Steamed Char Siu Chicken Dumplings (Pao)

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Juicy, tasty char siu chicken dumpling

Juicy, tasty char siu chicken dumpling

This must be at least 10 years since I last made steamed dumplings, commonly called ‘pau’ or ‘pao’ in Oriental countries. I remembered many years ago when I made them, my dad said they were so good that I should sell them. Well, they never ended up for sale but in our stomachs…haha. I even made for my students who came for Math tuition….how lucky they were! Well, I really loved all my students and I enjoyed teaching them. Many are already working and successful in society. I must say it’s such an honour to have taught them.

I remember when we were in South Korea, steamed dumplings were sold widely along the streets during winter time. It just felt so good to have something hot in your hand while you bite into it. It gave such a warming effect.

Delicious steamed char siu chicken dumpling

Delicious steamed char siu chicken dumpling

It’s again Women’s Happy Hours While Husbands Work (click here to see the previous one). I thought making these dumplings would be such a great idea even though I can’t get the right flour here. I told myself that if I couldn’t come out with the best, I’m just happy with the second best. I know many of my friends miss these dumplings as much as I do while at the same time those from other countries would love to try something new.

Making these dumplings just made me feel so close to my dad. He is still back home and I really miss him, my mom and everyone back home. He’s just such an awesome dad, always depositing good values into my life, endlessly encouraging me and believing in me. I’m always so thankful to have a big part of him in me.

Right, this is my recipe to share. I made 20 big dumplings. There’s still about a third of the filling left.

Ingredients A
400g char siu chicken (diced)

Diced char siu chicken

Diced char siu chicken

To make the fastest char siu chicken, click here.

Ingredients B
600g water
150g sugar (add more if you like it sweeter)
5T oyster sauce
2T dark soya sauce
2T light soya sauce

Dumpling filling

Dumpling filling

Put everything into a pot. When it boils, add Ingredients C to thicken. Add in the diced chicken and mix well. Off the fire and pour it into a big tray to cool down. The best is to leave it overnight in the fridge to harden a little. I didn’t have time to do that, poor planning for once, and so it was a little difficult to wrap.

Ingredients C ( to thicken)
200g water
3T corn flour
2T sweet potato flour
3T flour

Mix everything together in a bowl.

Ingredients D (dumpling skin)
900g flour
1T baking powder
2 packet instant yeast or 2T active yeast
360g warm water
180g sugar
90g oil

In a big mixing bowl, sieve the flour and baking powder. In another bowl, add in the sugar and water. Stir to dissolve the sugar and then add in the yeast. When it turns frothy, pour it into the flour mixture. Add in the oil and mix it up. Knead the dough until it is smooth. I have a big mixer which is powerful enough to knead the dough. This is quite a big amount so do not try to use a small mixer if you don’t want the machine to burn like what happened to my first mixer….so sad no one warned me.

Wrapping the dumpling

Wrapping the dumpling

Once it’s well kneaded, cover the dough and let it rise quite a bit, maybe 15 minutes or so depending on weather condition. Remove the dough and divide into 20 pieces. Take a piece, roll it out into a circle and add some filling to the centre. Gather the edges and pinch it at the top. When all is done, cover them with a clean, dry towel and leave it to rise again, about 40-60 minutes.

All wrapped and left to rise

All wrapped and left to rise

Add some water into the steamer. Once the water boils, arrange the dumplings in the steamer, leaving some space in between, and let it steam for 10 minutes on high heat. Remove and let it cool down before you eat because the filling is very , very hot. Depending on steamer, you may have to steam a few rounds. These are very delicious steamed char siu chicken dumplings.

Juicing and tasty char siu chicken dumpling

Juicy and tasty char siu chicken dumpling

All my friends loved them very much. I was quite unsure whether my dumplings would go well or not course I was not very pleased with them myself. Well I was wrong. There was none left. Everyone said it was soooo goood. That really made my day.

Have you eaten these type of steamed dumplings before? What is your favourite filling? Have you made them yourself? Please share, add and comment in the comment box below.

