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These days, I am so busy that I don’t have much time to explore blogoshere, so I rely on websites like Tastespotting to discover really good food blogs, and that’s how I discovered My Kitchen. Lydia Teh is a fellow Malaysian and her blog My Kitchen is full of great recipes and very beautiful food photography. Lydia is also a great cook and makes some of the most authentic Chinese and Malaysian dishes around. Please welcome My Kitchen to Rasa Malaysia as she shares her Char Siew Bao/Char Siu Bao recipe (Chinese roast pork or barbequed pork buns) with us. What’s more, she made her Char Siew Bao/Char Siu Bao (叉烧包) from scratch. Now, that’s what I call a no-cheat great cook!

(Check out my char siew/char siew recipe. Highly recommended!)

A while ago, I received an email from Bee–Rasa Malaysia. I have been following her blog for quite some time but never expected to be invited as a guest writer on her blog. What a big surprise and honour to me!

What dish should I bring to Rasa Malaysia? Bee suggested char siew (Chinese barbecued pork) but since I made char siew before, we settled on char siew bao/char siu bao (steamed bun with char siew filling). Char Siew Bao/Char Siu Bao is one of the signature dishes in dim sum restaurants around the world. This irresistible little steamed bun is soft and fluffy, filled with slightly sweetened char siew.

It is a must order item whenever we visited a dim sum restaurant. My other half loves it too, but he usually eats only a quarter of bun. He is a small eater, would not be able to eat other dim sums if he had a char siew bao by himself. Now, I am glad that I can share this yummy bun with my 14 month-old boy. Yes, I have made him a char siew bao lover too!

In Malaysia, char siew bao/char siu bao is also available in Kopitiam (literally means coffee shop in Chinese dialect) together with other savoury and sweet steamed buns. Compared to char siew bao served in restaurants, Kopitiam version is bigger in size and has no opening on the top. Taste wise, they are similar.

Steamed buns made with the mixture low-protein flour and wheat starch are fluffier and softer than those using only low-protein or all purpose flour. For the filling, I used ready-cooked char siew since I am living in Malaysia now and it is readily available. If you are making your own char siew, the recipe is available on my blog.



Char Siew Bao/Char Siu Bao (Chinese BBQ Pork Bun) Recipe

Makes 16 buns

Ingredients for dough:


8g instant dry yeast
160ml lukewarm water
½ tsp white vinegar or lemon juice (optional)280g low-protein flour aka hong kong flour
100g wheat starch
90g icing sugar
30g shortening or vegetable oil10g baking powder
10ml cold water


250g char siew, diced
½ tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp sugar*
1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp oyster sauce*
1 tbsp soy sauce*
1 tsp. sesame oil
1-2 drops red food colouring (optional)

150 ml water
1½ tbsp corn flour
Salt to taste

*Some store-bought char siew comes with sauce, use it for preparing filling. Omit sugar, oyster sauce and soy sauce.


1. Heat oil in pan, sauté onion for 1 to 2 minutes. Add in all other ingredients A, stir fry for 1 minutes.
2. Mix together water with corn flour, add mixture into the pan and stir well. Simmer until gravy is thickened.
3. Transfer to plate and allow to cool.
4. Divide filling into 16 portions if desired, set aside for later use.


1. Sift together flours and icing sugar. Place sifted flour mixture in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle.
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 shortening or 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. I used bread maker’s dough mode to prepare my dough up to this step.
5. Dissolve baking powder in cold water, sprinkle over dough and knead until well combined. Divide dough into 16 equal portions and flatten with a rolling pin to make a 3” circle. Then place a heap teaspoon of filling in the middle, wrap and pleat the dough to seal. Place it on a 1.5” square parchment paper, seal side up.
6. Arrange buns into a steamer, leave about 1” gab in between buns. Spray water mist over buns, and steam in a preheated steamer on high heat for 12 minutes. Remove buns from steamer and cool on rack to prevent soggy bottom.

Cook’s Notes:

1. If bigger bun is desired, divide dough into 12 equal portions in step 5.
2. There is no need to rest the dough after adding in baking powder, but if time allowed, rest it for 10 minutes or so to get fluffier buns.
3. Adding a few drops of vinegar into steaming water will produce whiter buns, but this is optional.
4. Steamer must be preheated otherwise bun would not rise to the volume as it should be.
5. Spray the surface of bun with water mist helps to produce buns with smooth surface after steamed.
6. DO NOT open the lid during the steaming process.
7. If there are yellowish spots on the steamed buns, it means the baking powder is not fully dissolved.

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