Known as gua bao in it’s home country these delectable Chinese steamed buns are often filled with braised pork belly and accouterments like thinly sliced vegetable, pickled mustard greens and chopped peanuts.

These soft and springy buns were popularized in america just a few years ago by asian american restaurants in New York like Momofuko and Bao Haus. Super easy to make and even easier to eat these can be filled with almost and combo of meat and veggies you can dream up. Paired with hoisin or black bean garlic and chili sauce you can’t go wrong. You can also use the dough to make filled steamed buns. The Yellow Eye beans have a sweet chestnuty flavor that makes a great sweet bean filling. Just sweeten the cooked yellow eyes with a little sugar or honey and mash for a sweet filling or use the traditional sweetened red bean paste as is common in china.

I steam these in a bamboo steamer but any steaming setup will work fine. Put cabbage or spinach leaves under your buns to make cleanup easy and so nothing gets stuck to the bottom of your steamer.

Like any soft buns these use a small amount of fat and sugar(seame oil and honey in this case)to make the buns soft. The steaming also contributes to the softness of these buns as no crust at all is formed. Fresh out of the steamer these can’t be beat!

Ingredients

  1. 1lb 6 oz sifted redeemer flour
  2. 2 teaspoons salt
  3. 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  4. 1 tablespoon honey
  5. 1 tablespoon sesame oil(not roasted) or neutral vegetable oil
  6. 2 cups water

Directions

  1. Mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl
  2. Warm water to 90 degrees and stir in honey and oil
  3. Mix dry and wet into dough until well combined
  4. Keep in a warm place and allow to double in volume(about an hour)
  5. Use a 1/4 cup scoop to portion into rounds
  6. Flatten and roll into an oval 3 inches wide by 6 inches long, brush the inside with oil and fold in half the long way
  7. Place buns into steamer on leaf bed and allow to rise until doubled(30-60 minutes)
  8. Steam for ten minutes and then turn off steamer and allow to cool gently in steamer b asket for another 5 minutes before removing.