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Whole wheat steamed bun
Whole wheat steamed bun with chocolate filling

Most of the Food courts will have Bao buns, Popiah, Rojak and Carrot cake. Dim sum is a Hong Kong/ Shanghai-inspired type of food. This is not exactly one dish, but a set of small dishes to be savoured in a group – a typical Chinese dining sharing custom.

Steam bun or Bao bun shares the same cooking approach ie, steam cooking. Theses Bao buns normally use plain flour. They come in many different varieties. Some are vegetarian and some contain meat.

Red beans, Lotus paste, yam paste, salted egg yolk custard, chicken, pork are the most used fillings.

I am using kaya paste and chocolate sauce as fillings. Whole wheat flour is used to make the recipe healthier. I am using vanilla essence to lower the yeast flavour in the bun.


  • Whole wheat flour-500gm
  • Instant dry yeast-11 gm
  • Salt-1/2 tsp
  • Baking powder-1 tsp
  • Fine raw sugar or powdered raw sugar-30 gm
  • Milk-250 ml
  • Vanilla essence-1tsp
  • Oil-30 ml
  • Store-bought pandan kaya paste


  • In a mixing bowl, add wheat flour, salt, yeast, baking powder, sugar, milk, vanilla essence and oil.
  • Mix them well and make into a soft dough. The dough will be initially sticky.
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let it rise in a warm place until doubled about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Take out the dough and knead one more time. Make the dough into a log shape. Cut the dough into equal size.
  • Take one dough and make it into a ball shape. Do the same with remaining doughs.
  • It is time to fill the stuffing. Flatten the dough using hands and fill it with kaya paste. The recipe for Chocolate Sauce is below the Notes. Cover the stuffing with the dough and make sure there are no openings left.
  • Arrange the doughs on pieces of baking paper or wax paper and keep them separately. Do the same with remaining doughs.
  • Keep them aside to rise for 30- 40 minutes.
  • Arrange them in a steamer. Now cover the lid with a cloth and tie it on the handle to hold the lid conveniently. Now the dripping water can be absorbed by the cloth the lid is covered with.
  • Steam the buns for 8-10 minutes.
  • Serve hot with your favourite hot drink.


  • I am using kaya jam for the stuffing. Any meat stuffing, vegetable masala, potato masala and any fruit jam can be used as a stuffing.
  • Here, I am using Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat flour. All-purpose flour, Artisan flour, bread flour can be used too.
  • Butter can be used instead of oil.
  • If you are using active dry yeast, follow the manufacturer’s instruction for activating the yeast.
  • Cooking chocolate can be used as a filling.

I tried one variation with the dough. I used cake flour to replace the whole wheat flour in the same recipe. I made a savoury filling using vegetables.

Chocolate Sauce Filling

  • Cocoa powder-1 tbsp
  • Butter-1 tsp
  • Condensed milk-3 tbsp
  • Sugar-2 tsp


  • Boil water in a wide pan. In a smaller pan, add cocoa powder, butter, condensed milk and sugar.
  • Keep this small pan in boiling water and keep stirring until it blends together. Keep this aside to cool to room temperature.

I tried one variation with the dough. I used cake flour to replace the whole wheat flour in the same recipe. I filled the bun with a savoury filling I made using vegetables.

Steamed bun made with cake flour-savoury filling
Steamed bun made with cake flour-savoury filling

Potato filling

  • Boiled potatoes-2(big sized)
  • Chopped Onion -1(medium-sized)
  • Ginger-garlic paste-1 tsp
  • Chicken curry powder-1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
  • Coriander powder-1/2 tsp
  • Chilli powder-1/4 tsp
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Salt
  • Oil


  • Remove the skin of the potatoes. Chop them into small pieces.
  • In a hot pan, add oil. Now, add onion and fry till the colour of onion turns in to golden brown. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute for a while.
  • Add the powders and saute till you get a nice aroma.
  • Add the potatoes, salt and cilantro leaves. Add 3 tbsp of water and mix well. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 3 minutes till the masala blends together.

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