Other savoury snacks or appetizers that you may be interested:
Simple, Easy Chinese Dumplings To Make At Home (Part 1)
Simple, Easy Chinese Dumplings To Make at Home (Part 2)
Simple, Easy Chinese Dumplings To Make At Home (Part 3)
Easy To Cook - Crunchy Dumplings For Snack or Appetizer
Healthy Vegetable Fritters
Delicious Fritters For Anytime
Healthy Korean Kimchi Pancake
Spiral Chicken Curry Puffs (Part 2 - Pastry)
Spiral Chicken Curry Puffs (Part 1 - Filling)
Deep Fried Wantan

Quote of the day……

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”

Calvin Coolidge

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TasteHongKong  on November 6th, 2009

Char siu pao is one of the must-order items when i go for a dim sum lunch with my family or friends.

But we have only got barbecue pork or ground chicken (not char siu type) as the filling, so yours are definitly unique.

The Cooking Ninja  on November 6th, 2009

Thanks for sharing your recipe. I’m so going to make this. I miss it so much.

foodlovee  on November 6th, 2009

Love Char Siu poa but prefer pork.

Mary  on November 6th, 2009

@TasteHongKong - Oh…those char siu paos at dim sum shop are sooo good. They use Hong Kong flour so the texture of the skin is so fine and soft. I wish I can get it here. But quite happy with my paos, not the best but still very good.

@The Cooking Ninja - Looks like we have to miss it enough to make them….that’s what happens to me all the time.I’ll definitely be making them again soon.

@foodlovee - I love the pork ones too. Oooh…they are all so delicious!

Anna  on November 6th, 2009

Oh! Mary…I wish I was there in your ” women’s happy hour” I’m sure I would be a happy lady. With such good company and delicious food. As soon I have my kitchen back I’ll try to make this buns. They look delicious.

Danielle  on November 6th, 2009

Oh Mary, Mary, Mary…I am drooling on my keyboard right now. These look amazing! Did you just use all-purpose flour for the skins? What kind would you have used at home? I’ve never attempted my own dumpling skins before but this recipe has inspired me to try! This is one for my files!

joy  on November 6th, 2009

o-m-g…I just woke up and saw this in my inbox. It’s like you have the keys to my heart making these dishes!!! I think i’ve wanted to try every single recipe you’ve posted thus far…hahaha maybe I’ll have a marymoh dinner party one night and feature all my favorite dishes that you’ve posted!

kristy  on November 6th, 2009

Woo…Mary was a teacher back home! You gave up teaching just to be with your family over here. How cool is that! What a coincidence, I’m making ’seremban siew bao’ but vegetarian one lol! haha… Actually, I’m still working hard to look for a proper skin recipe for this. Something like they’re selling at the dim sum restaurant, very very fluffy kind of skin! I think it’s called as ‘HK char siew bao’!

lululu  on November 6th, 2009

i agree with your dad. though i hvnt tried it yet, i’m sure it tastes superb. just the way it tastes in a dim sum restaurant.

Divina  on November 6th, 2009

Oh, I’m so late with my comments. My server was done since last night. How I wish you could make these for me. There are some recipes that you alone should make for me. :) It’s nice that your dad gives you encouragement about many things and that’s what children and even adults need nowadays. Cooking does teach us a lot about life.

Rochelle (Acquired Taste)  on November 6th, 2009

I really have to make some of these… are these done with wheat flour or rice flour? I thought I’d ask because I have one and not the other.

Mathea  on November 6th, 2009

These char siu pao look utterly amazing - this is how they should always be!

Janice (Filipina Loves Food)  on November 6th, 2009

Mary, these look wonderful. I’ve been looking for a recipe like this for a while. This brings me back great memories of my childhood.

Mary  on November 6th, 2009

@Anna - I wish you were there. I’m sure you will leave the place with a lot of stomache cramps from all the laughters and satisfied from all the wonderful food.

@Danielle - LOL…so amused by your description. Am trying to imagine. Hope you try out this dumpling soon. Over here, I can’t get the Hong Kong flour which is best for this pao, so I used the multi purpose flour. Hope to try out other flours too. If they are good, I’ll add onto this article.

@Joy - wow…try every recipe? You’ve just made my day. Now I wonder….maybe I can read your heart…haha. Oh my gosh…a MaryMoh dinner party? I think I’ll become famous! :) You are just so sweet.

