Soft Steamed Buns

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 35 min (includes rising time)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 8 buns
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Bun Dough:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for dusting the work surface

1 tablespoon milk powder

1 1/2 tablespoons super-fine sugar

1 scant teaspoon rapid-rise yeast

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch salt

6 tablespoons warm water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil


1 cup leftover roast meat, such as roast pork, trimmed of fat and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 scallion, halved and finely chopped

1/2 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon ground white or black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups good-quality beef stock (or chicken stock if using chicken meat)

Sweet chili sauce, for serving


  1. For the bun dough: In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add the water. Use a spoon to bring the ingredients together. Turn the dough out on a work surface and knead for a minute or so until you have a smooth dough.
  2. Grease a bowl with the oil. Place the dough in the bowl and cover. Leave to rise for 45 minutes or until nearly doubled in size.
  3. For the filling: Mix the roast meat, scallion, carrot, tomato paste, soy sauce and pepper in a small bowl.
  4. Dust the work surface and your hands with flour. Divide the dough in 2. Take the first part and roll into a fat sausage. Cut it into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Flatten one ball to a circle the size of the palm of a small hand, about 4 inches in diameter. Place a heaped tablespoon of the filling in the middle. Stretch the dough over the filling and squeeze the top together so that it¿s sealed. Dip the bottom of the bun in flour (to keep if from sticking) before placing it on a tray. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Leave to rise for 30 minutes, seam side down.
  5. To cook the buns, heat the oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet with a lid. Place the buns seam side down in the skillet. When the buns have developed a golden crust on the bottom (it will take a couple of minutes), add the stock. Bring to a boil, adjust the heat so the stock simmers, and cover the skillet with the lid, leaving it slightly vented to allow for evaporation.
  6. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until you hear a sizzling noise. Once it begins to sizzle it means the stock has evaporated. Cook for another minute to crisp up the dough before serving the buns immediately with a drizzle of sweet chili sauce.

Cook’s Note

For a vegetarian version of these buns you can replace the meat with finely chopped button mushrooms and use vegetable stock for cooking the buns.

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