Chashu Pork Steamed Bao Recipe · i am a food blog (2024)

Have I said it yet – have I said Happy New Year!? I can’t believe it’s 2016 – insane! If I haven’t, let me take this chance to wish you a happy and healthy new year; I hope it brings you everything your heart desires. So far 2016 has seemed extra busy and just a little bit chilly. We’ve had a little bit of snow, which is super exciting around these parts. Mike and I have been making an effort to walk around our little neighborhood because it looks like a winter wonderland with frozen tree branches and dripping icicles.

Chashu Pork Steamed Bao Recipe · i am a food blog (1) Chashu Pork Steamed Bao Recipe · i am a food blog (2)

Whenever we go on a walk, we inevitably pass by people and I have this instinctual urge towave at random people. I do it all the time when I see someone waving in my direction. It’s an automatic gesture for me. Wave at me and I’ll wave back, if I know you or not. It’s led to some comic situations, whereupon after waving, the person will give me a confused look. I’ll look around, realize that they’re waving at someone behind or beside me and my face will turn a colorful shade of beet-red.

Chashu Pork Steamed Bao Recipe · i am a food blog (3)

The reason I do it is because I’ve waved at people before (people I know) only to have them not wave back. I always feel like an idiot. I suspect that these people that don’t wave back at me are a little too cool for school. Or maybe they have bad eyesight? Maybe they’d wave if they knew that waving could lead to an invite to eat these chashu pork buns?

Chashu Pork Steamed Bao Recipe · i am a food blog (4)

I used the slow-braised chashu from this post and tucked them into fluffy white buns made from this recipe. I’m kind of sort of obsessed with folded over Chinese steamed buns. Actually, I’m kind of sort of obsessed with all steamed buns. There are so many delicious ones out there, but the fold over guys are perfect I think because they’re kind of a like a steamed bun taco and you can basically stuff them with anything and they taste delicious.

Chashu Pork Steamed Bao Recipe · i am a food blog (5)

The recipe for the steamed buns is pretty straight forward. Like most bread recipes, it’s time consuming because of the rise time, but if you’re patient, you’ll be rewarded with light and fluffy buns that are perfect for filling. And if you have leftover chashu in the fridge, you’re golden. Or you could stuffthem with bacon and eggs,fried chicken, or banh mi fillings? Really, the possibilities are endless. In fact, I’m wishing I doubled the recipeso I could have hadextra frozen buns in case of a bun-mergency. Next time for sure!

Chashu Pork Steamed Bao Recipe · i am a food blog (6)

Fold Over Steamed Bao Recipe via Lady and Pups
yield: makes 6 large bao
1 hour
1 hour
2 hours

  • 140 grams warm water (100°F), about 2/3 cup
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 10 grams heavy cream
  • 300 grams Asian bread flour

In the bowl of your stand mixer, stir together the warm water with the sugar. Sprinkle on the yeast and let proof for 10 minutes. There should be tiny bubbles on the surface.

Add the heavy cream and flour and knead on medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 5-6 minutes. The dough will start out quite dry, but continue to knead until all the ingredients are incorporated. The dough should be stiff but not sticky. If sticking to the sides of the bowl, add an extra tablespoon of flour. If it doesn’t come together as a dough, add an extra teaspoon of cream.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and cover with a kitchen towel. Let proof until doubled in size, about 1 and half to 2 hours.

Once doubled, place the dough on your work surface. You shouldn’t need flour it; the dough shouldn’t be sticky. Punch the dough down and use a rolling pin to shape into a rough rectangle. Roll it up into a jelly roll. Rotate it 90°, roll out again into a rough rectangle and then again into a jelly roll shape. Cut into 6 equal pieces, cover and let rest for 20 minutes. While the dough is resting, prep 12 3.5 inch squares of parchment paper.

Once rested, shape the dough into a rough oval with your hands. Roll out into a long rectangle. Fold in half with a piece of parchment paper sandwiched in the center. Place bun on another square of parchment paper.

Arrange buns in a steamer with 1 1/2 inches of space in between. Cover the steamer with plastic wrap and let proof for 1 hour. The buns will be puffy but not quite doubled.

