China House Garfield

Chinese Steamed Buns

Introduction: A Taste of Tradition

Chinese cuisine is a rich tapestry of tastes and methods, where every dish narrates a tale of heritage and identity. Within this diverse culinary landscape, Chinese steamed buns, affectionately termed “base” or “bao,” occupy a unique niche. These soft, cloud-like buns, brimming with savory or sweet fillings, boast a time-honored legacy that spans centuries. From the bustling streets of Shanghai to the quaint kitchens of rural villages, base has remained a beloved staple, transcending boundaries and captivating palates worldwide. Whether stuffed with succulent meats or luscious custards, each bite of these steamed delights evokes a symphony of flavors deeply rooted in tradition. As global appreciation for Chinese cuisine burgeons, the allure of these fluffy buns only intensifies, cementing their status as an emblem of culinary excellence and cultural pride.

Chinese Steamed Buns

Prep Time:

30 mins

Cook Time:

45 mins

Additional Time:

3 hrs 30 mins

Total Time:

4 hrs 45 mins




24 buns

A Brief History

Chinese steamed buns, originating from the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE), began as simple, plain staples. However, their evolution mirrors China’s rich culinary history. As time progressed, diverse regions crafted unique fillings and styles, transforming the humble bao into a culinary masterpiece. These variations catered to local tastes and ingredients, adding layers of complexity and flavor to the traditional dish. Today, Chinese steamed buns are ubiquitous across the country, cherished as both a street food delight and a restaurant staple. Their widespread popularity underscores their versatility and appeal, capturing the essence of Chinese cuisine’s evolution over centuries. From bustling city streets to cozy family kitchens, the aroma of steamed buns continues to evoke nostalgia and comfort, reminding people of the enduring legacy of this ancient culinary tradition.

Chinese Steamed Buns

Ingredients and Preparation

Making Chinese steamed buns requires:

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • ¾ cup warm water, divided
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

The process involves:

1. Kneading the dough until smooth and elastic.

2. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size.

3. Dividing the risen dough into small pieces.

4. Rolling out each piece into circles.

5. Add a spoonful of filling in the center of each circle.

6. Gathering and pinching the edges of the dough to seal in the filling, creating a round bun.

Steaming Process

The steaming process is what gives Chinese steamed buns their signature soft and fluffy texture. The filled buns are placed on small squares of parchment paper to prevent sticking and then arranged in a steamer basket. The basket is placed over a pot of boiling water, and the buns are steamed for about 15-20 minutes until they are puffed up and cooked through.

Serving and Enjoyment

Chinese steamed buns can be enjoyed hot or at room temperature and are often served as a snack, appetizer, or part of a meal. They pair well with dipping sauces such as soy sauce or chili oil and can be accompanied by a variety of side dishes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)


Conclusion: A Culinary Delight

Chinese steamed buns encapsulate the essence of Chinese culinary tradition. Beyond being a delightful food, they embody centuries of heritage and culture. Their simple ingredients and preparation methods yield flavors and textures that resonate with food lovers globally. Whether relished amidst the bustling streets of Beijing or crafted with care in the comfort of one’s kitchen, steamed buns evoke a sense of nostalgia and satisfaction. The joy of biting into a soft, fluffy bun filled with savory or sweet fillings is unmatched, leaving a lingering craving for more. As a symbol of Chinese cuisine, steamed buns serve as a bridge between the past and present, connecting generations through shared culinary experiences. So, whether you’re savoring them as a snack, appetizer, or part of a meal, Chinese steamed buns are sure to captivate your palate and evoke a deep appreciation for the rich culinary heritage they represent.

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