Steamed Pork Buns (Char Sui Bao) – 5sp

I’ve had these lovely Chinese steamed buns so many times when I’ve eaten out and I’ve often wondered if I could make them Weight Watchers friendly. After craving them again this week I decided to give it a go and the result was a great success. My recipe below makes 12 buns which are 5sp each so you could either have 2 or 3 as a meal or serve as a starter and have 1 or 2 per person.

The portion may look small but these buns are very filling indeed and are packed with flavour. The lovely pickled salad freshens up the whole dish and the dipping sauces add that extra indulgent flavour. I eat these by tearing one bun apart and then eating each piece with a pinch of the salad and a dip in each sauce. Delicious.

I used my Chinese steamer to make these however if you don’t have one, any normal over the pan steamer will do. If you fancy investing in a bamboo one they are really quite cheap (mine were £3 each) and can be found in most Chinese supermarkets. They are a great addition to any kitchen as they can be used to steam anything you would steam in a normal steamer (veggies and what not).

Steamed Pork Buns (Char Sui Bao)


Makes 12 buns = 5sp per bun (Flex)

For the buns

400g self raising flour

200ml skimmed milk

Pinch of salt and sugar

12 white cupcake cases

Pinch of toasted seasame seeds (to dress at the end – optional!)

For the filling

300g extra lean pork mince

4 spring onions, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced

2 tsp Chinese five spice

Pinch of chilli flakes

2 tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tbsp hoisin sauce

1 tbsp honey

Juice of 1 lime

Bunch of coriander, stems separated from leaves and both roughly chopped (leaves kept for pickled salad below)

For the pickled salad

1 courgette, peeled into strips using a Julienne peeler

1 carrot, peeled into strips using a Julienne peeler

1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced into thin strips

3 spring onions, sliced into thin strips

Handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

To serve

1/2 tbsp sriracha chilli sauce per person (0sp)

1/2 tbsp hoisin per person (1sp extra per person)


In a food processor (or bowl) mix the flour, milk, salt and sugar. Remove and pop onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes until the dough is nice and smooth. If the dough is too wet, add a little extra flour. Too dry, add a little extra milk. Roll into a long sausage sauce and split into 12 even pieces. Pop to one side.

To make the filling, add the mince to a large frying pan and fry for 4-5 minutes until it starts to brown. Add the spring onions, garlic, ginger, five spice and crushed chillies and continue to fry until the mince is cooked through. Then add the soy, hoisin, honey and lime. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the mixture is nice and sticky. Add the coriander leaves, cook for another minute and then remove from the heat. Check and adjust the seasoning to your taste.

On a floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a disc around 4 inchs in diameter (the discs should be a little thicker in the centre and thinner towards the edges). Add the filling to the centre of the bun and then fold in the edges of the bun to the centre so that they all meet at the top. Pinch to seal and then pop, seal side down into a cupcake case.

Fill a sauce pan with 2 inches of water and bring to a simmer. Arrange 6 buns inside the steamer then stack with the second steamer, arranging the second 6 buns in this. Pop the lid on, pop over the pan of water and then steam for 12 minutes.

Whilst the buns are steaming, add all of the ingredients for the pickled salad in a bowl and toss the white wine vinegar through.

Once the buns have cooked, serve with chilli sauce and hoisin sauce for dipping and the lovely pickled salad. You can even sprinkle with a few toasted seasame seeds if you fancy.




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