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Saturday 29 September 2012

Vegetable Steamed Buns ("Choy Pau" 菜包)

This is my 2nd attempt making the pau dough.  The first time I made is Char Siew Pau and confidently thought after steaming everything will turn out as to be white pau.  

I thought pau only mah.....what so difficult, knead, add filling, send it to steam, that's it.  But OMG, after I lift up the steamer cover, the paus are all full of yellow spots!  But I have already make sure I dissolved well the baking powder....sigh, it is still not well done.

So I make it again,  but this time is Vegetable Buns.  Before I lift up the steamer cover, I just cross my finger,  at least this time is much better though there are still little yellow spots around.  Hmm.... maybe my third time be more better?  Well, we learned better each time after we tried and tried, isn't it?

Vegetable Steamed Buns  ("Choy Pau" 菜包)
Recipe adapted from My Kitchen &   Minty's Kitchen

Dough Ingredients
150g Hong Kong Flour
50g wheat starch
30g icing sugar
4g instant dry yeast
80ml lukewarm water
¼ tsp white vinegar or lemon juice
15g vegetable oil or shortening
5g baking powder
5ml cold water

1. Sift the flours and icing sugar together in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the

2. Fill well with lukewarm water, vinegar and yeast. Use a spatula, gently stir the water to
    dissolve the yeast then slowly bring together flour mixture.

3. Add in the oil and knead for 10-15 minutes until soft dough is formed. It should be
    smooth on the surface.

4. Cover dough with damp cloth and let it rise for 30 minutes or until it is doubled in size.

5. Dissolve baking powder in cold water – (make sure it is really well dissolved to
prevent yellow spots on the finished buns), sprinkle over dough and knead until
well combined.
Divide dough into 7 or 8 (I made 7) equal portions and flatten with a rolling pin into
circle. Then place a heaped teaspoon of filling in the middle, wrap and pleat the dough
to seal. Place it on a ~6cm square piece of baking paper.

6. Preheat the steamer over a pot of rapidly boiling water. Spray water mist over buns,
     and place into the steamer basket and place the lid on for 12 minutes. Remove buns
     from steamer and cool on rack to prevent soggy bottom.

Filling Ingredients
250g jicama (yam bean), juliened
25g dried shrimps, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

Seasonings (to your taste)
Salt, white pepper, 5 spice powder (abt ¼ tsp), sugar
Some water
Some oil
Heat oil and saute the garlic and dried shrimps until aromatic.
Add in jicama, seasonings and some water and fry until soft.
Set aside to cool. 

Well, making pau at home is always more economical and healthier, isn't it.  So it doesn't 
matter it doesn't look perfect.


  1. 包子很久都没做了。现在到来回味,回味一下。

    1. Hi Joceline,
      Thank you for your comments here! Good to have homemade pau once in a while!

  2. you are a very adventurous and dedicated cook/baker, mel! your pretty rainbow cake and veggie pau feels like super hard work to me.. but you make them so easily! ^^ since i've never made paus before, i never knew they could turn spotty if baking powder's not dissolved properly.. a good tip if i ever attempt them, thanks ^^

    1. Hi Hui, flatter me and I am all blushing here! Well sometimes when I looked at others doing wonderful job on their bakes and cooking, it just prompt me to try it out myself too. The baking powder really need to dissolve well so that after steaming you won't see yellow spots all around.

  3. Why was it yellow? Yeast? I haven't tried making bao b4, thanks for giving me some "warnings" so I won't over-look the recipe, hahaha!

    1. Hello Jessie,
      In the beginning I thought using the Hongkong flour would make the pau whiter in colour but actually if we didn't dissolve well the baking powder, they will make the pau all yellow spotty. You can add the b.powder into the pau in together to knead first for safer measures (just like what I am doing for this recipe). But still have little spots. Some make paus without using the baking powder.

  4. You pleated your paus really well, Mel. Bet your family enjoyed eating your veggie pau.

    1. Hi Veronica
      In the beginning my pleating looks really ugly. But as I go along for the 2nd, 3rd, getting better and better... :-) I enjoyed eating this vegetable pau so much. I'm going to make it again and again! Thanks Veronica.

  5. Mel, good attempt! Can we use the same dough for other fillings like char siew or chicken? Should be the same?

    1. Hello Chef and Sommelier,
      Gd day to you! Yes we can use this dough for other fillings like char siew pau, lotus paste, red bean paste, kaya, and even the mince meat fiilings too. Im thinking of making the mince meat with hard boiled egg filling next time.

  6. 菜包 is my favorite breakfast whenever we go to Taiwan (to visit my in-laws). Nami's Na is 菜 in Chinese character. No wonder I like veggies so much. Just kidding! Anyway this is my favorite and so happy to see your delicious homemade 菜包!!

    1. 菜包 is my all time favourite! Most of the time it is always 'sold out' at the shops/stalls so I have no choice to make it myself in the end!! But I still need to perfect my dough here. Hope you can make this at home one day too. Oh, you have a beautiful name eventhough Na is 菜! I loves to eat veggies too! Good!

  7. Hi Mel, I love vegetables pau, anytime sapu 2 pieces no problem. Yours look good, soft and fluffy. The yellow skin could be due to flour. But never mind as long as it taste good.

    Have a nice week ahead, regards.

  8. I like Chai Pau more than other paus..usually i like to add a small piece of hard-boiled egg, very yummy lor, next time you can try it out..ya, we learnt from the mistakes and we will become better and better, keep it up the good works!

  9. I love paus...and I can assure you that my pau will never be or looked as good as yours...
    Mine will be crinkly old lady *sigh*...I can never make the gebu-gebu one :(...