Soft steamed buns

Soft steamed buns

Eating cha sui bao – steamed white Chinese buns filled with roast pork – was part of my childhood. The fluffy light dough which encased the savoury, sticky and slighty sweet roast pork was one of my and brothers favourites growing up. The dumpling dough makes the perfect vehicle for using up leftovers. Serve with some steamed tenderstem broccoli on the side – they make a delicious meal.

Rachel Khoo

Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook: London

BBC Lifestyle


Bun dough:

• 160g plain flour (plus a little extra for dusting the work surface)
• 1 tbsp milk powder
• 1½ tbsp sugar
• 1 tbsp oil
• 1 scant tsp fast-action yeast
• 1 tsp baking powder
• salt, pinch of
• 90ml warm water


• 140g leftover roast meat, finely chopped
• 1 spring onion
• ½ carrot
• 1 tbsp tomato paste
• 1 tbsp soya sauce
• ½ tsp white or black pepper


• 2 tbsp vegetable oil
• 500ml good quality meat stock (the same flavour as the leftover meat you use)
• 500g tenderstem broccoli
• 1 tbsp sesame seed oil, butter or extra virgin olive oil

Preparation method

  1. Measure out all the dry ingredients and make a well in the centre. Add the wet ingredients.
  2. Use a spoon to bring the ingredients together before turning out and kneading into a smooth dough.
  3. Place in a bowl greased with vegetable oil and cover. Leave to rise for 45 minutes, or until nearly doubled in size.
  4. Make the filling by cubing the leftover roast meat, cubing the carrots into tiny cubes and thinly slicing the spring onions.
  5. Mix in the tomato paste, soy sauce and other seasoning.
  6. Dust the work surface and your hands with flour. Divide the dough into two.
  7. Take the first part and roll into a fat sausage.
  8. Cut it into four equal parts. Roll each part into a ball.
  9. Using the palm of your hand, flatten one ball into a circle and take a heaped tablespoon in the middle.
  10. Stretch the dough over and squeeze the top together so that it’s sealed. Dip the bottom of the dumpling in flour (to stop it sticking) before placing on a tray.
  11. Repeat with all of them.
  12. Leave to rise for 30 minutes, seam-side down.
  13. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan.
  14. Fry the dumplings seam-side down. If you have only a small frying pan, then you will need to do it in two batches and therefore need an additional two tablespoons of vegetable oil and 500ml/16.9fl oz stock.
  15. When the dumplings have developed a golden crust on the bottom (a couple of minutes), add the stock and cover.
  16. Cook for 30 minutes, or until you hear a sizzling noise – once it begins to sizzle, it means the stock has evaporated.
  17. Ten minutes before the buns are done, steam the broccoli.
  18. Cook for another minute to crisp up the base before serving immediately with a squeeze of spicy chilli sauce and steamed tenderstem broccoli (tossed in a little sesame seed oil, butter or extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with a little salt).