September 17, 2010

Steamed BBQ Pork Buns

This has got to be one of my top three favourite dim sum treats. Sweet, caramelised chinese bbq pork encased in a soft, fluffy white wheat bun. Well, that’s what I would get if I ordered it in a restaurant. My homemade version tasted really good but they didn’t quite get the ‘fluffy’ memo. The bun was more like a momofuku pork bun. More chewy than fluffy…

I’m not sure what went wrong, maybe I should try a different recipe…maybe I kneaded the dough wrong. Whatever it was, the process was still a lot of fun. Proofing the dough, kneading, pleating the buns etc. provided a very therapeutic afternoon for me. Plus the end results were still tasty. Ugly, but tasty.

Little dough balls waiting to be formed...

The yummy pork filling...

All formed and ready for the sauna!

I followed this recipe for the dough but I had my own recipe for the BBQ pork. The BBQ pork filling was not bad at all, with the right amount of sauce and meat ratio to produce a succulent filling for the bun.


2 medium strips of pork loin (about 800g)
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp five spice powder
a pinch of white pepper
1 tsp of sesame oil
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp light soy sauce

Place both pork loins and marinate with the rest of the ingredients in a freezer bag for at least 2 hours in the fridge. I left mine overnight.

Line and lightly grease a baking tray. Place both the marinated loins on the try and bake/grill in the oven at 200 deg c for about 50 minutes or until pork is nicely cooked and caramelised. Remove from oven and let it cool before chopping the pork into small pieces.


1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp light soy
1 tsbp sugar
1 cup water
2 tsp margarine
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp cornstarch

In a small saucepan, mix all the ingredients except the cornstarch and margarine together. Bring the mixture to a low boil, add the margarine. Dissolve cornstarch in a little water before adding to mixture. Stir continuously until the mixture thickens. Set aside to cool before adding in chopped bbq pork.

The above filling recipe was just right for 15 – 17 buns.


Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. I just stumbled upon your site at foodgawker, because I love these steamed buns and I want to make them work in my own kitchen. Thank you for the recipe!!! I can’t wait to go to my Asian store to pick up some hoisin.

    I have a request, and I apologize if you’ve already posted about it. Could you find a great recipe for the sweet red bean paste sometimes put in these same buns? I’ve been wanting to make my own but even my Chinese friends can’t seem to help me. Many thanks.

  2. Yum, I’ve been wanting to make these for ages, thanks for sharing.

    Like you I have my own recipe for the pork, it has become well known too. Take a look at the recipe here

    Thanks again.

  3. Hey, stumbled across this post through foodgawker. I love steamed bbq pork buns (char siu bao) and recently made my own. I scoured several recipes and eventually came up with a combination of a few that seemed right. It’s funny because this recipe is very similar to my combination recipe. Funny how that happens. :P

    I used pork butt… next time I will use pork tenderloin to maybe lighten it up a bit. It’s so very delicious and really not all that complicated (mostly takes patience and nimble fingers for forming). The chinese five spice powder makes these flavor wise. Yum yum yum! Can’t stop thinking about them now. :)

    • Hi Abbs, did your recipe produce fluffy buns or more chewy buns? Mine were more like the texture of the momofoku braised pork buns, a little more chewy…still yum…but I was hoping to get the fluffier dim sum restaurant version. I guess I have to keep trying!

  4. My recipe is very similar to this. The one time my buns were chewy (didnt rise), I had the temperature of the water too hot when i mixed it with the yeast. It killed the yeast and hardly rose at all. After noting this I haven’t had any problems. :)


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About droolfactor

It's all about my gastronomical journeys, and sometimes an inedible thought or two. One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. ~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story This is my personal journey where I devote my attention to eating, cooking, experimenting and taking chances. Anything I come across with a droolfactor worth sharing, it's here. I hope you'll enjoy this journey with me.


Asian Yums, Pork, Recipes