Healthy Kitchen Smells Fresh

July 11, 2009

Pau or Steamed Buns with Bean Filling

Filed under: Asians, Breads, Breakfasts, Chinese, Desserts, Malaysians, Savories, Side Dishes, Snacks, Vegetarian — nshahida @ 8:41 pm


It’s been while I didn’t make this ..long enough to get me drool over a Chinese bun – what’s so called steamed bun or we Malaysians call Pau. I really enjoy this very moist but still chewy gummy ( in a good way) bun with balance of sweet salty creamy or sometimes savory filling.. really.. the filling is of your choice. I prefer bean filling that is not overly sweet, personally! also can be store bought or homemade. I adore the homemade one.

Making these Chinese steamed bun isn’t tricky at all  if you do a lot bread baking or not.. I agree, the recipe might be a little different.. it really depends on how you want it. I mean, the type of flour calls for the recipes is varied. For instance, if you are like me, be it slightlychewy , fluffy and soft at the same time, regular all purpose flour is all you need. For more on fluffier cakey like, you might want to grab some sort of low gluten flour – cake or superfine flour. It’s all up to your preferences.


For pleating, again, is up to your own creativity. I love making it the way Chinese make their steamed bun or the like. There is art of making it. Just like karipap , takes some times to master the skill that you will finally proud of yourself. Or, another choice, make it snappy simple! Wrap the filling up, roll it then in one second you are ready for steaming.. can’t get any easier. It still ends you with a good result anyway .Especially when it just comes out from the steamer – adorable fresh looking and warm soft fluffy bun with the filling on each bite. Can’t get over it !


For the recipe, I adapted from few collection of Chinese/Asian cook books and some online recipes. Came up with the combination of all and that’s what I’ve been using so far ; with the result I after for.

Bean Paste

Bean Filling Paste. ( Makes 2 Cups)


  • 2 cups Dried green beans

(Soaked in water overnight, 8-12 hours. Cook till tender , drain to separate all the excess liquid and set aside)

  • 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon white sugar
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil


1- On medium heat, In a medium sauce pan, add in the cooked drained green beans. Stir in light brown sugar, white sugar and salt. Let them cooked together and the sugar caramelized. Adjust the salt as needed.

2- Drizzle in canola oil, toss them to well incorporated. Turn off the heat.

3- Now it’s up to you, you may want to mash this bean mixture with potato masher. Mash until you get smooth mushy paste. Or another easier option, my personal favorite, put the mixture in the food processor, process till smooth consistency paste – not too crumbly or runny. DO NOT add any liquid to the mixture, if needed, pour in 1 tablespoon canola oil if the mixture is very crumbly and too pasty.

Ready to use or STORE in a clean dry container in the refrigerator up to 1 ½ week or freeze it for up to 3-4 month.

Steamed Bun ( Pau) (Makes 12-14 buns)


  • 4 ¼ cups all purpose flour, 2-3 Tablespoons extra as needed
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Instant Dry yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (or white sugar)
  • 250 mL ice cold water , 2 teaspoons extra as needed
The Simple Easy Method For Wrapping The filling

The Simple Easy Method For Wrapping The filling


1- In a large mixing bowl, mix well all purpose flour and baking powder. Then add in dry yeast.

2- Stir in honey or sugar, canola oil and pour in ½ cup of water. Mix everything together. Then add another ½ cup of water, mix until smooth and soft dough is formed, about 4 minutes.

3- Cover the bowl and let it sit for 15 minutes.

4- On lightly floured surface, knead the rested dough till soft and elastic dough is formed, about 8 minutes. ( if by chance, your dough is still sticky, add 1 teaspoon of flour , knead and add bit by bit of flour, keep kneading until the dough becomes smooth soft and elastic. Add 1 teaspoon of water if otherwise.)

I repeat Steps 3 and 4 one more time , just to assure all ingredients are well combined and the dough are really silky smooth.

5- Divided the dough into 12-14, roll into balls.

6- Spray a large baking pan or any large container to fit the balls. Sprinkle with a little bit of flour. Place the balls on the flour pan. Space each ball about 2 inches apart so that they won’t stick to each other as they rise. Cover with large plastic bags or wrap with plastic wrapper. Let them rest in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours. (or the balls can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days, if not using after that, wrap them individually with plastic wrapper , place in a Ziploc/freezer bag and keep in the freezer for up to one month).

7- Take the balls out of refrigerator, 30-45 minutes in advance before working on it again. Let them sit at room temperature just so they rise almost double in volume.

If you choose the simple way, here is the method:

1- Roll up flat one ball at a time, spoon the filling (of your choice) , about 1 teaspoon in the middle of the dough. Wrap up the filling by stretching out the edges of the dough. Cover it tightly so that it’s wont ooze out while steaming. Repeat with the remaining.

2- Cover them with damp kitchen towel, or large plastic bag. Let them rest again, the last one for about 15-20 minutes, they rise again at this point. DO NOT let them rise too much, your steamed bun will fall while steaming and the skin wrinkle.. that’s not pretty, though won’t effect the taste.

3- While waiting them rise, heat the steamer on medium-high heat , makesure the steamer is hot, I mean really2 hot. Line the steamer pan with parchment paper or banana leave so the buns won’t stick to the pan.

4- Arrange the buns on the steamer pan, 3-4 dough balls at a time, depending on the size of your steamer. Make sure to space each ball, 2 inches apart just so they don’t stick to each other. Steam for about 20 minutes. Remove from the steamer and enjoy.


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