Kaya Steam Bun | 咖椰包

Kaya Steam Bun is a popular Chinese Steam Bun in Malaysia. Kaya is a sweet jam made with coconut and eggs, it can be duck or chicken eggs. In Malaysia we have kaya with toast bread and coffee or tea for breakfast. Naturally kaya is also used as a sweet filling in steam buns.

Traditionally kaya is cooked on a double boil pot on very low heat. The mixed coconut and eggs will be stirred frequently for a very long time, almost 2-3 hours. However, in this recipe, I will share with you an easy and faster method to make kaya.

The steam buns for this chinese steam kaya bun is pillowy- cotton soft. Its not the chewy soft type. The texture is very similar to buns you have at the dim sum restaurant.

Top Tips:

● When shaping the divided dough into a ball, make sure the surface of the ball is smooth and have no air bubbles. Also gently use some pressure to remove the air bubbles

● While using the rolling pin to flatten dough to a disk shape, make sure the flatten dough have minimal air bubbles

● Water content depends on the quality of the flour i.e. the water absortion rate for the flour

● Steaming wok has to be filled with water and the water at boiling point before placing the steam basket in to steam. Make sure the level of the steam basket is above the water level

● Serve the baozi warm right after steaming. Best eaten warm. Baozi is soft and fluffy when its warm


I do not have a bamboo basket, how do I steam the buns?

The bamboo basket is ideal for steaming because of water condensation. If you don’t have a bamboo basket, recommend to wrap the cover with a cloth to avoid the water from dripping onto the buns

Can I substitute baking soda for baking powder?

The answer is NO. You cannot use baking soda because the steam buns will become yellow

Why does my bun have yellow specs?

Yellow specs are caused by the baking powder. There are two reasons for this. The main reason is the type of baking powder. I had this experience before and I realised that some baking powders are made from wheat flour while some are made from cornstarch. It is recommended to choose baking powder made from cornstarch to avoid the yellow specs. Second reason might be because the baking powder was not kneaded well with the dough.

Why is my bun skin not smooth?

When shaping the divided dough into a ball, make sure the surface of the ball is smooth. Also gently use some pressure to remove the air bubbles. While using the rolling pin to flatten dough to a disk, make sure the the air bubbles are removed as much as possible

Another reason might also be due to the baking powder used. Based on my experience, different baking powder give different results.

How to keep Steamed Baozi?

Let the steam bun cool to room temperature. Recommend to keep baozi in an airtight container, the place it in the fridge or freezer. Leave some space between each buns as it tends to stick to each other when frozen.

If kept in the fridge, it can last for about 3-5 days. When ready to eat, remove from fridge and steam for about 10 minutes on high heat (NOTE: time based on water preboiled before steaming). Serve warm to enjoy.

If kept in the freezer, it can last for about 1-2 weeks. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and steam for about 15 minutes on high heat (NOTE: time based on water preboiled before steaming). Serve warm to enjoy.

Why is my baozi not as soft and fluffy when cold or at room temperature?

Baozi or any steam cakes or breads becomes tougher when left at room temperature or cold. Baozi is always served warm or right after steaming from the steamer.

Once its cold, steam the baozi again to enjoy it the soft and fluffy baozi when its warm

Can I use all purpose flour to substitute Hong Kong flour?

Its not ideal to use all purpose flour to substitute Hong Kong flour because the the texture of the baozi is very different. All purpose flour will produce chewy buns. But Hong Kong flour will produce soft finer texture.

Also the process and the water content required is different when using all purpose flour. So its not ideal to substitute with all purpose flour

What is the best flour to substitute Hong Kong flour?

There may be other brands that sell flour specifically for making baozi. They are usually labelled as pau flour, low gluten flour. You may be able to find it at the Chinese Supermarket or Specialty Baking Supplies Shops. In Malaysia, I get Hong Kong flour from Bake with Yen

Which is the best Hong Kong flour?

I have tried using bleach and unbleached Hong Kong flour. I find that the bleached Hong Kong flour produce more delicate and fine steam buns/baozi. Having said that, if you use the unbleached Hong Kong flour, you can add more wheat starch to have a more delicate fine texture. The Hong Kong flour I usually use is “Prima Fairy Hong Kong Flour”


Kaya Filling:

  • 3 eggs, room temperature 鸡蛋 3粒 室温度
  • 80 grams brown sugar 红糖 80克
  • 200 ml santan, coconut milk ( I used UHT coconut milk) 椰奶 200毫升
  • 10 grams tapioca starch 木薯淀粉10克
  • 20 grams butter (salted), melted 黄油 20克 (熔化)


  • 205 grams Hong Kong flour 香港水仙面粉 205克
  • 35 grams wheat starch 澄粉 35克
  • 45 grams icing sugar 糖粉 45克
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 泡打粉 1/4茶匙
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast 速溶酵母 3/4茶匙
  • 120 ml water 水 120毫升
  • 20 ml vegetable oil 菜油 20毫升

Steam Basket size: 30 cm diameter

Step-by-step Method to make Kaya Steam Bun | 咖椰包:

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