Traditional Cha Siu Bao Recipe: Authentic Chinese Steamed BBQ Pork Buns

Serena De Mir
July 08, 2023
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Cha Siu Bao, or Chinese BBQ pork buns, are a popular staple in Dim Sum menus worldwide. Originating from the Guangdong province in southern China, these delectable buns feature a soft, slightly sweet dough filled with savory barbecue pork, making them a satisfying fusion of flavors and textures.

Dating back to the 3rd century, Cha Siu Bao has a history intertwined with the development of 'yum cha' or 'drink tea' culture, where these buns and other dim sum dishes are traditionally consumed. With our authentic Cha Siu Bao recipe, you can experience the joy of creating these delicious steamed buns in your own kitchen.

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Makes: 16 buns


For the Dough:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup non-fat dried milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

For the Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup diced Chinese BBQ pork (Cha Siu)
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water

Cooking Instructions:

Making the Dough:

  1. In a bowl, mix the warm water, yeast, and sugar together, then let it stand for 10 minutes until frothy.
  2. Combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, milk powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Add the yeast mixture and butter. Mix to form a dough.
  3. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place it in a greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let it rise in a warm place for about 2 hours or until it doubles in size.

Making the Filling:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened.
  2. Add the diced BBQ pork, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce. Stir well.
  3. Mix in the cornstarch-water mixture and cook until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and let it cool.

Assembling and Cooking the Buns:

  1. Punch down the risen dough and divide it into 16 equal portions.
  2. Flatten each portion into a disc, place a spoonful of filling in the center, then gather the edges to seal the bun.
  3. Place each bun on a small piece of parchment paper. Let the buns rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Steam the buns in a bamboo steamer over high heat for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let them sit for 5 minutes before removing the lid.