Lazy Man’s Steamed Pumpkin Buns

When I was coming back to Penang from my CNY holidays, before I left home, my mom gave me this parting shot:

“肥仔 不要整天做 cake 来吃 很肥的!” (Fatty, don’t bake and eat cakes so frequently, it is very fattening!)

Remember I said I was going to heed her words when I wrote about my newly purchased steamer? So, no cakes for the time being.

The thing is, I still have a third of the self raising flour I bought, about 300g give or take a bit. How can I use up these left over flour without baking a cake? This is when Mr Jamie Oliver comes to the rescue with one of his FoodTube videos.


Yeah, buns. I could totally steam some buns, a.k.a 包子 bao! 大包 整多两笼大包 dai bao, jing dor liong long dai bao~

Yeah, I know, Jamie is English, he’s not exactly the best reference when it comes to Chinese recipes. I wasn’t going to do his pulled pork looking filling. I was just attracted to the way he made his dough with the food processor. Well, a blender is sort of the same as a food processor, isn’t it?

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That’s genius! That’s the best lazy man tips that you can ever get if you want to make a dough. With a food processor/blender, you avoid the process of kneading by hand and getting your hands all sticky and horrible and difficult to wash. In other words, you avoid the most troublesome process.

Anyway, for the dough, there are only two ingredients that I used: self raising flour and milk. The portion to use would be 2 portions flour, 1 portion milk. My 300g of flour came to about a cup, so for that, add half a cup of milk. Then, like how Jamie did it, blitz it in the food processor for 30 seconds. That’s it, your dough is ready.

All that is left is to dig out the dough, roll it out,

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cut it into chunks, and… and I forgot to mention about my filling.

I decided that I wanted to have an unconventional filling. I believe we have all eaten char siew bao, red bean bao, kaya (coconut jam) bao… but have you ever eaten pumpkin bao? Because that’s what I’m going to make.

Basically I made my pumpkin puree the same way that I did when I was making my pumpkin pie, I cut a quarter of a pumpkin into pieces, baked them in the oven for half an hour, then scrape them off the skin, add some honey to the pumpkin and mashed them all up. That’s my pumpkin filling for the buns.

All that is left to do is to roll out the dough chunks, add some pumpkin filling in the center, then fold the doughs up into, well, bun shapes. Place the buns in the steamer and steam for 15 minutes.

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You know, I’m a guy, so I’m not very good at delicate work.

While the buns are steaming and I tried to clean up, I discovered that using the blender is not the smartest move in the world. It is the most stupid move in the world!

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You see, the bottom part was filled with sticky dough, and there are a few pieces of sharp blades tucked beneath the dough so I cannot really risk putting my hand in and dig. I had to add some water, blitz the dough off, then add some water and blitz again. Repeat a few rounds until the thing is fairly cleared up, then use my hand to dig out the remaining sticky bits. It was much worse compared to washing my hands and the big mixing bowl had I knead the dough by hand.

Anyway, by the time I was done cleaning up, the buns were also ready.

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Doesn’t look much different compared to before steaming, does it?
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The inside

I suppose this one is in small part a success but a bigger part failure. I guess I must have been overly ambitious. I rolled the dough too thin and placed too much filling into each bun, so the bun part was too thin and could not expand enough. The outer skin was slightly tough and chewy, and there was not enough fluffy part to the bun. And the buns looked horribly ugly. Seriously.

Apart from those minor details, the buns are delicious though. I mean, of course they are. The sweet pumpkin filling would be delicious however you use them anyway.

I’ll take note of my mistakes, but I’m finally out of self raising flour, so I probably won’t be attempting an improved version anytime soon. In fact, I don’t really fancy making doughs anymore, they’re too tedious, so I might not attempt anymore buns in the future. 🙄

And mom, you see, 我没有做 cake 来吃. I did not bake and eat cake…


  1. I like your mother! My mum also spoke like her but too often! I guess all mothers are the same. Stay healthy and stay thin is their motto.
    Your steamed flower buns looked lovely and delicious. I want!

