Pan-Fried Mini Buns

Recipe courtesy of Ms. Sun

Pan fried steamed-buns is similar to potstickers. A delicious Shanghai snack.  The buns are made of yeast dough and are filled with vegetable-ground meat of your choice (usually chicken or pork), or vegetarian filling.  Like potstickers, the uncooked mini buns are panfried and steamed in a skillet.   The trick to this scrumptious treat is getting the yeast dough rise correctly.  I have included two options: vegetarian as well as meat filling in this recipe.


Shallow pan (or iron skillet) with lid

rolling pin

Stand mixer or food processor

For the dough:

6 c bread flour or all-purpose

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

Proofing the yeast:

2 1/2 c lukewarm (100 F) milk or water (less if using bread flour)

3 tsp sugar

3 tsp instant yeast

in a bowl,  pour in the liquid, add the sugar and stir, sprinkle the yeast, stir gently once, and set it aside for 5 minutes.  If it is not foamy, the yeast might have expired!

To make the yeast-dough:

In the mixer, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Whisk quickly with the hook attachment.   On the lowest speed, while the machine is turning, pour in the yeast mixture.  Then increase the speed to medium.  Mix the dough for about 1 minutes or until the dough comes together into a ball.  If the dough is still sticky, sprinkle a tiny bit of flour and let the mixer go couple more seconds;  Roll the dough out onto the counter surface, lightly dust it with flour and gather it into a ball.  At this point if you press on the dough, it should feels soft and springy but not sticky.

Lightly oil a big mixing bowl and leave the dough in, cover with saran wrap.  Leave it in a warm place for an hour or until it doubled.

Meat Filling:

1 lb of ground meat (pork or chicken)

6 medium slices of ginger, finely chopped

2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp rice wine (or sake)

3 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp white pepper

1/2 tsp sesame oil

1/2 c water

2-3 c of finely chopped Napa cabbage, water squeezed out of them

3 stalks of spring onion (green part only), julienne finely – cross section

In a mixer, add the ground meat.  On slow speed, slowly add water, and stir  in between water. Then add ginger, salt, rice vinegar, sugar, white pepper, sesame oil, let it stir for a few seconds, and then add the cabbage.  Stir for another few seconds. It’s now ready to use.

Vegetarian Filling:

16 oz  firm tofu (slightly fried, rectangular block kind), chopped

8 oz mushroom, chopped to small bits – not too fine

1 1/2  – 2 c cabbage (not Nappa cabbage), finely chopped

1 stalk of spring onion (green part only), julienne finely

3 Tbsp teriyaki sauce

1/8 tsp. salt

In a bowl, mix in all the ingredients.  Set aside for 5 minutes before using.

The Dough:

Remove the dough from the bowl onto lightly floured counter surface.  Roll dough into a 24-inch log then cut the log into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces. Cover these to prevent from drying.

To make the mini buns:

Use a small rolling-pin to roll the pieces to about 3 1/2 circles in  diameter. The center should be thicker and the rim should be thinner.  Fill the center with about 1 1/2 Tbsp of filing and try to leave about 3/4 inch of dough so you can form a bun.

It is easier to pleat the edges if you leave the dough with filling on the counter.  Using one hand to pull and gather the dough edge into  pleats while the other hand pinches the rim firmly and forming the bun.  When pleating is finished, pinch the top tightly to close the opening.

Set these aside for 20 minutes to let it rise again.  It is ready to panfry or freeze.

To panfry the buns:

Heat the non-stick skillet or iron pan to medium -high heat, add  1 – 2 Tbsp of cooking oil. Add buns, 5 Tbsp of water to the skillet and cover with lid.  Turn the fire to medium or medium-low and cook till you cannot hear sizzling sound. (At this point see optional step).  If you are using a glass lid, without removing the lid check to see if the buns are cooked.  Remove lid if you are not using glass lid to check for doneness.  Add couple more Tbsp of water to cook if needed. Cooking time should be about 10 – 15 minutes if not frozen.

OPTIONAL:  Flip the buns over to panfry the otherside, add couple more Tbsp of water to cook.

To panfry frozen buns:

Frozen buns do not need to be thawed.  Pre-heat the skillet. Sprinkle couple drops of water to it if it sizzles, it’s ready to add the frozen buns to cook.  Follow above instructions.

To serve: You can serve them with chile oil or soy sauce vinegar.

7 comments on “Pan-Fried Mini Buns

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