Nostalgic Tau Sar Pao – Red Bean Paste Steamed Bun (Aspiring Bakers #31)

Posted: May 25, 2013 in Asian, Aspiring Bakers, Chinese, Feel-Good, Malaysian, Nostalgia, Sarawakian, Steamed Bread/ Bun, Sweet, Vegetarian
Tags: , , , , ,

In my previous post, I mentioned about a little surprise I wanted to share with you. Hmmm…. what could that be? If the title of my post suggests that it’s tau sar, then so what?

Yeah, so what?

It’s the word “nostalgic” that came before Tau Sar Pao which made this post really personal.

Down Memory Lane…

My siblings and I ate a lot of steamed buns when we were growing up. The buns were and are easily available at street hawkers to open-air complexes to dim sum restaurants. The first steamed bun I was introduced to was tau sar pao (sweetened red bean paste steamed bun) long before char siew pao (barbecued pork buns) and bakpao (pork buns). Chicken or beef fillings came much, much later.

Meat fillings were more expensive than the humble red bean paste; hence, my young palate was molded to appreciate tau sar pao a lot!

As we grew older, Mum made a lot of steamed buns with meat and vegetable fillings. She never made tau sar pao, because it would be too laborious and would take ages from soaking the beans overnight to boiling / steaming them to blending / mashing them into a paste and to frying the bean paste, caramelizing with quite a lot of  sugar. Nope. Too much work. But – alas – I was CRAVING for my childhood steamed buns! Arghh!!

In my last post, I also mentioned that I went to an Asian grocery store, owned by a Taiwanese couple. Well, I was browsing the shelves not really focusing on anything in particular, until I chanced upon a can of “something” really striking. It was on a top shelf somewhere, sandwiched between other cans of Asian products. I was almost teary-eyed when I held the can of Sweetened Red Bean Paste! I had to double check with the store owner if the sweetened red bean paste was actually what I had in mind.


1. Tau Sar Pao_Red bean paste

If only happiness could be quantified. Mine would measure 10 on a base-10 scale that day 😀

Fulfilling one of my Childhood Dream Foods

The pao dough ingredients and method are available here.

For the filling – well – just scoop 2 tea-spoonfuls of the red bean paste and fill each disc-shaped dough piece. I made 12 dough balls from exactly the same ingredients I used here.

The seaming of the dough was done exactly the same as my chicken steamed buns, but instead of showing the pleats on top, I turned the seams over to expose the smooth surface of the dough.

I was really happy with my Tau Sar Pao’s

2a. Tau Sar Pao_filling2b. Tau Sar Pao_steamer

2c. Tau Sar Pao_cool rack2d. Tau Sar Pao_closed up cross-section

2e. Tau Sar Pao_cuppa tea2f. Tau Sar Pao_cuppa tea2

Killng Two Birds with One Stone

By the way, I made the Tau Sar Pao on the same day I made the Chicken-filled steamed buns 🙂

When I measured 400 grams of flour, I thought, “Huh? That would not make a lot of steamed buns!” Call me greedy. LOL!

To differentiate my steamed buns production on a single day, I seamed the buns differently. The smoother surface was the Tau Sar Pao, while the pleated top was the meat-filled bun 😉

3a. Tau Sar Pao_smooth surface3b. Tau Sar Pao n Chix Pao3

3c. Tau Sar Pao na Chix Pao3d. Tau Sar Pao n Chix Pao on a platter

3e. Tau Sar Pao n Chix Pao3f. Tau Sar Pao n Chix Pao2

As you can see there were plenty to last us for a few days. In order to enjoy fresh steamed buns later, I froze about 16 buns of both the red bean paste and chicken fillings. Now I can have a homemade steamed bun anytime my palate cries out for one until stock lasts 😉

Tau Sar Pao, anyone?

I am submitting this entry to Aspiring Bakers #31 – Bao Ho-Chiak (May 2013) hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders

Small Small Baker/Aspiring Baker


You know what? I am one happy BUN-NY!! 😉

Mission accomplished!

Cheers and take care!

  1. Well done, the buns look very smooth and silky! You know what, I have that exact can of red bean paste sitting in my pantry for the past few months, should have given that to you the other day had I known that you like tar sar pao !

    Did you freeze them after steaming ? My freezer is always full, so I usually have to finish them by myself within a day or two.

  2. Sophiarajah says:

    There is this uncle i know since i was a little girl, n he sells one of the best red bean buns i know. Every morning at 9 am rain or shine, on his bike, when i m back at my parents, thats my breakfast 🙂 love yr pics!! Hungry!!

  3. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks! Yes, I have always loved tau sar pao, but of course, I have my limits, hence, freezing is the answer 😀
    Yep, I froze the buns after steaming. I had to freeze the buns separately until they are set over night and then pack them in plastic containers or zip-lock bags. Re-steaming takes a bit longer, like 20 to 25 mins on high (when not thawed). My boys prefer the chicken filling, so I have to finish the tau sar pao myself. LOL!

  4. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Sophia.
    If I were to make my own red bean paste, I’d add some pandan flavour, but no time to make my own tau sar. I was so glad my first ever paos turned out great. Will make more and freeze them for many more hungry and craving days…. ha ha ha!

  5. Ita says:

    Wah… they look very good!

  6. Nasifriet says:

    They certainly do, don’t they? Wanna have one or two? Come visit us one day, Ita


  7. […] Nostalgic Tau Sar Pao – Red Bean Paste Steamed Bun (Aspiring Bakers #31) […]

  8. […] Nostalgic Tau Sar Pao – Red Bean Paste Steamed Bun (Aspiring Bakers #31) […]

  9. […] Nostalgic Tau Sar Pao – Red Bean Paste Steamed Bun (Aspiring Bakers #31) […]

  10. […] Nostalgic Tau Sar Pao – Red Bean Paste Steamed Bun (Aspiring Bakers #31) […]

Let me know your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s