Steamed pork buns with salted duck egg yolk

Makes 6 palm sized jumbo buns or 12 medium sized buns

Prep Time : 3 hours 

Cook Time : 15-20 minutes



  1. Bao / Bun Dough

¾ teaspoon instant yeast

25 ml water warm (about 38-40C)

250g Hong Kong Flour (Bao flour)*

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

25g sugar

1 big pinch of salt

120ml fresh milk or water at room temperature

1 tablespoon vegetable cooking oil

*Hong Kong flour is a highly bleached flour so using this for the bun will make it whiter, softer and lighter with a lower gluten level. Hong Kong flour can usually be found in Chinese grocery stores and supermarkets. You can substitute Hong Kong flour with all purpose flour with the bun being less white in color.


Method for dough

  1. Stir instant yeast and warm water till dissolved and let it sit at room temperature till it becomes bubbly. About 5-10 minutes.

  2. In a mixer, bread machine or manually, mix all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar and salt) together.

  3. Add the milk (makes it richer and whiter) or water gradually as the mixer is turned on low speed to incorporate the liquid. 

  4. When all of the milk is added and the mixture is coming into a dough, start adding the the oil gradually. Continue knead on low speed for about 10 to 15 minutes until a smooth non-sticky soft dough is achieved. If it is too sticky, add one tablespoon of extra HK flour at at a time. If it is too dry, add one tablespoon of liquid at a time. 

  5. Cover the dough with a wet tea towel or clingwrap and leave to rest at room temperature for about an hour or until the dough has doubled.

  6. Knead the dough for another 5 minutes.

  7. Cut the dough into 6 (jumbo) or 12 (medium) equal pieces. Roll each dough piece into balls. Cover the dough with a wet tea towel or cling wrap as you work with each dough for the meat filling individually.


Meat Filling:

350g minced pork 

70g finely shredded white cabbage, chives or carrots

2 stalks spring onions finely chopped

1 inch finely grated ginger

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon vegetable cooking oil

½ teaspoon roasted sesame oil

1 .5 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine

½ teaspoon 5 spice powder

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

30g of lightly beaten egg

6 raw salted duck egg yolk (or 12 halved if making medium sized)


While the dough is resting, prepare the meat stuffing:

  1. If using cabbage, add ½ tablespoon of salt and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Drain off excess liquid.

  2. Mix drained cabbage with the rest of the ingredients and the seasoning (except the salted duck egg yolk) in a bowl. Mix lightly with a pair of chopsticks. Do not overmix or the meatball will be tough. Allow the meat to rest and season for half an hour.

  3. Portion the meat stuffing into equal portions (6 or 12). 

  4. Roll the meat into a ball with palm and make an indent in the middle of the meatball. Insert a salted duck egg yolk in the middle of the meatball and roll the meatball gently to enclose it.

  5. Cover the meatballs and refrigerate if not using straightaway. 


Wrapping  and cooking the buns:

  1. Dust the work surface with some flour.

  2. Use a light dusting of flour on the dough balls to prevent sticking. Flatten a dough ball with your palm. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into circle. The dough should be thinner on the edges with a thicker middle to be able to hold the meat and contain its juices.

  3. Insert the meat ball into the dough wrapper and bring it together and press and seal tightly. You can keep it simple or use a fancier counterclockwise pleating of the dough according to your preference. The proportion of the meat to the dough is key. The skin of the bun should not be too thick.

  4. Place wrapped bun onto a square parchment paper and place in a bamboo steamer. When all the buns are wrapped, cover the bamboo steamer and allow buns to rest for another 30 minutes.

  5. Ensure the steamer is on full steam before placing the bamboo steamer in. Steam the buns over high heat for 15 minutes for medium sized buns and 20 minutes for jumbo sized buns. Insert a meat thermometer in the buns to be sure the meat is cooked. It should read 71 C or 160F.

  6. Let it rest for 5 minutes in steamer with heat off before taking the buns out.

Salted duck egg yolk.

Jumbo sized buns the size of your palm.

© 2020 by Regina Lee