard chives
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a mesh colander, mix the cabbage, onion, and 2 1/2 teaspoons of the salt. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. With your hands, squeeze the cabbage mixture in small batches with your hands to get out as much water as possible. Place the squeezed cabbage in a large bowl.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, including the rest of the salt, and mix gently by hand.
  3. This recipe makes more filling than you will need. I sautéed the rest and used it to mix into fried rice.
Recipe adapted from Hey There, Dumpling! This is a wonderful book filled with recipes for "Dumplings, Buns, Noodles, and other Asian Treats!"

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
Pork and Chinese Chive Steamed Buns


  1. The steamed buns don't look raw at all, can actually see the crumb:) I feel bad I couldn't participate, I too would have made bad with tofu and veggies.

    1. Thanks Mayuri. You are too kind. We missed you terribly!

  2. Karen these look wonderful! So flavorful and they look professional.

  3. these are amazing, and yes, they ARE on my list of culinary projects for a long long time

    First time I had them was during a long power outage in Brazil - we were stranded in the lab and one of the grad students was Chinese and lived nearby - he walked to the lab bringing many of those made by his mom. We enjoyed them in the dark.... with Bunsen Burners giving just a little light... fun times!

    1. That's a wonderful story and memory! These were a lot easier than I expected, and so delicious with the filling. I want to try them with Chinese barbecue pork next.


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