Steamed Pork Buns

So, here we are again, time for the Olive magazine challenge! I started the year wanting to improve my cooking skills so I was really pleased when I spotted the new ‘Challenge’ series in Olive.

The first was Bagels and I managed it without too much trouble, even feeling quite impressed with the finished result (you can see my post here). So, yesterday I embarked on round two, filled with a little apprehension but more than ready for the challenge! Steamed Pork Buns.

This was a two day process – with the pork marinading for up to 24 hours – so I got the ball rolling yesterday knowing we would have the finished results for tea tonight. I halved the amounts to make 6 buns for two people.

Ingredients, makes 12

  • Golden caster sugar, 3 tbsp
  • Dried active yeast, 1 1/2 tsp
  • Plain flour, 350g
  • Rapeseed oil, 4 tbsp
  • Baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp

Pork Belly Filling

  • 1kg skin and excess fat trimmed off
  • Garlic, 2 cloves, crushed
  • Chinese five spice, 1/2 tsp
  • Honey, 3 tbsp
  • Hoisin sauce, 5 tbsp
  • Soy sauce, 4 tbsp
  • Shaoxing rice wine, 4 tbsp
  • Groundnut oil, 2 tbsp (I substituted this with sesame oil)


  • Cucumber, shredded & tossed with a splash of rice wine vinegar to serve
  • Spring onions, shredded to serve
  • Srirachia chilli sauce – I used Wiga Wagaa chilli sauce instead (a personal favourite!)


  • Mix the sugar and yeast with 250ml warm water and leave to stand until mixture starts to foam a little. Put the flour in a large bowl with a large pinch of salt and add 2 tbsp oil and the yeast mixture. Mix to a rough dough with a wooden spoon and then tip onto a floured surface and knead until you have a soft smooth dough. Knead in more flour if you need to. Tip into an oiled bowl, turning the dough until it is coated in oil. Cover and leave to rise until doubled in size. Punch the air out of the risen dough.
  • Tip it onto a floured surface, flatten it out with your hands and sprinkle with the baking powder. Fold the dough over and knead until the baking powder is incorporated and the dough soft. Cover and leave to rise for 30 mins.
  • To make the pork filling put the meat in a dish in one layer. Mix the marinade ingredients and pour over the meat. Leave for 2 – 3 hours or overnight.
  • Heat the oven to 200C/180fan/ gas 6, sit a rack on top of a roasting tin with a splash of water in it. Lift the pieces of pork from the marinade and put them on the rack. Roast the pork for 1 hour, turning and basting 2 -3  times with the leftover marinade.
  • To finish the buns, cut out squares of baking paper, divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll out the dough pieces into ovals 12X6 cm (use a little more flour if the dough is sticky).
  • Put on a piece of baking paper, brush one side with oil and fold gently in half using the paper (you want to be able to open them once they are cooked).
  • Put a large steamer over a medium heat and steam the buns a few at a time for 6-8 minutes or until puffed and cooked through (open carefully and check the middle is cooked through). Don’t let them touch or they will stick.
  • Cut the pork into pieces and stuff into the buns with some cucumber, spring onion and a squirt of chilli sauce. Best made and eaten straight away.

PHEW! Did you get all that? This is a time consuming and very challenging recipe for what is essentially an Asian street snack – I’m sure it doesn’t take the street vendors as long as it did me! I’ve never tried steaming dough before and we were both pleasantly surprised by the taste. The pork too was absolutely gorgeous – if you have the time, I definitely recommend marinating overnight.



The finished thing!


All in all, this was a great challenge – the finished results were really tasty. Thanks Olive – I’ve got one thing to say – bring on round three!!

Leave a comment

  1. 10th February 2013 / 10:40 am

    They were so good, will definitely make them again!

  2. Anonymous
    11th June 2013 / 10:38 am


    I was just wondering if you tried freezeing the buns, want to nake up a larger batch and curious to know if they freeze well.

  3. 17th June 2013 / 7:10 pm

    Hi! I tweeted Olive magazine last week to try and find out if you can freeze these but I've not heard anything! I'm not sure tbh, as they are quite moist so they probably won't freeze particularly well. Perhaps you could try making the dough and freeze at that stage? Sorry I can't be more help!

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