Steamed filled bun/ pau

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For the past two days me and hubby had been snacking on pau.. there’s only 2 of us in the house.  I made Pau using 500 gm of flour, and we ended up having 12 large buns.   There are still a few kept in the freezer and I think its very handy to have, for breakfast or tea.   Pau can be eaten with sweet or savoury filling.  The one I made above is with beef and egg.  Maybe next time I’ll buy some red bean paste and make another large batch.  I’m so excited ! Anyway, this is the recipe that I used :

Yeast dough

Ingredients A :
500 gm pau flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon of powdered yeast
80 gm castor sugar
1 cup of water, or slightly more
3 tablespoon shortening
Ingredient B : 1 tablespoon Double-action baking powder

Mix all ingredients A and using a dough hook, knead on medium speed for about 10 minutes.   Add just enough water so you get a soft dough.  The dough will turn out smooth and won’t stick at all to the sides of your mixer bowl or to your fingers.  Let the dough rest for about 1 to 2 hours, till it is double in size.  Sprinkle B on the dough and knead again till all is evenly distributed.   Let the dough rest for another 15 minutes before shaping.  This is the basic dough for making pau, and you can use this with any filling you like.


300 gm of beef, cut into small pieces
1 big onion, diced
1 teaspoon of fennel powder (jintan manis)
1 teaspoon of crushed black pepper
2 tablespoon of oyster sauce
2 tablespoon of sweet soy sauce
3 boiled eggs (cut into small pcs)
Salt, water

Heat oil.  Stir fry the onions and add the beef.  Fry till the beef is soft (or you could boil the beef first to make sure the meat is soft)..   Next add the rest of the ingredients.  Season to taste.  Add some water if it is too dry.

How to assemble the pau

Cut rounds of baking paper, diameter about 3.5 inch.  Divide the pau into 12 pieces.. this will come out to about 77 gm each.  If you want a smaller bun, weight each one at 60 gm.  Shape into balls, flatten and spoon in the filling.   I like to hide the seams of the pau underneath but its really up to you.  Place the filled pau onto the round paper.  Let it proof for 15 minutes.  Arrange on the steamer leaving some space for expansion, about 1 inch.  After the water has started to boil furiously,  place the buns and steam for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

I am so pleased with the outcome.. the buns are really soft and fluffy.   The colour is not as white as the commercial ones, but that’s not really important to me (less chemical is better).   Some tips on making pau :

  • use Pau or Hong Kong flour, or any low protein flour.  Not all purpose flour.
  • use shortening instead of butter to get the white appearance.
  • make sure the water is boiling with lots of steam before placing the pau in.
  • do not steam too long, 8 minutes for small pau and for big ones, not more than 15 minutes.
  • place them far apart so it doesn’t stick to one another while steaming ( learn this from my own mistake).
  • no opening of lids to check on the pau while steaming.
  • be careful when removing the pau so the water doesn’t drip onto it.
  • do not overproof the pau or you’ll end up with buns having lots of holes..
  • some say to avoid wrinkles on the pau skin, let a little steam escape before totally removing the lid (don’t know if this is true or not).

Definitely will make the Pau again.. hope you’ll try it too.