Another Simpler Healthier Breakfast Item–Chinese Style Vegetarian Steamed Buns (素菜包)



As  I am now on a vegetarian diet, therefore, I have decided to prepare this steamed buns again and have another session of photo taking. There are no major changes except I have shredded my jicama to smaller pieces and used Hong Kong Pao Flour. Happy with result after preparing so many steamed buns in between this period of half year.



I have prepared Sarawak version of dry spring rolls a few days ago and I have some julienned jicama left in the fridge. Suddenly, I thought of preparing a type of vegetarian bun that my mother in law loves to eat. It is a Chinese style of jicama fillings. A rather common type of non-meaty buns among all the steamed buns sold in the steamed buns shop.


Since I am very satisfied with the dough of my red bean paste steamed buns, I have resorted to the use of the same dough of that steamed buns. I just change the shape of buns prepared. As this is the vegetarian version (by religion), no garlics or dry shrimps were used for the buns. Seasonings are also rather simple. Feel free to change to suit your family’s taste buds.


The buns is not perfect as yet. Due to my big hands and big fingers, the buns I prepared are big and looked rather ugly.. However, “shaping” into beautiful buns do really need practises. I believed in my next attempt, with the experiences accumulated from this attempt, my buns will be better shaped.


Cravings suddenly starts and I do not have the commonly used Hong Kong Pao flour (a type of low protein bleached flour specially used for making buns), therefore I just used normal top flour, the results is that the buns become a bit yellowish (which to me is okay for home consumption). 


My first batch of buns is not as smooth as what I wanted it to be.because I am short proofing of the dough by about  10 minutes… Patience is the key, let it proof until smooth enough, spray will a thin mist of water will be able to make your buns skin looks much better.



Servings : Make 15 steamed buns


Dry Ingredients (A)

  • 550 grams of pao flour (包粉) or Hong Kong flour or low protein flour (for this demonstration, I have used top flour as I have not adequate pao flour)
  • 100 grams of corn starch (玉米粉)
  • 100 grams of castor sugar (白糖)
  • Pinches of salt (not in picture) (盐巴)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder (自发面粉)
  • 10 grams of instant dry yeast (即时酵母)

Wet Ingredients (B)

  • 350 grams of lukewarm water (温水)
  • 30 grams of vegetable shortening (植物白油)(pictures show melted vegetable shortening, it is not necessary)


Fillings and others

  • 750 grams of julienned jicama or yam bean or bangkuang (沙葛丝)
  • 200 grams of julienned red carrots (红萝卜丝)
  • Few winter mushrooms, soaked and julienned (not in picture) (冬菇)
  • 3 stalks of fresh coriander freshly chopped (芫茜)
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil (not in picture) (麻油)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of vegetarian oyster sauce (素耗油)
  • 3 tablespoons of light soya sauce (not in picture) (酱清)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar (not in picture) (白糖)
  • 3 teaspoons of white pepper (not in picture) (胡椒粉)
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (not in picture) (食用油)
  • Pinches of salt (not in picture) (少许盐巴)

  • 12 pieces of waterproof parchment paper cut into square size of about 6cm x 6 cm (not in picture).




  • Cut some waterproof parchment paper into 6cm x 6cm for placing the steamed buns. I prefer to use the knife to cut rather than to use the scissors.

Preparing the Dough

PicMonkey Collage11

  • Put all dry ingredients (A) in a whisking bowl. Use a spoon to stir the dry ingredients and make a well in the centre. Add in the lukewarm water.  Use the same spoon to roughly stir it until it form a sticky dough. Use the machine dough hook to knead the dough for 10 minutes at medium speed. Add in the vegetable shortening, beat at high speed for another 15-20 minutes or until the dough leaves the side of the whisking bowl. If the dough is too wet for the kneading, add 1-2 tablespoon of flour to continue. You can also do this manually if you don’t prefer to use the machine kneading.

  • In a flat surface, dust with some flour, transfer the dough to the flat surface and knead for 3-5 minutes until the dough does not stick to your hand. Shape it into a ball, put it in a bowl. Cover with a wet towel or clingy wrap and let it prove for 30 minutes (or double in size whenever is earlier.


Preparing the Fillings

If you have time, you can prepare the fillings first. Stir fry and let it cooled before proceed to the the wrapping process. This step have a lot of variations and depending on your own cooking method of savoury dishes. This is my way for your references. There is no right or wrong. Feel free to proceed using your way of stir frying jicama .



  • Marinate your julienned jicama with some vegetarian oyster sauce, light soya sauces, sesame oil and salt for 5-10 minutes.

  • Heat up 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, add in julienned carrots (note that this is vegetarian version, therefore, you can’t sauté garlics or dry shrimps. However, feel free to add this if you are not preparing it in a vegetarian manner). Stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add in the marinated julienned yam bean/jicama and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.



