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Steamed buns (Bapao / Salapao)

A fluffy steamed stuffed bun, Ban pao,, Baozi, Bánh bao, Salapao, Pau/Pao, Bao, Hirata bun, Manapua, Nikuman, Cha siu bao, Siopao, Bau, Bunuelo, Pow, Bāozi (包子), Sio bak pao and many other names.

Known under different names in different regions of the world, fluffy stuffed steamed buns is are versatile snack. The filling can be savory or sweet, as long as the filling has a creamy consistency and isn’t too runny it will work.

Steamed buns (Bapao / Salapao)

Prep Time 30 mins Cook Time 30 mins Total Time 1 hr Difficulty: Intermediate Cooking Temp: 100  °C Servings: 4



For the filling



  1. Stir the yeast and sugar into the room temperature water.

  2. Add the flour and salt, and kneed it all into a sticky dough.

  3. Cover the bowl and set it aside in a warm spot to proof the dough for about 1 hour or until at least doubled in size

The filling

  1. Finely chop the onion and caramelize in a bit of butter on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.

  2. Finley chop the garlic and add it to the caramelized onions together with the ground meat

  3. When the pork is fully cooked, add a little water or coconut milk, the soy sauce, oyster sauce, ginger and pepper and spring onion and stir-fry for a few more minutes.

  4. Add a little corn starch or flour to thicken it, if the meat was too lean to start with, add some more butter or oil.

    It should be a creamy or sticky substance, not too dry, but also not so wet that it would leak through the dough

Making the buns

  1. Cut the dough in 4 pieces (or more if you chose a different amount of servings) and roll each piece into a ball shape.

  2. Dust your work area with a little flour and roll out one of the dough balls into a circle of about 15 - 20 cm. I like to keep the middle a bit thicker (over 0.5cm thick), and roll or stretch the sides a bit further as they will be folded together.

  3. Form a little bowl with the rolled out dough in the palm of your hand and scoop 2 generous spoons or filling into the center, keeping the edges of the dough clean.

  4. Fold and pinch 2 sides of the dough circle together

  5. Fold and pinch the other two sides to the center as well

  6. Pinch the seams together to close it off

  7. Now fold and pinch the 4 corners together and pinch off the seams again

  8. Lightly roll into a ball shape and put the ball into the steamer with the folded side down

    You can put a little square of parchment paper under each bun to prevent them from sticking, or you can spread a little oil into the steamer basket for the same result. Just make sure that there is plenty of holes for the steam to reach the buns.
  9. Steam in a per-heated steamer for 12 minutes. Leave enough room around each bun for them to puff up to nearly twice its size.  My tiny steamer can only make one big bun at a time.