Shanghainese panfried steamed pork buns

After procrastinating for months , I finally made these buns !  I was planning  on another attempt at Doreen's pumpkin buns but I forgot to buy pumpkin the day before tsk tsk ! As I've been hankering for panfried buns since I last saw the recipe at Jeannie's , I decided to make it instead . Okay , more like to practice how to pleat Chinese buns neatly , of course , I just can make buns without it but doesn't they look pretty with pleated top ?!

Shanghainese panfried buns are a popular street food in some Chinese cities , the pork-filled dough is panfried first then the water and flour mixture is added once the bottom of the buns turns lightly brown . This water and flour mixture makes the bottom crispy and the combination of the soft , fluffy dough , the deliciously moist pork filling and the crispy bottom is just a delight to one's taste bud . I guess that's why most people love it , including me . I've seen this travel and food show last time and they featured this shop in Shanghai , where local and tourists alike are queuing for this tasty snack .  

Unlike some Chinese bun recipe that I've seen online , this one doesn't need a long proofing time . I thought the first time I've made it ( this is my second attempt , I burned the bottom of the buns the first time I made it hee hee ! ) , that Jeannie has forgotten to write the instruction , " after kneading the dough , proof it until double in size " .

Because the weather here was a bit cool , 16°C , the time I made these buns , after shaping them , I prove it for 30 minutes and another 20 minutes before cooking . If it's hotter in your side of the world , the lesser time of proofing .  

There is more than enough filling / pork mixture in this recipe , I think it will be enough for 2 recipe of the dough skin but it depends on how generous you are when put in the filling . Actually , the filling in this second batch is a leftover from last time though I only filled 14 pieces instead 16 as I ran out of it . You can freeze leftover filling and just defrost it inside the fridge .

This recipe is pretty straightforward and once you get past the long list of ingredients , it'll be a breeze lol Anyway , I'm pretty sure that most of the ingredients are already in your kitchen cabinet .

So , what are you waiting for ?! If you love Chinese food , this recipe is worth making !

Please check original recipe @ Travelling Foodies via Jeannie / Baking Diary

For the dough skin :

250 grams all-purpose flour
scant 1 teaspoon instant yeast
15 grams sugar
135 grams lukewarm water
1 teaspoon oil

some cake flour for dusting

For the filling :

460 grams ground pork
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
3/4 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese wine
3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoon grated ginger

1/2 head cabbage
5 stalks spring onions plus extra for garnish
some toasted sesame seeds

100 ml water mix with 1 1/2 teaspoon flour for cooking the buns

Vinegar sauce :

1 tablespoon ( or more ) red vinegar
1 teaspoon thinly sliced ginger
1/2 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce

* Prepare the filling : Chopped cabbage into small pieces , add a pinch of coarse salt and give it a good rub in a mixing bowl . Set aside for 15 minutes , toss it with a fork from time to time . 

* Chopped spring onions , set aside .

* Combine pork and the rest of the ingredients , from salt to ginger , in a mixing bowl . Use a chopstick and stir in one direction until mixture turns sticky or gluey or you can use a food processor , adjust seasoning according to taste . Cover bowl with a plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for later use . 

* Squeeze as much water as you can from the chopped cabbage and drain . Mix with chopped spring onions and set aside .  

* To make the dough skin : In a mixing bowl , whisk together the flour , yeast and sugar until combined , make a well in the middle and pour in the water and oil . Mix until it forms a shaggy dough then transfer in a clean work surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic , 8 to 10 minutes or do a window pane test .   

* Divide dough into 16 pieces at 25 grams each ( my final dough is 403 grams ) . Cover dough balls with tea towel and let rest for 30 minutes .

* Meanwhile , take out the pork mixture from the fridge and stir in the chopped cabbage and spring onions  .

* Lightly dust the work surface with cake flour , roll out a piece of dough into a ( roughly ) round shape , 3 to 3 1/2-inch ,  with a rolling pin , the edges should be  thinner than the center .

* Place a generous 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of the dough , hold the edges and fold into pleats , twist the top to seal . I find it easier to pleat if I put the filled dough onto the working surface instead of cradling it into my hand . Place each piece of the filled dough in a nonstick pan ( brush pan with a thin coating of cooking oil ) ideally a 28-cm , cover pan with a tea towel . Repeat with the rest of the dough and the filling .

* Let buns proof for another 20 minutes .

* Place pan into a stove top and turn heat to medium  , pan fry , covered , for 6 minutes or until the bottom turns lightly brown . Pour in the water and flour mixture , turn heat to low and continue to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes or until you can hear some cracking noise indicating that the liquid has totally evaporated  . 

* Sprinkle buns with sesame seeds and chopped spring onions ; serve immediately with vinegar sauce . You can steam the leftover , if there are any , and if you want a crispy bottom , you can pan fry it after steaming . 


  1. very nice bun. i like take this bun with ginger sauce. Hor Chiak ~

  2. Hi Anne,
    I love your shanghai buns.
    Drooling... Just by looking at them. Can save some for me :D
    May I know do you mean 16 Celsius or 160 Celsius? I think there is a slight typo error right? :p

    1. Doreen , thank you so much for pointing it out ! Sadly , no more leftover :D I'm gonna try again making your pumpkin steamed buns next week , hopefully , I can pleat better this time lol

  3. your pictures, as always, make me hungry!

  4. Hey, you made this! And yours look so much better, I am so jealous lol! Now reading through the long lists of ingredients make me shudder loL!

    1. Jeannie , if you've checked your pageviews last week , you've seen I visited your site so many times lol Re ingredients , long list indeed but at least all of them are pantry staples .

  5. These look SOOOOOO good!! I have always wanted to try to make steamed pork buns, but I thought you needed special fancy equipment.

  6. It must have been 7, or 8 years since I last made panfried pork buns. I miss them! Yours look GREAT!

  7. HI Anne!
    Oh my gosh, your buns are gorgeous! I think you did a terrific job of pleating. If I ever tried to do it, the pleats would be so crooked they would look awful! The bottom of the buns are perfectly golden brown. They must taste sooooooo goooood!

    I would LOVE to make buns like this one day and I will. I'm going to save this link. Thank you so much for sharing, Anne...

  8. Hi Anne,

    You have made your sheng jian baos very well. We are a big fan of these buns too :D



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