How About Pan Fried Your Meat Buns? Pan Fried Buns, Shengjianbao (生煎包,生煎馒头)



Shenjianbao (生煎包) or pan fried bun is not new to me. I have my fair share of these lovely buns when I was stationed in Shanghai for two years.

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Even after I returned from Shanghai and when I went on business trip to Shanghai,  I always went to small lane near the hotel to enjoy these pan fried buns.


Every store will be unique in its own unique concoction of filling ingredients. It usually come in a plate of 4 or 5 depending on the outlets, just nice for one person. It was served with red vinegar (红醋) or black vinegar (浙江黑醋)with lots of ginger strips.  It is supposed to have a rather crispy bottom and a white coloured bun skin with juicy meaty fillings. Some have it pan fried at sides and some did not.

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Per Wikipedia:

“Shengjian mantou (also known as the shengjianbao outside the Jiangnan region) is a type of small, pan-fried baozi (steamed buns) which is a specialty of Shanghai. It is usually filled with pork and gelatine that melts into soup/liquid when cooked. Shengjian mantou has been one of the most common breakfast items in Shanghai since the early 1900s. As a ubiquitous breakfast item, it has a significant place in Shanghainese culture.

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The name of the bun comes from its method of cooking. The buns are lined up in an oiled, shallow, flat pan. Typical commercial pans are more than a metre in diameter. The buns are lined up in the pan with the “knot”, where the dough is folded together, facing downwards and thus in direct contact with the oiled pan and fried into a crispy bottom during the cooking process. Water is sprayed on the buns during cooking to ensure the top (which is not in contact with the pan or the oil) is properly cooked. After frying, the bottom of the bun becomes crunchy, and the gelatine melts into soup. This combination gives the shengjian its unique flavour.  The traditional shengjian has pork fillings. Common variations include chicken, pork mixed with prawns, and pork mixed with crab meat.” (Source:


Preparation of this is actually easier than preparing the steamed buns. Some recipe do not even called for proofing but I have decided to proof it for half an hour to get a fluffier buns.  The essential ingredient of this bun is the ginger flavoured minced meat. Some recipe called for frozen pork stock (gelatine) to be added but this is not included in this recipe. If you wished, you can boil the pork ribs under medium heat until the water turn creamy. Cool the stock and freeze it in the freezer. Once set, cut the frozen pork stock into small cubes and add to the meaty fillings.



Servings: Prepare about 15-20 medium size 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)


  • 500 grams of minced pork (preferably pork belly)
  • 3 cm long of ginger (minced and juice extracted)
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • Few stalks of spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking wine (not in picture)
  • 1 tablespoon of corn flour
  • 1 tablespoon of light soya sauce
  • Salt and sugar to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons of oil
  • 200 grams of water
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds

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  • 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.


  • Meanwhile, add in all the ingredients to the minced meat, use a chopstick to stir well and let it marinate for 15 minutes or until your dough is ready. Shape the minced meat into meat balls of your size depending the size of the dough. For me, I use the ratio of 1:1, meaning 30 grams of dough wrapped against 30 grams of meat ball. But feel free to change to the size that your comfortable with.


  • Once the dough is ready, divide it into the equal number of dough as the meat balls. My dough weigh about 50 grams each. Flatten one ball and put a meatball. Seal the end of the dough.


  • In a flat frying pan, heat some cooking oil under medium heat. Put in the meat buns and pan fry until the bottom turn golden brown. Once it turn golden brown, add some water and close the lid. The amount of the water to be added will be about 1/3 of the height of the buns. After 2 minutes, open the lid, sprinkle some sesame seeds (if desired) and let it cooked until the water dries up. Once dries up, the buns is considered as cooked. Best served hot with Chinese black or red vinegar with chopped ginger.



I shouldn’t have pan fried the side of the buns as these make my buns looks rather dirty. In addition, pardon me for the poor shaping skills. However, I am sure you can shape better than I do..

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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 21 March 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .  



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