    • My mom doesn’t speak like that to me very often, but that is only because I don’t live at home anymore! If I am at home, it would be constant flow of the F word! (Fat)!

      You’re kidding me! Those buns are hideous! They’re not flowers, they’re misshapen! 😀

    • For my mom, not okay, she thinks I always make a full size cake and finish eating them alone in one meal! 😛

  2. Kudos to you for attempting to make a bun. I wouldn’t even dare…buns and breads are the most difficult things to make…if they don’t rise….you’re screwed! 😀

    • Seriously?? I didn’t realize buns are the most difficult to make. Hmm.. then in hindsight maybe I didn’t do too badly! 😀

  3. Sorry, I had a laugh 😀 And you made me watch that Jamie Oliver video 🙂 I am quite surprised that no yeast is used for these buns. I am very curious. And yeah, washing up your blender after that is hell! Well, one fine day I’ll try my hand at pao, bread and buns. I have two packets of bread flour collecting dust hah..hah…

    • I think Jamie gives lots of useful tips on easy cooking, but he’s not very good at presenting them in a practical way. For example, he chops up those herbs and garlic without breaking a sweat and then goes on to declare that this is a 10 seconds job. And he blitz the dough up without reminding us how troublesome it is to wash up later. Maybe someone else does it so he doesn’t know LOL!

  4. In case you didn’t know, you can remove the blades for washing. Just need to open the bottom “cap”

    • I tried to look for ways to open it, but I couldn’t find any. Maybe I need to look harder. 😐

  5. I am absolutely useless when it comes to cooking. My wife says that it is enough that I am in the kitchen when she prepares food to ruin it…oh well, at least I can heat up frozen pizza’s in the oven…

    • Well, if your wife cooks, then I suppose there isn’t any motivation for you to do so. The easiest way to prepare a meal is for someone else to do it! 😀

  6. This post is for your mother! For the life of me, I would not be able to guess that you will be making baos because it is very difficult to get the bao skin to be fluffy like how most people like it to be but not me. I like the bao skin to be on the chewy and doughy end so if your buns are not too sweet, I think I would like them as I like to eat pumpkin.

    The way you describe how the blender needs to be cleaned is my worst nightmare. How long did it take you to finally get it back to its original state?

    The dough in the photo looks like quite a bit so did you only make 4 buns? are you going to eat one a day or all in a day?

    • Huh? I thought baos by default should be fluffy, if it is not fluffy then it means it is a failed one. If you like them chewy, maybe next time you can try to wrap some fillings in roti canai and see if it is great. 😀

      I add a bit of water, then blitz it for a few seconds, then replace new water and blitz again, for about 5 times. Then I have to slowly and carefully use my hand to dig out the remnants. About 10 minutes work I suppose. 😐

      Maybe I zoomed in, it’s not really that much when you cut it and rolled it into buns. I really did make only 4, 3 big and 1 small. 2 for lunch and 2 more for breakfast the next day! 😀

  7. muahahahaha!!! your mum is really funny!!! “肥仔 不要整天做 cake 来吃 很肥的!!”.. oh, i love this 金句, i like your mom, hahahaha~~

    errrr, i really have to agree with you lah, the bun really looks ugly.. but then the filling is damn kao kao and the orangey color really looks quite inviting woh.. practice makes perfect, try doing this again and forget what you mom told you.. 😀

    • Now that I’ve used up my flour, I guess I’ll stop for a while. There are many other things to cook other than cakes and buns. 😀

  8. Fuiyoh, you use normal self raising flour and made it into paus! Lei hou lek ahh.. If I want to make paus, I’ll just buy pau flour.. But I understand your concern, you want to finish up your self raising flour and no bakes or cakes.. Smart also la.. I’m laughing at your buns, especially the smaller one, but well, asalkan nice and sedap dimakan, who cares.. If you steam for me, I sure eat all 😛

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