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Aug 26, 2005 07:01 PM

Sheng Jian Bao Recipe (Long)

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Saw a few people looking for Sheng Jian Bao recipe, thought I submit mine.

Sheng Jian Bao is actually regular steamed pork bun (not BBQ pork buns) cooked in pot sticker style rather than steamed. The dough is always a yeast dough where as XLB contains no yeast. In the restaurant you might find them as Shanghai Pan Fried Buns. Size wise, they’re twice as big as XLB, but smaller than a steam pork bun you would find in Chinatown. Unlike BBQ pork bun dough, it is not sweet and more chewy.

My favorite SJB used to be 168 restaurant in Pacific East Mall, but I’ve heard the owner has since changed hands and haven’t been back since.

SJB is among one of the favorite snack foods in China and Taiwan. Especially in Taiwan, you will probably find SJB along with stinky tofu vendors in any night market. The one in ShiLin market in Taiwan used to be one of the best, but it was a huge disappointment when I went back and tasted it in March. You will notice a lot of famous food stalls in Taiwan are now run by cheap laborers from various underdeveloped Asian countries.

Anyhow, enough with chattin’, let’s get to the recipe.


I hate doing the dough myself (want to eat in 20 min. and not 3 hours from now), so I found a shortcut. Go to your local Safeway, Albertson, FoodMax, or whatever. Pick up a pack of refrigirated dinner rolls dough. Those Pillsbury ready to bake kind of rolls, comes in a pack of 6 (Not biscuits!). Try to find one with the lowest salt content, some are just way too salty.

Now on to the filling.

1/3lb Cabbage (less than 1/2 a head) chopped into coleslaw constancy and salt with 1/2 tsp of salt.
1lb ground pork
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1 tsp seasame oil
1/8 tsp or just a pinch white pepper
2-3 stalks of very finely chopped green onions
2 tsp of grated ginger
1 tbsp of Oyster sauce
2 tbsp of water or chicken stock
1 tsp of cornstarch
Pintch of MSG optional. If you have oyster sauce you can skip the MSG. Oyster sauce is pretty much MSG by the way.

Mix all of the ingredients except cabbage with a mixer or your fingers (the old Chinese way) for a good 3-4 minutes until the meat has broken down into a smooth mixture and not chunks.

Drain the salted cabbage and rise with cold water. After the cabbage is rinsed, squeeze out any excess water with all of your might! Make sure the cabbage is dry or else the filling will just fall apart.

Add the chopped, rinsed, and dried cabbage into the meat mixture and mix well.

Open the packaged rolls; take one of the rolls out and roll it with a rolling pin. It should be around 4 inches in diameter, make sure the edges are thinner than the center. This will help when you pinch the seams together. Fill the center of the dough with 1 1/2 tablespoon of the filling. Carefully pinch edges together to seal dough around filling. It doesn't have to be perfect, but make sure it is sealed tight or else the jucies will escape during cooking.

Put 1 Tbsp of oil in a flat non-stick pan. Placed the wrapped buns in a non-stick pan and turn on the heat. Pour 1 and 3/4 cups of cold water and a few drops of rice vinegar into the pan, cook on high heat covered until all of the water has evaporated and you can hear the pan sizzle (Should be around 20 min). The rice vinegar trick was learned from a street vendor in Taiwan, he told me the rice vinegar is what makes the curst on the bottom harden and crisp during cooking. Try the vinegar trick with your potstickers next time and you will notice the crust on the bottom is much crisper.

Voila! Enjoy the buns with some hot sauce and vinegar.

An even more lazier way is to purchase frozen pork buns from 99 ranch and just plop them in the pan with water and vinegar, cook until it sizzles.

Enjoy everyone!

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  1. Thank you! Not to be ungrateful, but do you have a bun recipe that you use when you want 100% authenticity? Or is it basically any man tou (steamed bun) recipe?

    5 Replies
    1. re: nooodles

      If you or homecookin' can read Chinese well enough to accurately translate a recipe I found online and share it, email me for the link. CH seems to frown on posting recipes in Chinese...

      I'n not familiar with the Taiwanese version of sheng jian bao, but homecookin's recipe seems that it would produce a less juicy bao than the Shanghai version (which, like xiaolong bao, uses a pork skin aspic as well as ground pork) unless it's very fatty pork.


      1. re: Gary Soup


        Yes the dough is pretty much mantou dough. Here is the recipe for it.

        3 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
        1/4 cups of cake flour (or you can just use 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose)
        1 1/2 cup of warm water (95-98f)Anything above 100 degrees you might kill the yeast.
        2 t Dry Yeast
        1 t honey or sugar

        Place flour in a large bowl. Thoroughly dissolve yeast in warm water and sugar/honey together wait about 5-7 min. Add to flour and knead about 5 minutes or use mixer dough hook. Cover with a wet cloth or paper towel and let rise until double in bulk (around 2 hours).

        Punch the dough down and knead again for about 90 seconds. Just to get the air out of the dough. Take the dough and squeeze it top to bottom making it into a long snake shape. Making sure the dough snake is about 2 inches in diameter. Cut into small 2x2 dough piece and flatten it with your hands into a round shape. Roll out thin about 5 inches in diameter, again making sure the outer dough is slightly thinner than the center. Place filling in the center. Pinch pleat dough so that all the edges come to top center and the bun is round with a swirl design on top. Make certain the center is closed tightly. Sprinkle chives or black seasme on top and let it rest for 10 min.(covered with a dry towel) then place in a pan and cook.

        Hope this helps.

        My filling recipe will be less juicy than XLB. There is a reason for it. XLB is supposed to be very juicy (I will translate a recipe with aspic for you on my next posting). SJB will be less juicier than XLB because it's a yeast base, what we call live dough. If you have too much liquid or soup in the filling the dough will not rise properly during cooking in the pan, thus giving you a dead dough and it won't taste as good. A dead dough is when the dough becomes translucent and dark yellowish color and taste like thick piece of chewy pancake.

        While back in China I did taste some extremely delicious SJB with a lot of juices and the dough was just perfect. Later on I found out they added some type of leavening chemical agent that helped the dough from absorbing liquid during cooking. But it was the darn best SJB i've tasted.

        If you'd like a more jucier filling try putting 2 Tbs of lard or oil. This should improve the juiciness quite a bit and the dough will not suck up the oil like stock or water.

        1. re: Homecookin'

          SJB are also meant to be juicy; it's a defining characteristic (Stateside SJB notwithstanding). I think the use of pig skin aspic mixed with the meat as the source of the juiciness forestalls some of the problems you refer to.

          1. re: Gary Soup

            If you are going to use XLB filling for SJB, may I suggest using 3 parts yeast dough and 1 part hot dough found in my crab XLB recipe. This way the dough will hold up better during cooking and it's the best and authentic way to make SJB dough in my opinion.

            1. re: Homecookin'

              I'm not saying it's the same filling, but Mainland recipes for SJB usually use pork skin aspic, though I think in a lower ratio than for XLB. Some of the storefront vendors probably "cheat" by using lard instead, though their product is sinfully tasty.

    2. Thanks! I'll definitely try this!

      1. Nice! I must try this out!