Mushroom Char Siu Bao “Soft & Fluffy” | 冬菇叉烧包

Char Siu Bao is steam buns with barbeque pork filling. It is popularly served in Chinese Dim Sum Restaurants. Its really tasty with its sweet aromatic BBQ pork filling.

My whole family and relatives are bao lovers. I can’t keep track of the number of times I’ve made baozi. One of my family members doesn’t eat pork, so I came up with a char siu bao recipe with mushrooms instead.

This recipes makes the bao dough have a soft, fluffy and cake like texture just like the Dim Sum Restaurants and the sauce for the filling will definitely remind you of that char siu bao taste. Its super delicious!

One of the key ingredient is Hong Kong Flour. In Chinese its called “香港水仙面粉”. Directly translated it is Hong Flour Waterlily Flour. It makes the bun whiter and have a softer, cake like texture just like the Dim Sum Restaurants. The texture is very different from using all purpose flour or just cake flour to make the dough. Also the process when using Hong Kong flour is different from all purpose flour. One key different is the proofing time. The proofing time for Hong Kong flour is very much shorter like half the time.

You may not have it now but its definitely worth the effort buying them later. You may be able to get them from specialty baking shop or chinese grocery shops. See picture

Top Tips:

  1. 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
  2. Serve the baozi warm right after steaming. Best eaten warm. Baozi is soft and fluffy when its warm

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How to keep Steamed Baozi?

Let the steam bun cool to room temperature. Recommended to keep baozi a airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

If kept in the fridge, it can last for about 1 week. When ready to eat, remove from fridge and steam for about 10 minutes on high heat. (note: water preboiled before steaming). Serve warm to enjoy.

If kept in the freezer, it can last for about 2-3 weeks. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and steam for about 20 minutes on high heat. (note: 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 brand that sell flour specifically to make baozi. They are usually labelled as pau flour, low gluten pau flour. You may be able to find it at the Chinese Supermarket or Specialty Chinese Baking Shops. In Malaysia, I get from Bake with Yen

Prep Time Proof
Cooking timeTotal TimeServes
Dough25 min30 min10 min1 hr 5 min10 baozi
Filling20 min15 min35 min

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1-1/2 cup dried chinese mushrooms 干冬菇 1-1/2杯
  • 2 medium size yellow onion 黄洋葱 2粒中等
  • 3-4 sprigs of spring onion 葱 3-4枝
  • cornstarch solution to thicken sauce: 1 tsp cornstarch + 1 tsp cake flour + 1/2 cup water 玉米淀粉 1茶匙+ 低筋面粉 1茶匙+ 水 1/2杯


  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 盐 3/4茶匙
  • 2 tablespoon light soy sauce 生抽 2汤匙
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar 红糖 2汤匙
  • 2 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine / rice wine (if you don’t have, can use red wine or brandy) 绍兴料酒 2汤匙
  • 1/2 teaspoon of rice vinegar 米醋 1/2 茶匙
  • 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce 老抽 1茶匙
  • 1/4 teaspoon of five spice 五香粉 1/4茶匙
  • 4 tablespoon of water 水 4汤匙

Ingredients for dough:

  • 190 grams (1-1/2 cup) Hong Kong Flour 香港面粉 190克 (1-1/2杯)
  • 20 grams (3 tbsp) cake flour 低筋面粉 20克 (3汤匙)
  • 45 grams (1/3 cup) of icing sugar 糖分 45克 (1/3杯)
  • 2 grams (1/4 tsp) baking powder 泡打粉 2克 (1/4茶匙)
  • 3 grams (3/4 tsp) instant yeast 酵母 3克 (3/4茶匙)
  • 110 ml (1/3 cup +2 tbsp) lukewarm water 温水 110毫升 (1/3杯 + 2汤匙)
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil 菜油 30克 (2汤匙)


Prepare the filling:

  1. Presoak the mushrooms until soft. Usually 2-3 hours or overnight. If you want it quick, soak in hot water. It should turn soft within 15 minutes
  2. Dice the mushrooms, onions and spring onions into small cubes. The finer the better. Set aside
  3. Mix all the seasoning into a bowl. Set aside
  4. Mix the cornstarch and cake flour solution. Set aside
  5. Fry the onion on low to medium heat until caramelised, that is soft and golden brown
  6. Add in the mushrooms, fry till fragrant. Normally, it will turn slightly brown on some edges of the mushroom. About 2-3 minutes
  7. Add in the seasoning, toss a few times till fragrant. Add spring onion and then cornstarch solution.
  8. Stir fry until sauce thickens. Place on a plate to cool to room temperature.

Prepare the dough:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix well.
  2. Add water into the dry ingredient. Mix with a fork or chopstick. Form a dough.
  3. Transfer to work surface. Add oil slowly for the next 8 minutes, then knead until all the oil is absorbed, approximately another 2 minutes
  4. Cover the dough and proof for 20 minutes.
  5. After proofing, remove all the air by kneading a few times.
  6. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a ball. Set aside and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap to prevent from drying
  7. Sprinkle some Hong Kong Flour on work surface. Place the ball of dough on the flour dusted surface. Flatten with your palm. Then use a rolling pin and flatten into a disk. Thin on the outside and thicker in the middle
  8. Place 2 heap teaspoon of filling in the middle of the flatten dough. Pleat into a bao shape. See video to see how to pleat. If you find it difficult, can just shape into a ball shape. Check out my Steam Chinese Custard Bao video on how to shape into a ball
  9. Place the shaped bao dough into a steam basket, cover and let it proof until the dough feels light and fluffy, about 10 minutes
  10. While waiting, place water into a wok half full and bring to boil
  11. Once the bao is ready to be steamed place the steam basket on the wok to steam on high heat for 10 minutes.
  12. Serve warm.

Video on the Mushroom Char Siu Bao recipe and shaping the dough into a pleats:

Video for shaping the dough into a ball shape: