April Recipe of the Month: Chinese Pork Steam Buns

March 28, 2018


This recipe is adapted from Everything You Want to Know About Chinese Cooking by Pearl Kong Chen, Tien Chi Chen and Rose Y.L. Tseng.

These pork buns are a staple on any Dim Sum menu, and can also be quite filling. I recommend hosting a Dim Sum pot-luck party to disperse the labour of all the little bites, but they also make a great meal on their own with some sautéed Chinese greens drizzled with Oyster sauce alongside.

P.S. These buns can be made ahead of time and reheated in the microwave for a quick snack or work lunch. Just make sure you place a small dish with water to create steam so the dough doesn’t harden.


1 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup Chinese BBQ pork (Char Siu), cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 1/2 tbsp white wine


1 tbsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warn water
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp lard
2 cups lukewarm milk
1 tbsp vegetable oil


1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 1/4 tsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp ketchup
1 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
pinch white pepper
1/4 tsp sesame oil


Makes about 14 – 16 buns

Preparing the Sauce

Combine all the ingredients for the sauce, set aside.

Preparing the Filling

Heat peanut oil in wok over low heat. Add onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until light brown. Increase head and add pork; stir-fry to combine with onions. Add white wine and mix well. Then add sauce ingredients to the wok. Reduce heat and stir until thickened and brown. Transfer to shallow dish; cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, uncovered, until cold.

Preparing the Bun Dough

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir to combine. Sift together 4 cups flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda into a bowl; make well in the centre. Add lard and yeast mixture. Slowly add milk to well, stirring to bring ingredients in from the sides. Squeeze dough into ball. Turn onto lightly floured work surface; knead for 10 minutes, sprinkling with remaining flour if necessary to prevent sticking. Oil clean bowl; add dough and roll to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place for 45 minutes.

Assembling the Buns

Using a pastry cutter or clean scissors, separate the dough into 14 – 16 equal pieces (depending on how large you would like the buns). Form a claw with your hand and, using gentle pressure, use your palm to roll each piece into a round shape. Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece into a flat circle (about 3.5 inches in diameter). Fill the buns by holding a dough round in your palm. Place 1 tbsp of filling into the centre. Using the other hand, gather the dough edge by first pleating counter-clockwise, then twisting the gathered dough at the top to seal securely. Before sealing, gently compress filling to remove any air pockets from inside the bun. Place bun pinched side up onto a 2-inch square of greased parchment paper. Place into steamer basket. Repeat for the rest of the buns, leaving at least 2 inches between buns in the steamer basket to allow for expansion.

Steaming the Buns

Fill a pot or wok with water and bring to boil. (Make sure the pot you are using is almost the same size as the steamer basket, with the basket able to sit securely on the pot edge.) Place steamer basket on top; cover and steam for 15 to 20 minutes. If your steamer basket lid is not conical, wrap the lid in a clean towel to prevent moisture from dripping onto the buns. Keep pot or kettle of boiling water ready in case the water level of the steamer runs low. Serve immediately. If storing, allow to cool slightly and then wrap each bun in saran wrap. Place into freezer bag or food-storage container and place in fridge. Use within 5 days.

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