Sunday, March 28, 2010

菜肉包 (Chinese Steamed Buns with Bok Choi and Pork Filling)

Not really a baking item but it's kind of a bread to me.  So I'm adding this with my other bread post in this category.  This picture shows the look before I put them in the steamer.  Since my kids love Hua Juan (花卷), I've been trying to look for a recipe for a long time.  I recently found this one online.

When I was reading it, I thought, wouldn't it be nice if I could make that into a meal for Adrian to take to school for lunch.  So I decided to use the same dough recipe for 菜肉包.  Since I don't trust myself in marinating the pork.  I asked our nanny (she used to look after my kids before they went to school, now she comes once a week to help me cook and clean) to do it for me.  She told me that if I want the veggies to stay crunchy after being steamed, I had to marinate the veggies with salt first, then stir fry them before mixing with the pork for filling later.  Now that's something I couldn't learn from internet.  But there is one idea she suggested turned out to be a not so good one, which is adding garlic.  I think she added too much, so the filling tasted a bit too garlicky, or even somehow tasted like raw garlic.  I could tell the pork was cooked but...  strange taste.

The buns by themselves are fine.  My nanny actually asked me for the recipe because she liked it so much.  Here are some pictures of the making process:

I made 菜肉包 with most of the dough.

I also made Hua Juan 花卷.  I saw a picture online showing people to cut a few lines on a flattened dough, then twist it to make a Juan 卷.

After filling the buns, I let them proofed for the second time.  They look a lot bigger and the patterns I put on the seams are almost gone.

I don't have bamboo steamer at home but I do have a double layer steaming pot.  I wasn't sure if the buns would keep expanding, so I laid them out loosely apart.  See the Hua Juan 花卷 on the right hand side?

Here they are, steamed buns with and without filling.  My nanny said the ball shape one without filling cannot be called Man Tou 饅頭 because the texture should be different.  All I can call it is a 無料包, bun with no filling.

When I tore the one with filling apart, meat was juicy, bun looks ok too.  Yet like I mentioned before, the filling tasted overly garlicky, I couldn't taste the bun properly.

My son gave it a one thumb sideways, which means only ok for him.  So I tore the 無料包 bun with no filling to see.

Looks like the real thing at restaurant.  Not bad.  Taste was good too.  My kids were all anxiously waiting for the Huan Juan 花卷.  I gave it to them, of course with their favourite condensed milk for dipping.  Result is:

I find the recipe not enough to make 24 regular size buns.  I followed it diligently but got really small buns.  I'll increase the bun size next time.


I went to check the comments on original recipe, most people use the dough to make fewer buns.  I should have read them before making it.  I also heated the meat filled buns for lunch today at work.  The garlicky taste was not as strong.  Haha, maybe the garlic was not cooked through yesterday!  Yet the pork was cooked...  Well, I ate them already!


  1. These look so tasty that I'm disappointed that the insides tasted weird ;p However, the bread part is the best part anyways. When I was younger, I would only really eat that part because the meaty insides wasn't as appealing. I never ate it with condensed milk before, though, ahah. I really want some now :D I shall make a trip home soon and go to my Chinatown.

    Great blog, btw.

  2. Thanks for the compliment. I'm happy that someone likes my blog. I can't do fancy ones like those food blogs out there but all I want to do is to share my happy experiences with others. Hope people will have a grin on their face when they read my posts. About the buns, I wet them a little bit and put them in the microwave for 1 minute the next day. They tasted much better. It's definitely the garlic. My nanny is usually a good cook, she just loves garlic a lot more than I do. :-)