Steamed Pork Buns


If you’re looking for a delicious weekend home project give this steamed pork bun recipe a try! These basic pork buns are so juicy and yummy filled with aromatic chives surrounded by a wonderfully fluffy soft bun. This is yet another Chinese classic dish you can find in most Asian homes and I’m sharing with you my mother-in-law’s awesome recipe. It’s easy to make and I’ll show you a few key steps to make it just right!

I must admit, I have failed making this a few times trying to get it right. Either the bun part was too thin not pillowy and all the juices seeped out or my bun came out really wrinkly and ugly not like the smooth beautiful ones you see in the restaurants or the texture of my filling was weird and crumbly….the list goes on. After quite a few trial and error moments I finally cracked some of the secrets that I’m so happy to share with you here so you can bypass some of the wasted effort I went through.

Let’s talk about the dough first. The flour source I found out was one of the most important things. Try not to use your usual all-purpose Western flour as it doesn’t have enough gluten. Get yourself a bag of Chinese flour for steamed bun, usually it should be written on the packaging that it’s meant for steamed bun and you can usually find that at your Asian grocery store. If not get an Asian brand of all-purpose wheat flour and it should suffice.

The next step is to add just enough water to the dough to combine and to do that properly you have to add the water gradually while stirring. Once the flour starts to resemble large soft lumps you are good to start kneading it into a ball. Make sure you take the time to knead it properly and make it real smooth. Then give it some time to double in size and by the end the dough should be really nice and elastic but not sticky on the hands.

The second thing is the filling, make sure to really stir the meat mixture many times in the same direction until it becomes sticky. This ensures that the meat fibers are aligned and well mixed so that when cooked it will become this nice bouncy slightly spongy texture. Really important so please don’t skip!

When you start putting the bun together, don’t over fill with the meat mixture and make sure the dough portion is not too thin. Using your fingers carefully pinch the side in towards the center until it comes together and then give it a final big pinch to seal the top. After this step don’t steam right away! You need to let the buns sit for at least 20 min again to let the dough have a second rise and form a slightly dry skin on the outside. This is a step I use to always mess up and end up with wrinkly buns. If you do this step, the buns will have a pillowy light texture and the dry skin you formed actually protects it from getting deflated and wrinkled after steaming.

Okay now that you know all these basic steps, get cracking and make some yummy bun goodness!!!

Steamed Pork Buns

Prep time: 2 h    
Cook time: 12 min   
Total time: 2 h 12 min   
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground pork (80% lean)
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 1 cup of Chinese chives chopped
  • 1 tsp chicken powder
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 5 cups wheat flour
  • 1 cup water plus a few tbsp
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the water, sugar, and yeast then gradually mix it into the flour using a pair of chopsticks starting from the center and slowly bringing in the flour from the sides until it resembles large lumps. Add a little more water if needed to get this consistency.
  2. Then knead the dough by hand for about 10 min to develop the gluten. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let it sit in a warm place for about 2 h until doubled in size.
  3. Meanwhile make the meat filling by combining the ground pork with the chopped chives, chicken powder, soy sauce, cooking wine, sesame oil, salt, and sugar. Make sure to mix the filling vigorously in one direction with a pair of chopsticks until it looks ‘sticky’.
  4. Once the dough has risen, punch out the air and give it another good knead for about 5 min. Divide the dough into 2 inch diameter balls and using a rolling pin roll out each ball into circle about 4 inches in diameter and 0.5 cm thick.
  5. Add 1.5 tbsp of filling in the center and begin pinching the edges towards the center to encase the filling. See photo above.
  6. Arrange the buns in a steamer lined with steaming paper to prevent sticking.
  7. Allow the buns to rest for 20 min before steaming to let the dough rise again and form a slightly dry shell.
  8. Steam the buns on high heat for 10-12 min and then turn off the heat and let them rest for 3-5 min before taking them out.
  9. Serve hot and enjoy!

*Note: You can keep these buns for up to 3 days in the fridge. To reheat microwave on high for about 1 min. You can also freeze them long term and then reheat by microwaving for about 2-3 min on high setting or steaming them directly from frozen for about 8-10 min.

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