These steamed buns are also known as bao but I always think of them as manapua buns. They are normally filled with a saucy bbq char siu pork and made with yeast. However, I am no fan of yeast so I tried to create my own little buns sans-yeast and this is what I came up with.

I also don’t always have time to make a char siu filling so I just like to grill some korean pork belly and put it all together like a little asian sandwich. What can I say, I’m difficult – but the recipe is easy! It’s quicker than you think and since I make them quite small, the kids love the little buns!

ingredients:
3 cups cake flour
1-1/2 Tablespoons baking powder
3 Tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon sesame oil

thin sliced pork belly

In a bowl whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

Add the milk and the oil and when it’s combined start kneading it until you get a nice dough.


Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. By the way, I use a metal insert steamer, but use a wok, bamboo steamer or whatever works for you.

Pinch off golf ball sized pieces and steam for 15 minutes.

Let cool on a wire rack.

Lay the pork belly on a baking sheet and broil for 5 minutes until crispy brown, then turn and broil for 2-3 minutes until cooked.

Slice the buns in half and place the pork inside. Some people like sauce, but honestly I prefer it without. The crispiness of the pork is all I need!