@Kristy - Hey, looks like we are on the same wavelength…craving for similar food…how exciting!!! Your char siu pao looks soooo pretty and delicious…now I’m drooling over yours …mmm

@Janice - Thanks for sharing. I’m quite happy with this recipe. Hope you try it soon. My family really love these paos.

Mary  on November 6th, 2009

@lululu - awww….thanks for your lovely comment, but no, it’s definitely not there yet. I wish I have the Hong Kong flour. Well, I’ll try with other types of flours and see how they work.

@Divina - So sorry to hear that your server was down. For me, my laptop DIED! Had to fight with my daughter for the desktop :( I would be delighted to be able to cook for you. Still waiting for you to come. Totally agree with you that cooking does teach us a lot about life. I must say I’m really blessed to have a great dad.

@Rochelle - Thanks for sharing. Hope you try it out soon. The skin is made from wheat flour. Rice flour is usually used in steamed desserts or puddings in Oriental cooking.

@Mathea - Thanks for visiting and for your lovely comment.

Sarah, Maison Cupcake  on November 6th, 2009

These look delicious. I love char sui. Wish they were on the menu at my local takeaway.

Mary  on November 6th, 2009

@Sarah - Maybe you don’t need to wish for that to happen anymore. You can make these yourself and eat all you can. I’m so happy I tried it out. Now I can make paos more often cos my family loves them very much.

penny aka jeroxie  on November 6th, 2009

yay! I love making char siew bao since I made some myself a couple of months ago.

Amber  on November 6th, 2009

Wow Mary these look great! Making me very hungry. They are so pretty too with the fold you do on the top. A lot of Asian food is pretty like that.


Brie  on November 6th, 2009

yum, i love dumplings! these look fantastic!

Mary  on November 7th, 2009

@Penny - Oh yes, I remember now that you did. Well done. They looked great.

@Amber - Thanks for your lovely comment. Hope you try them soon. They are very delicious.

@Brie - Thanks for your lovely comment. You can try making them. They are very good.

s  on November 18th, 2009

I love Chā Shāo Bāo (叉燒包) and I’m soooo happy to have found your recipe for it!

Mary  on November 18th, 2009

@s - Thanks for your comment. I’m so glad that I came to a place where there’s no char siu pao otherwise I would never have bothered to try to make them. Now we can eat all we want & freshly made.

joudie  on March 30th, 2010

My husband loves this and i have promised to make them for him only when i find the right recipe and this seems to be perfect. I am going to make this tommorow and will let you know how it goes. Lovely pictures; step by step. Thanks for the post…..

Mary  on March 30th, 2010

@Joudie - Thanks for visiting and comment, Joudie! Have fun making these dumplings :D

daan  on September 20th, 2010

when i have the char sieuw chicken and i diced fore the filling can i laeve the skin ore not ??

and i am so happy that i found youre recipie

Mary  on September 20th, 2010

@daan - You can leave the skin on…no problem…if you don’t mind the skin. I love to add the skin… waste :D Thanks very much for visiting and lovely comment, Daan!

daan moseman  on March 6th, 2011

what is the diffrent with light soy sauce and soy sauce ??

and i am from holland and i like your web site

ShowShanti  on March 9th, 2011

“‘Regular Soy Sauce’ is the same as ‘Light Soy Sauce’

Light Soy sauce is more liquid than dark soy, and has more salt. Dark soy has a more malty taste to it, and more of the ‘umami’ flavour that can also be found in meat, mushrooms, cheese etc. Dark soy is used to enrich the colour of foods as well as to flavour it, but is less salty than light soy, so the two are often used together.”

Found this answer here:

Mary  on March 9th, 2011

@daan moseman - Thanks very much for visiting and your lovely comment, Daan! I never thought about the light and dark soya sauce except for the different colour. You set me thinking :D Really thankful to ShowShanti for the answer here below!

@ShowShanti - Thanks very much for the answer! I wouldn’t have answered so well myself :D

daan moseman  on March 14th, 2011


another quest why you use sweet patato flour for the chicken .

daan moseman  on March 14th, 2011

and i am so happy to find this recipie because i eat this pao one time in amsterdam and i like it !!!!

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