Add water to a pot or wok and bring to a boil. Turn down to medium and place the steamer (with the lid on) on top. Steam on medium for 10 minutes. Open the lid at 3 minutes to let some steam out – you don’t want the temperature to get too high as this leads to inflating and deflating buns. Once steamed, the buns should be puffy. Remove from the steamer.


Mike thought these buns were a touch on the sweet side, so feel free to dial the sugar down to 1-1 1/2 tablespoons.

Asian bread flour or Hong Kong bread flour can be found at most Asian grocery stores. Asian bread flour makes your buns more white and fluffy – it’s very very white with a slightly lower gluten content. I haven’t tried this recipe with all purpose so I’m not sure what the result would be but many bbq pork bun recipes online use all purpose flour, so I expect that you would get a similar result.

Chashu Pork Bao Recipe
yield: as many as desired
5 minutes
5 minutes
10 minutes

  • bao, as many as desired
  • slow braised chashu slices
  • hoisin sauce, to taste
  • cucumber slices
  • sliced green onions
  • sriracha, if desired

Assemble the buns: spread on a touch of hoisin on the bottom bun and layer on a couple slices of pork, cucumber, and green onions. Enjoy with sriracha, if desired.


  1. January 6, 2016 at 1:48 am

    OMG I wanna tuck myself inside these buns (even more than my own)!!! I do like my buns a little on the sweet side :P I think it’s a childhood pet-peeve that never left.

  2. Tori says:

    January 6, 2016 at 2:46 am

    These look entirely fab! I love that it’s simple and so warm and cozy! Happy 2016 to you too!


  3. Melanie says:

    January 6, 2016 at 5:29 am

    I’m excited to try this recipe! I’ll report back on how all purpose flour turns out :) Just a question: What does “10 Heavy Cream” mean? Thanks!


    1. Stephanie Le says:

      January 6, 2016 at 11:04 am

      whoops! it’s 10 grams. i fixed it, thanks for the heads up!


  4. Allyn says:

    January 6, 2016 at 6:57 am

    We actually just bought some frozen steamed buns last night to go with pork belly tonight, but only because we somehow don’t own a bamboo steamer yet. Next time, I’m making these suckers from scratch. David Chang just calls for regular bread flour in his recipe, BTW.


  5. January 6, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Haha I have definitely waved back at people before! I actually like to wave at people if I notice they are staring or looking at me for an unusually long time (no idea why) and then they feel awkward and look away. I’m Chinese and… well, baos are everything!! So warm, soft, inviting :D


  6. January 6, 2016 at 8:59 am

    put hoisin on a steamed bao and i’m there. at banquets, i’d just eat that and leave the roast duck for everyone else (though now i’ve matured enough to steal bits of the crispy skin and tuck those into the bun as well). this sounds like such a tasty way to serve chashu, especially with the crunch of the cucumber!


  7. January 6, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    yum, these look so light and fresh! I love a steamed bun. can’t wait to dig into these bao!


  8. January 7, 2016 at 8:49 am

    These look amazing! I have never steamed bread before. They steam pretty quickly. Oh and I do not like when I wave and they don’t wave back but I also get pretty embarrassed when I wave to someone who was not waving to me. Who would like saying hi would put you into such a complex situation? To wave or not to wave?


  9. January 7, 2016 at 9:03 am

    I think this is going to be dinner on Sunday. I love slow cooking meals on a Sunday, it feels so cozy. How would you suggest freezing and reheating the buns? I want to double the recipe and save half of them for later. :)


  10. Sylvia says:

    January 7, 2016 at 10:00 am

    *waves* Happy New Year, Steph!


  11. Maggie says:

    January 7, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    This sounds amazing! I LOVE bao buns and I will be making these for sure.



  12. Elizabeth says:

    January 8, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    These buns! I’m definitely waving at them from over here. I’m adding “make my own steam buns” to my resolution list right now. This recipe is stunning, as always. Hope the holidays were good to you, Stephanie!


  13. January 11, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Ah, so cute!! I need to get myself a steamer…


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Chashu Pork Steamed Bao Recipe · i am a food blog (2024)


What is chashu bun made of? ›

Ingredients for baking mainly include flour, meat, eggs, flour, lard and some typical spices depending on how each family's family is made. To make delicious cakes, people often marinate pork tenderloin with minced garlic, fivespice, oyster oil, honey and then baked until it turns golden brown and is fragrant.

