Asian · Chinese · Feel-Good · Savoury · Snack · Steamed Bread/ Bun

Bakpao in Mini Cupcake Cases

I have been craving for bakpao (steamed buns with meat and vegetable filling) for as long as I can remember.

You cannot imagine how difficult it is for me to get a decent steamed bun anytime my palate cries out for one!  The filling of the frozen ones are either too greasy or too meager.  I could go to a dim sum restaurant, but there’s not one near my place that I could go to anytime.  I would not want to burn a hole in my pocket just to get some steamed buns kilometers away.  Arghh!

Well, if we are craving for something, then we have to make it ourselves, right?  Even the Bible says so, “if you don’t work, you don’t eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10)  😀

Shortcut to Jubilation

I have been on the look out for easy-and-ready-to-eat-in-a-jiffy bakpao, but zilch!  They all looked easy to make, nevertheless,  it’s the TIME factor.  The waiting process of proofing the dough took way too long.  Uh-uh!  Not for me, unfortunately. 

I was at a Thai Mini Store – one fine day – and found the Salapoa Mix. Strangely, I have never noticed this pao mix before until then.  I asked the Thai lady at the cash counter if the dough needed proofing before steaming the buns.  Well, that was a very crucial question, for me, at least.

“Not necessary”, she said.  Boy, I felt elated!  I immediately took a packet home for a try-out.

1. Bakpao_Salapao Mix


I like a KISS instruction anytime.  Keep It Short and Simple!

Just add water and cooking oil to the flour.  That’s it!

2. Bakpao_easy instruction

The kneading process was quite therapeutic, however, I was not 100% sure how much or how far I should knead the dough. My guess was that when the dough became a bit sticky, I dusted some flour and continued kneading until the dough became more elastic and smoother in texture.

While the instruction says to make 12 buns, I stretched a bit further and divided the dough log and made 16 balls for 16 mini buns! Greedy me. LOL

The Filling

I would love a char siu pao (barbecued pork steamed buns), but because I wanted a quickie, I made a minced meat filling.

Ingredients (the measurements are really up to you)

Minced pork (or any minced meat of your choice, or omit the meat and make a vegetarian version)
Grated ginger
Grated garlic
Sesame Oil
Spring Onion
Chopped carrots
Chopped Shiitake Mushrooms (pre-soaked in hot water for 30 mins)
Oyster sauce
Shaohsing Rice Wine
White pepper
Salt or chicken granules to taste

Mix to combine the ingredients. I added some corn flour to thicken and bind the meat mixture.

Making it Right First Time!

The best part was seaming each dough ball to make the bun, pinching as I went along and ending with a little pointed peak like Tintin’s signature hairdo. 😀

From the 16 dough balls, I flattened each ball into a disc-like shape and filled the dough with the meat mixture, like so –

3. Bakpao_filling

I do not have a proper steamer while my electrical steamer compartments were too small; hence, I improvised by using my biggest soup pot.  I bought 3 steamer inserts from IKEA which fitted perfectly into the soup pot.  Each steamer insert could fill 6 of my mini pork buns.  No parchment paper? No worries.  I used cupcake cases! Pretty, aren’t they?

4a. Bakpao_6 in-a-steamer4b. Bakpao_improvised steamer

I steamed the buns for 20 minutes and guess what?  They were ready to eat! I could not believe what I had just achieved, but I did IT!!!

Those little gems were so addictive. They were gone within hours!

5a. Bakpao_closed up steamed buns5b. Bakpao_ready to eat

5c. Bakpao_mini buns5d. Bakpao_sambal

Okay, I made it right the first time, the way I wanted, by cutting a chunk of the waiting time, however, the only drawback was the ready mix dough was a bit too sweet for my liking. I guess it’s time I invested on time and patience to make bakpao the way it should be.

By the way, I just bought a bag of bapao wheat flour – the real McCoy *wink*

Have a great weekend!


25 thoughts on “Bakpao in Mini Cupcake Cases

  1. Yum! I haven’t eaten steamed buns in a long time. I just bought a packet of those steamed buns mix too (lol, great minds think alike) but I haven’t made them yet. I find that even the buns at the dim sum restaurants here are sub-standard…the buns are so small to start with and there is hardly any filling in it. I think making it yourself is definitely the way to go…and yours look great too! 😀

  2. Wow… what delectable, sumptuous and yummy-licious pao you had! 🙂 How’s you and yours? How are things at work? Hope everything is going your way. Btw, if you like, I’ve tried this recipe of Seremban siew pao and they are great. Hopefully you could get char siew pork there. Here goes the website of the recipe…

    Also, I’ve just set up a website for my art and music, feel free to drop by! 🙂

    Take care and stay awesome!


  3. I couldn’t agree more, Chris. Best to make these steamed buns yourself, however, I must warn you that one packet of the Salapao mix makes very small buns 🙂
    But I can tell you that they were one great snacks. As you can see I was very generous with the filling. let me know how yours go. Maybe you can make char siu pao and post it on your blog 😉

  4. Helloooo my dear!!!!
    I was wondering where you have been all these while. So good to read you again. Are you done with your PhD? Remember what it stands for? LOL!
    Thanks for the website. I don’t think I can find any decent char siu in the vicinity where I live. I’ve made my own char siu and it was a success with my guys, hence, will probably make some char siu pao next round 😉

    We’re doing fine here in BE, however for me, my workload can be a little bit too much. I’m trying to balance work-life, and hopefully will maintain this equilibrium:-D

    Good to know that you have started a blog of your own. I will hop over for sure. Is your bro still painting? I’ve subscribed to his blog but haven’t been getting anything for quite a while. Guess he’s been busy. Tell him to change his blog name from “A Painting a Week” to “A Painting when I get there”. Ha ha ha No, just joking

