Steamed Pork Buns (Bao)

They may not look like much from the outside, but these soft buns filled with smoky-sweet barbecued pork are one of my favorite foods.  I fell in love with them in Singapore 12 years ago and have been a huge fan ever since.

When we go to dim sum, I always eat far too many of these, and I’m so happy I now know how to make them at home!  

(adapted from The Chinese Kitchen by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp ketchup
2 tsp sugar
pinch white pepper
2 tsp corn starch
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup diced onion
3/4 cup char siu pork, cut into 1/4″ pieces
2 tsp Chinese rice wine
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
6 tbsp milk
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Combine sauce ingredients and mix well.  Set aside.
To make the filling: heat the vegetable oil on high in a large saucepan and spread to coat the pan thinly.  Add the onion, lower heat to medium, and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is light brown.  Add the pork and cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the rice wine and mix well.  Stir the sauce, pour into the pan, and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.  Remove from heat, and stir in sesame oil.  Set aside, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until needed.
To make the dough: Mix the flour, baking powder, and sugar together in a medium bowl.  Make a well in the center, and add milk and water.  Stir until liquid is absorbed, then add the oil.
Knead for about 15 minutes, adding a little water if too dry or flour if too wet.  
Once the dough is smooth and elastic, return to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rest for one hour.
To assemble:  Roll the dough into a cylinder about 12″ long and cut into 12 equal pieces.  Keeping the unused dough covered with a damp cloth, work with one piece at a time.  Flatten slightly, spoon about 1 1/2 tbsp into the middle, and pinch the dough together to enclose the filling.  Set onto a small square of wax paper, and repeat with remaining dough.
Bring a medium saucepan filled with water to a boil.  Place a bamboo steamer on top and arrange the buns so they have room to expand (leave at least 1 1/2″ between them).  Steam for 15-20 minutes, then turn off the heat, and serve.

8 Responses to “Steamed Pork Buns (Bao)”

  1. 1 RLBerry November 5, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    I used to eat these for breakfast in China! So tasty. I am not the best with dough, but I will HAVE to try this now.

  2. 2 Maria November 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    I have never made these at home. Good for you! They look perfect!

  3. 3 That Girl November 6, 2008 at 3:05 am

    These are some of my favorite things ever. I always keep them in the fridge for tossing in lunches – I would love to try making them myself!

  4. 4 Steph November 6, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Those look amazing! I think homemade is better than from the restaurant, but it would be nice if I could find the dough recipe that gives you the fluffy type buns you get at dim sum.

  5. 5 Katie November 7, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Oh my goodness!!! These are my husband’s FAVORITE! I totally starred this post to suprise my husband with. And I just realized that I seriously star ALL your blog posts. lol!

  6. 6 Jaime November 17, 2008 at 5:53 am

    wow, i never knew these were so simple to make! there is a similar version in vietnamese cuisine and i always loved it when my mom made them…but i never bothered to watch her do it so i can make them too! maybe i will try them now 🙂

  7. 7 gaga November 20, 2008 at 3:40 am

    I’ve always made mine with yeast and it’s a big pain in the butt. I might try it this way next time.

  8. 8 temuul June 17, 2012 at 10:34 am

    it looks good and

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