Steamed Barbeque Pork Buns (Char siu bao)

I’ve got a list of things I have to try and cook. Steamed Pork Buns had gotten to the top.


Currently a suicidally tedious diet, excruciating work shenanigans and flood issues which are now more irritating than worrying has made blogging about food reasonably* challenging.

But yesterday I got sick of all of it so hit Tesco and came back with this lot


This is my idea of going shopping. 90% of this is for one creation; the Steamed Buns. (Note: Deodorant and Babybels are not part of the recipe)

(*nigh-on impossible)

Thanks to the gourmet traveller for the recipe.

For the buns

  • 30g caster sugar
  • Packet dried yeast
  • 220g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • ¼ tsp white vinegar

For the pork

  • 1 pork neck fillet
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 4 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp five-spice
  • 2 tbsp honey in 1 tbsp hot water

For the sauce

  • 200ml chicken stock or water
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 4 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 2 tbsp chopped spring onion
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tbsp cornflour

First get the meat ready (the ‘Char Sui’). Cut the fillet into three pieces and then combine in a tub with all the other ingredients except the honey.


Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least a few hours (the longer the better). Heat the oven to 220C.

Place the pork pieces on a rack over a roasting tray and cook for about 25 mins, basting and turning occasionally with the marinade.


Once it’s a bit charred, remove from the oven and brush with the honey. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile start on the dough. Stir the sugar into 125ml of tepid water, add the yeast, and stir to dissolve; leave to activate (it should go foamy after 5 minutes. If it doesn’t start again, because the yeast may be ‘dead’). Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, make a well in the centre, and add the yeast, oil, vinegar and ½ tsp salt. Stir with a spoon to bring it all together.


Knead the dough on a floured board for about ten minutes until the dough becomes elastic and stops sticking to the board.


Put in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm part of the kitchen for one to two hours until it has at least doubled in size.

Now make the char sui sauce. Put the stock, sugar, oyster sauce and soy sauce in a jug and leave. Heat some oil in a pan and add the ginger, spring onion, shallot and garlic, cook for a few mins and then add the liquid.


Simmer for 10 mins and then add the cornflour.


Chop the pork finely, add to the sauce and then leave to cool.


You’re ready to make the buns!


Punch the air out of the dough. Cut it in half and then roll each half into two cylinders.


Cut each into three or four pieces. Roll out each piece to a round about 4 inches wide.


Put some filling on each and then cup in your hand. Bring the edges together at the top and pinch to seal.


Place each bun onto some baking paper in a steamer and leave to rise again for about ¾ hour (about three per steamer).


Cook over boiling water for about 15 mins.


You’re done!


I also baked a couple. The steamed ones are the best!


18 thoughts on “Steamed Barbeque Pork Buns (Char siu bao)

  1. Pingback: Vegetarian Steamed Buns | Happiness Stan Lives Here

    • First time I tried it – definitely will do it again although i cheated a bit and put some more filling in after I cut them open – the bottom of the buns was really thin too not sure how to get them more even

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