    I hope you’re doing well and enjoying Vancouver to the fullest.
    Take care

  5. Ita, the Seremban baked char siew looks gorgeous. I remember these baked buns and I loved them to bits. If anyone’s from Kuching and remember these baked char siew buns at the Summerhouse near the Museum garden will know what I meant. The ladies (sisters) who ran the summerhouse were from West Malaysia, if I’m not mistaken. Used to hang out there after school; Great iced kacang, rojak and ju hu eng chai. Those were the days 😉

  6. Vancouver has been kind. Haha… I’m not doing PhD here, just cari makan like everyone else. I guess that means I’m spared from getting ‘permanent head damage’. 🙂

    I haven’t been to my brother’s blog for a while. I just saw a few more paintings but it doesn’t seem like he paints every week, eh? Haha… he does stretch his ‘week’ on his blog, doesn’t he?

    Thanks for stopping by my website. I’m hoping you could view it too. It seems to do ok here when I click on the link above. What if you cut and paste the webpage address on a new browser window? Hopefully that will work. It might take a while to download everything. It’s got a few pages of art gallery and song, and there is instrumental music on every page too. I recorded those instrumental pieces using Garageband and keyboard (my newfound love at the moment). 🙂

    You made char siu too? That’s awesome! You should consider opening a Malaysian restaurant there. 🙂

    I remember the summerhouse! I used to go there when I studied in St. Joseph.

    Glad you and family are doing fine. Hopefully your boss will hire more people to ease the workload. As it is, don’t forget to have a good rest and pamper yourself once in a while. 🙂

    xx Ita

  7. Ah… great to hear you’re doing well there! Important question. Have your mum and dad visited you yet or have you visited my bro?

    Yup, I made char siu from scratch! Surprise! Surprise! Had those with homemade kolo mee (nothing like the accidental kolo mee I posted in my blog). I will post this when I get there…..slowly but surely 🙂

    Will check your website on another PC. You mentioned Art gallery. Are you painting/ sketching? You siblings are so gifted/ talented lah! Boy, it has been years since I saw you last. What’s the chance of your visiting us?

    Stay cool


  8. I remember! 😀 My friends and I used to hang out at the Summerhouse after school…now I’m reminiscing. 😀

  9. Yum! The siew pao really looks delicious! Nice to meet you, Ita. I’ve just bookmarked your recipe. 😀

  10. Hi Chris,
    Ita’s my cousin 🙂
    I’ve not met her in years. She has lived in NZ for a few years before moving to Vancouver. A very talented girl in all aspects 😉
    Her bro has his own blog. That’s right, he paints!! You can check it out here

  11. Hi Chris, nice to meet you too. Are you in Belgium too? Hope you’ll like the siew pao. 🙂

    Thanks for your complement, Dora. 🙂 I’ll try do my best here. I put up my oil and acrylic paintings on the art gallery. I took it up about a year and half ago when I was between jobs. If you like figure painting, I would really recommend Sharon Spung’s dvd. I learned some tips from her as well as books I borrowed from the library. Excerpt of it can be found on youtube:

    I haven’t seen my parents and Julian yet. I plan to go back Malaysia maybe this year or next. I haven’t been back for almost 7 years now. Time flies!

  12. Hi Ita

    I did finally check out your website. Cool!
    Gosh your paintings!! They’re great! Love the blend of colours you’re using. So you’re into Oil and Francis is into Water, right? I’ve linked both your blogs to mine, so I can hop over anytime 🙂

    BTW, just curious, was that a life model in “Oriental Beauty”? Ha ha ha..

    Great job, Ita!

  13. BTW, Chris lives in the States.
    And 7 years is indeed a long time. We’ve not been back since 2008! Well, who knows we’ll get to meet in KCH next yr??

  14. Thanks for visiting my website. 🙂 Glad you like the paintings. Haha… wish I could afford a life model. 😉 It’ll be great to see you again! When about are you going back next year?

  15. Hi Nasifriet,
    I am holding an Aspiring Bakers steamed buns event on my blog in the month of May, so dun forget to try out more steamed buns and submit in May. More details will be released on my blog come 1st May. 🙂
    For your info, as part of my research for the steamed buns event, I have tried out 2 types of smiling bao dough, which are fantastic, I will email you the details. I am not using the thai or vietnamese packaged bao flour, but cake flour and double action baking powder, and sometimes wheat starch. 🙂

  16. Mmmmm…. sounds interesting;-)
    Will check out the May event you’re hosting, for sure. The pkt of wheat flour may come in handy 😀

    I’m intrigued with the bao dough you’re referring to. Can’t wait for the details. My boys have been hinting that I make more of them….SOON! LOL!

    Now, I’m wondering what your definition of “steamed buns” will be…

  17. Hi Nasifriet,

    Saw Miss B and your comments on bao making. I look forward to check out more if you are making more delicious baos in May. I can’t really participate much of May’s event because I will be again for holidays for 2-3 weeks…

    Btw, regarding your inquiry at my blog: Australian cup measurements is about the same as the US/UK ones. 1 cup is 250ml, 1 tbsp is 20ml but can sometime 15ml, 1 tsp is 5ml. Cheers!

    And more happy Bao steaming!!!


  18. Hi Zoe

    Lucky you, going on yet another hols! Enjoy the break and rest 😉

    Yikes! May’s round the corner… gotta experiment with the bapao flour I just bought 😀

    Thanks for the feedback on the cup measurements. I really thought there was a difference. Here, in Europe (at least in BE), cups are not often used as a mode of measurement. Everything is metric. My metric weighing scale broke and I resorted to finding recipes using cups 🙂


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