Previously, I have made and posted the Steamed Pumpkin Bun / Man Tou (南瓜馒头) in Kiddo Hut and well received by readers. Today, I am posting another recipe for the Steamed Big Meat Bun / Pau 黑胡椒肉包. In this recipe, I used two additional ingredients compared to my earlier recipe, which are the Wheat Starch Flour 澄麵粉 also known as 虾饺粉, and baking powder. 

The reason for adding these two ingredients is to make the bun more fluffy and softer. The difficulty to make big Pau (a.k.a. bun) is on the skin. The skin has to be thin and soft so that you won’t be just eating flour,  yet it must be sturdy enough to keep the meat juice within and not leaking out.

I am adapting the recipe from Rasa Malaysia website (Lydia Teh) but made some changes to the recipe as I am not making Char Siew Bao which requires the top of the bun to “open” during steaming. I didn’t use 10g of baking powder as I didn’t want my bun to “explode” during steaming and I didn’t dissolve the baking powder separately and sprinkle over dough, instead I added the baking powder directly to knead which is pretty much similar to some food bloggers’ method.

Below are some key notes for making a fail-proof big bun:

1. Divide and Weigh each dough before first proofing. Each piece of my dough weighs approximately 80g which gives me 160g bun with fillings. Skin is thin and filled with fillings.

2. Frankly, I did not know how to pleat the top of the bun. So, I sealed the bun in my own style and sit the sealed part at the bottom. To seal the bun, you can wet your fingers a bit and use the wet fingers to close the gaps. If the dough turns out sticky and too wet, just scatter some flour on it and smoothen the skin.

3. Lydia Teh suggested spraying some water mist on the surface of the bun to produce smooth surface. I forgot this step and my buns look equally smooth skin. So, there is no need to spray the water mist. But, if you like a “shiny” look, you may spray some water on the surface of the bun. Do spray equally and just a bit, else it will wrinkle the bun instead.

4. If you have a Bamboo steamer, use it. Otherwise, do cover the steamer cover with a cloth. This is to prevent water vapour from dripping onto the bun while steaming and removing the cover from the steamer after steaming.

steamed cake

5. Do not open the cover during steaming. Also do ensure the steamer has adequate water before steaming. It is not advisable to add water during steaming which will bring down the steamer temperature suddenly causing the bun to collapse.

Have you tried making the leaf bun 河叶包 a.k.a. Kong Bak Pau (Braised Pork Belly Bun) too? This is also a fairly easy recipe, click here for the palatable Kong Bak Pau recipe.


  • Measuring cup / scale
  • Frying pan and steamer
  • Mixer machine / bread maker machine (optional)



  • 280g Hong Kong Flour (low-protein flour)
  • 100g Wheat Starch Flour
  • 8g instant dry yeast
  • 150ml lukewarm water
  • 80g icing sugar (original recipe calls for 90g)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of coconut oil (original recipe calls for 30g shortening or vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (original recipe calls for 10g)


  • 220g pork, cut to very small pieces, or chicken, chunks
  • 4 water chestnuts, minced
  • 4 shitake mushrooms, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 gloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 stalk Chinese parsley, chopped
  • 2 eggs, cut into 8 pieces

Fillings' marinate:

  • 2 tablespoons abalone and scallop sauce, or oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger juice
  • 1 teaspoon dark soya sauce
  • 2 teaspoon corn starch flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Many dashes of black pepper

Serving size: 7 big buns (80g of dough each)

steamed big meat pau bun
steamed big meat pau bun


Preparation of fillings

1. Put all marinate ingredients except corn starch flour in a bowl and mix well.

2. Mix pork and water chestnut. Add the marination sauce and corn starch flour, and mix well. Set aside.

steamed big meat pau bun

3. Boil the eggs into hard-boiled and cut. Set aside.

Preparation of Bun Skins

1. Put the yeast in a bowl and add 50ml of lukewarm water.

2. Sift the Hong Kong flour, wheat starch flour and icing sugar together, into a large mixing bowl.

3. Add in the yeast mixture into the sifted dry ingredients. (yeast mixture should have some bubbles and the mixture should be milky. If there is no reaction, the yeast may be “dead”)

4. Add oil and slowly add the lukewarm water and knead for 15-20 minutes. If you have a mixer, you can let the machine does the kneading after hand knead for 5 minutes. The kneading should be ended with hand knead to ensure a soft dough is formed. The dough is ready when it does not stick to hands and smooth on the surface. (Note: you may not need to use all the water or may need more water, depends on the humidity of your location)

steamed big meat pau bun

5. Divide the dough into small dough by weighing to ensure consistency in size.

steamed big meat pau bun

6. Cover the doughs in cling wrap or damp cloth, and let it proof for an hour or double in size.

Cooking of fillings

1. Heat up the frying pan with some oil. Stir fry onion until slight transparent. Add garlic and stir fry till fragrant.

2. Add mushroom and stir fry till fragrant.

3. Add the marinated meat and stir fry for 1 – 2 minutes or half-cooked.

4. Add chinese parsley, mix well and off heat. Set aside to cool.

steamed big meat pau bun
steamed big meat pau bun
steamed big meat pau bun
steamed big meat pau bun

steamed big meat pau bun

Wrapping of Buns

1. While waiting for the doughs to complete its first proofing, cut some parchment papers for placing the buns for steaming later.

2. Once the doughs have completed the proofing, flatten the dough using hands or rolling pin to make it round.

3. Place the fillings in the middle and wrap it up either by pleating or like me, doing your own way as long as it is sealed up properly.

4. Put some flour on the parchment paper, and place the dough on it. I placed the seal side down. If you are able to pleat it nicely, you may place the seal side up.

5. Place the buns in the bamboo steamer or the steaming tray for second proofing. Proof for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the water in the steamer for steaming.

steamed big meat pau bun

6. Steam the buns under high heat for 15 minutes. After steaming, remove the buns from the steamer to prevent soggy bottom. Serve.

if you intend to keep the buns for next day consumption, let the steamed buns cool completely before keeping in air-tight container and into the refrigerator. For consumption, steam for 5 minutes.

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