Are bao buns good for you? ›

A standard steamed bao typically contains about 200-250 calories, positioning it as a moderate-calorie food option. Additionally, bao serves as a source of protein and dietary fiber, particularly when made with whole grain flours or filled with vegetables or lean meats.

What is the history of bao buns? ›

Origin of Bao Buns

Bao originated in Northern China and dated back to the Three Kingdoms period in the third century. Some argue that evidence of these buns can be traced back as far as 400 BC. There is a more extensive story about how Zhuge Liang created bao as a military strategy.

What are steamed baos? ›

Bao Buns (pronounced “bow”), but also known as a 'steamed buns' or 'baozi' 包子, are a delicious, warm, fluffy treat of stuffing wrapped inside a sweet, white dough. Made with a mix of flour, yeast, sugar, baking powder, milk and oil, the bao is a tad sweeter than its closely related cousin, the dumpling.

What is the difference between char siu and chashu? ›

Unlike char siu, which is made by painting slices of pork shoulder with a thick, sweet marinade and roasting it, Japanese chashu is a simmered dish made with pork belly.

What is the difference between Chinese chashu and Japanese chashu? ›

What's the difference between Japanese and Chinese Chashu / Cha siu? Chinese Cha siu is cooked in an oven, but Japanese style is cooked in liquid. Maybe, this is because ovens aren't traditional kitchen equipment in japan.

What is the difference between bao and bao buns? ›

Bao means "bun", so the name bao bun is redundant, and bao in the Chinese language without any qualifiers is generally used to refer to baozi.

Are bao buns Chinese or Japanese? ›

Bao or Baozi are said to have been invented in China during the 3rd century by a military strategist called Zhuge Liang [181-234]. They were first named Mantou but over time they began to be referred to as baozi or bao meaning to wrap in Mandarin.

Is bao Chinese or Vietnamese? ›

The Bao ('bun') developed in Chinese culture as a filled form of 'Mantou,' a plain steamed dumpling which is often compared to bread.

What is the difference between pork buns and bao? ›

Pork buns are traditionally baked or pan-fried, resulting in a slightly firmer outer layer. Because the buns are baked, they are drier and, therefore, are less sticky to pick up with your fingers. Bao is unmistakably steamed, which imparts its characteristic soft and airy texture.

What do bao buns symbolize? ›

Beyond being a culinary delight, bao buns carry profound cultural significance. In Chinese traditions, these buns are integral to festivals and special occasions, symbolizing wealth and prosperity.

What to eat with bao buns? ›

We always serve these buns with thinly sliced carrot and/or cucumber, fresh cilantro or mint, avocado, chiles, and sesame seeds. A few pickled jalapeños or the banh mi pickles from this recipe would also be excellent here.

Do you eat bao buns hot or cold? ›

Let cool slightly then remove from the steamer so you can steam the next batch, you may need to top up the water to prevent it running dry (you can take the dough straight from the fridge, no need to let it come to room temperature). Eat the buns warm!

What sauce to eat with pork buns? ›

While the buns are steaming, make the hoisin dipping sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the hoisin, soy sauce, 2 tablespoons water and the vinegar. Serve with the buns.

How many bao buns per person? ›

The bao buns need 10-12 minutes to steam, so I recommend steaming the bao buns (homemade or frozen) just before serving. Allow about 3 buns per person as a main meal.

Is chashu just bacon? ›

Chashu is a traditional ramen topping that's very common in the standard Japanese bowl of ramen. It's made with pork belly that's rolled and braised in a flavorful mix of mirin, sake, sugar, and soy sauce. Once it's cooked, it's allowed to cool and then sliced finely before serving.

What is charcoal bun made of? ›

White flour, yeast, caster sugar, salt, butter, milk, gluten, activated charcoal powder (from coconut husks).

Is bao the same as pork buns? ›

Bao Is Made With A Different Type Of Dough

Another major difference that sets pork buns apart from the wider category of steamed bao is the dough that is used to make the buns or the dumpling itself. The distinction between pork bun dough and steamed bao dough lies in the composition and texture.


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