Red Bean Buns

August 09, 2018
Sweet and soft Red bean steamed buns.
It is also known as bao or kuih pau.

Red Bean Steamed Buns photo

What is Bao?

Chinese steamed buns are known as Bao (to majority of the world) and commonly known as Pau in Malaysia.

Steamed buns can be eaten with fillings or without.

Steamed buns are filled with sweet filling like this Red bean steamed buns, coconut jam (kaya), sweet mung beans or sweet coconut filling.
And there are savoury steamed buns that are filled with chicken curry or char siu (bbq-ed meat)

Steamed buns are eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner in some country as their staple food.

Steamed buns served for lunch and dinner are usually the plain steamed buns, to mop up the delicious gravy. And these are known as mantou (the dough is less sweet than this recipe)

One dish that came to mind is the Chilli Crab (which reminds me .... this is an old recipe needs to be looked into, but crabs are so expensive!!!), uses mantou to mop up the delicious sauce... yums 

Red Bean Steamed Bao photo

Bao | Pau fillings

I love steamed buns, especially Red Bean Steamed Buns, Black bean steamed buns and Chicken curry  steamed buns.

 Among the three mentioned above, I love the black bean steamed buns the most. I have not had any black beans steamed buns for many years , and I believed that they no longer made the black beans steamed buns any more!
Black beans steamed buns has phased out... 'sigh'

My late dad used to buy us some steamed buns whenever he went out of town for work, and whenever he passed by Tanjong Malim, a small town in Perak, Malaysia (famous...not too sure whether its still is) for its steamed buns.

 My dad would get few chicken curry steamed buns, red bean steamed buns and black bean steamed buns. They were still soft and fluffy after few hours of travelling on road.

My least favourite would be the Sweet coconut steamed buns.

Resipi kuih pau kacang merah

How to make soft and fluffy steamed buns

I tried my hands on making steamed buns before... sadly, none worked out well.

About to give up on making any steamed buns.... until my sister sent me a copy of this recipe few years ago.

Then again, I was hesitating, because I do not have that ONE ingredient!

Double Action baking powder!!!

First time I came across the item.
Seriously... where can I find double action baking powder in Perth!!!

Finally, managed to get some double action baking powder from Malaysia, hence "Project steaming buns" began :)

Adzuki balls

Chinese steamed buns

Soft and fluffy red bean steamed buns

If you are wondering where to get your hand on double action baking powder, do not worry!!
Your pantry baking powder works just as fine.

I experimented twice, which means we get to eat steamed buns to our heart content :).

My findings :

very little difference in texture. Without double action baking powder may have very slight next to minuscule impact on its fluffiness.

It was still much .. much better, vast improvement from my last ... embarrass to mention many attempts!!!

Watch my video below on How to make red bean steamed buns  and do read my notes below on how to enjoy your red bean steamed buns the next day.

So ... tell me,
What is/ are your favourite steamed buns :)

Soft and pillowy Red bean steamed buns

Sweet and soft steamed buns, known as bao or kuih pau.


  1. Hi Lisa... Tq for sharing the red bean steamed bao/pau.. I have tried many pau recipes but yr recipe is the best.. simple steps. .its awesome soft fluffy pau.. My husband love it... But I use plain flour and normal baking powder...cos in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia don't have bao/pau/hongkong flour.. but it is still soft smooth fluffy pau... Thank you again for your recipe..

    1. Salam Zaiton,
      Thank you and I am happy to read your positive feedback :D

  2. Hi Lisa, can use lard for shortening.
    Yeast is active dry yeast.

    1. Hi Lynn
      Thank you for your feedback.
      I only use vegetable shortening as I don't consume lard.

  3. I pergi Tanjung Malim just to have Yik Mun's pau...


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