Tasty, moist pork wrapped with half-soft, half-crispy dough, Shanghai Sheng Jian Bao (生煎包, pan-fried pork buns), traditionally served as breakfast, make a great party food.



For the wrappers

  • 250 g all-purpose flourabout 2 cups (see note 1)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp dried instant yeastsee note 2
  • 140 ml lukewarm waterabout 9 tbsp

For the filling

  • 250 g minced pork9oz
  • 2 tbsp spring onionfinely chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp gingerminced
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch ground Sichuan pepperor Chinese five-spice powder
  • 5 tbsp wateror chicken stock

For frying

  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 240 ml waterabout 1 cup

For garnishing

  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Spring onionfinely chopped


Prepare the dough

  • In a large bowl, mix flour, yeast and sugar. Pour in water little by little while stirring with a pair of chopsticks (or a fork).
  • Then knead with your hand until a smooth, elastic dough forms (see note 3). Cover the bowl with a wet kitchen towel.
  • Leave to rise in a warm place until double in size. It will take between 40 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on the room temperature.

Mix the filling

  • Put all the ingredients for the filling (except for water/stock) into a large bowl.
  • Swirl constantly in the same direction while gradually adding water/stock spoon by spoon into the mixture.

Shape the buns

  • Knead the dough on a floured work surface until it goes back to its original size.
  • Divide it into 20 equal portions. Roll each piece into a disk-like wrapper.
  • Hold the wrapper in the palm of one hand. Place some filling in the middle. Use the other hand to fold the edge anticlockwise by pinching with thumb and index finger until the bun is completely sealed (please refer to the images above).
  • Leave to rest for 15 minutes before frying.

Fry the buns

  • Heat up oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Place in the buns (see note 4 & 5).
  • When the bottom part becomes golden brown, pour in water then cover with a lid.
  • Uncover when the water evaporates completely. Sprinkle sesame seeds and spring onion over.
  • Cook another 30 seconds or so to crisp up.


1. The ideal flour water ratio may vary slightly depending on the brand of the flour and how you measure it (Measuring flour with cups is less accurate).
2. I use dried instant yeast (this is sometimes called “quick”, “fast action” or “easy blend” yeast) which doesn’t need to be frothed before using. You may use other types of yeast following the recommended quantity and mixing method.
3. You may use a stand mixer with a fitted dough hook. Put all the ingredients into the mixing bowl. Knead for 5 minutes or so on lowest speed. Alternatively, a bread maker with a dough cycle can help you to finish step 1 with ease.
4. I use a 28cm / 11inch frying pan in which I can fit 20 buns at once. You may use a smaller pan and fry twice. Adjust the volume of oil and water accordingly.
5. When frying, you can either put the folded side facing up or down. If you prefer the latter, make sure to securely seal the buns to avoid any juice leaking from the filling.
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