  • Add about 1/3 cups of water and bring to boil. Once boiled, let it simmer until soft. Just before offing the heat, add in additional seasonings such as salt, white pepper, sugar. You have to be slightly high handled in adding the seasonings because it will be eaten with the steamed buns skin which is rather plain.

  • Get ready some container, put a bowl or any other kitchen ware at the bottom of the container. Transfer your cooked fillings to the container. Let it cool and set aside. The main purpose of put a bowl at the bottom is to let the gravy drip down to the bottom of the container and to facilitate the wrapping of the buns with drier fillings.


Wrapping the Buns


  • After the first proofing, take out the dough, knead in a lightly floured surface for 1-2 minutes. Divide the dough into 15 equal portions. Mine is approximately 75 grams each. Shape the dough into round shape. If prefer, you can roughly use a rolling pin to flatten the dough but that is not necessary, you can just use you palm to flatten the dough ball. Put a dough on your hand (or on top of the table) and on the top of the dough, put 1-2 tablespoons of jicama fillings. Pull up the sides of dough and seal off the edges it with your fingers. Well, sealing needs a bit f practise and don’t be disheartened if you can’t seal it properly for your first buns. By the time you wrapped the third bun, you will be the expert.

PicMonkey Collage1

  • Put the buns on top of the square baking paper on top of the steamer rack. Leave space of about 1.5cm between the dough for expansion. Proof the dough for another 30 minutes or almost double in size. By the end of the second proofing, you will note that the dough skin become smoother as compared to before proofing. If you want, you can spray a thin mist of water to the proofed buns before steaming.

  • After second proofing, get ready a steamer with some water. Bring to boil. The water should not be too much until it had a chance of touching the base of the steamed buns when steaming. It should not be too little as you may need to add water during the steaming. Therefore, some own judgement is needed. If prefer, you can lightly greased the cover with some oil to prevent water condensation. But that is optional..

  • When the water boils, steamed the buns under high heat (throughout the entire process) for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, off the heat and let the buns sit in the steamer (without opening the lids) for at least 5-10 minutes before you formally transfer the buns out of the steamer. Put the buns in a rack for cooling. (Note that the bottom of the steamer plate may have water condensation and therefore it is important that you transfer the buns in an airy place for cooling.) The process of letting the buns sitting in the steamer is to prevent wrinkles and rough surface  appearing in the buns.

  • Best served warm as breakfast or snack items. Re-steaming the buns for 1-2 minutes will make the buns soft as if they are freshly prepared.




I loved the buns. In fact, Since I prepared yesterday, I have eaten 5 buns already.. I love the bun “skins”. I found that it is very fulfilling after drowned in my throats…This is the vegetarian version that you can use this for praying ceremony, however, feel free to change you fillings if you are vegetarian by religion.


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.




  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 28 July 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  


17 thoughts on “Another Simpler Healthier Breakfast Item–Chinese Style Vegetarian Steamed Buns (素菜包)

  1. I love steamed buns but have never made them myself. They look fairly easy to prepare. The bun making would take a bit of practice though. I’m stopping by from the Weekend Blog Block Party. Happy to have found your page.

  2. Pingback: RECIPE INDEX ( Updated on 10 February 2014) | GUAI SHU SHU

    • You may over steamed or over proved or we MUST not remove the cover once the time is up, off the fire and let it sit inside the steamer for 5 mins. Only then remove the cover !! I had that mistake too but saw some cooking programs and learn that !! Hope your pau has a smooth skin next time.
      Kenneth, I like you pau, why so WHITE !! Some said add in 1 tesp cuka but yours have no cuka. Mine often came out yellowish in colour. By the way what is Top flour, is it bread flour ? Thanks. I will add in some tapioca flour water at the end of cooking the veggie so that it will not be dry and all drop off when we eat it. Sorry to comment your recipe.

      • TQ for the tips. I hv missed the step in Kenneth’s recipe, i removed the cover the moment the time was up..

  3. Hi Kenneth when I use Hongkong flour, why does my pao skin turns yellowish and hard when it is cold…whereas when I use the Vietnamese pao flour to make the Da Pao it is white and soft…

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  5. Hi Kenneth, Now I know why your pau is so pure white as mine often yellowish !! You used vegetable shortening , that’s why as oil is yellowish in color. Wow, I’m sure I also can eat 3 of these yummy pure white paus !! Thanks for sharing.
    By the way, Florence, you mean if you use Vietnamese Pao flour , the pau will be pure white ? As there is a shop near my house in Penang, selling all sorts of Vietnam food stuffs products. I love the Instant Beef Pho. If anyone visit Vietnam try to buy it as it is really good. But not the Chicken Pho.

  6. Pingback: Special Compilation Of 40 Chinese Steamed Cakes And Kuihs (40种华人蒸糕特备汇编) | GUAI SHU SHU

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