Chinese Fried Buns are one of our favourite comfort foods to make at home inspired by Sheng Jian Bao, a popular street food in Shanghai.
Our homemade Pan Fried Pork Buns recipe features a soft yeasted dough filled with a savoury ground pork and scallion filling.
Jian Bao are prepared in a skillet with a firm fitting lid so the bottom of the pork buns get nicely browned and crispy while the surrounding steam moistens the dough and cooks the succulent pork stuffing inside.
Gobble up a plate of authentic Chinese Pan Fried Buns while dipping them in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, and hot sauce if you like a little heat.
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What Is Sheng Jian Bao?
Sheng Jian Bao, also known as Jian Bao or Chinese Fried Buns, are a type of small, pan-fried baozi which is a specialty of Suzhou and Shanghai.
Sheng Jian Bao directly translates to “raw fried buns.” By raw, it means you pan fry the buns without steaming them first. In this process the dough will rise and the bottom crisps up at the same time. Pan-fried pork bun is different from steamed stuffed buns (known as baozi), which are steamed only, usually in large wicker dim sum-style dumplings steamers.
The filling is traditionally savoury pork and scallions. Imagine crispy potstickers, soup dumplings, and fluffy bread all combined together into one bite sized treat!
Within Shanghai, pan fried pork buns typically have thin, crispy skins while those sold elsewhere usually have thicker, bread-like skins. It first originated and became popular in Suzhou at the beginning of the 20th century. It has been one of the most common breakfast dishes in Shanghai since the early 1920s.
Pan Fried Buns are traditionally sold in Shanghainese restaurants in lots of four. They’re usually eaten at the morning meal, and can be accompanied by a small bowl of clear soup.
Travel to Hong Kong by Cooking Chinese Fried Buns at Home
I love traveling through Asia.
My first visit to Asia had me living in South Korea for a year as a teacher and it’s where I was first introduced to fermented vegetables like kimchi.
After my contract ended in Seoul I travelled throughout southeast Asia for 6 months, visiting the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
Growing up in Markham, home to Canada’s largest community of Hong Kongers, helped me fall in love with Chinese Fried Buns at a young age. The popular dim sum dish is served at many Chinese restaurants, especially those with a specialty in Shanghainese cuisine, of which there are a plethora in Vancouver, Mississaugua, Scarborough, Markham and Montreal.
I’ve eaten my way through some of Hong Kong’s best restaurants during my 5 visits to the bustling East Asian city. After chowing down on a towering plate of Sheng Jian Bao in the iconic dishes birthplace, it became one of my favourite Chinese restaurant take out dishes to order at home in Oakville.
Whether you’ve gobbled up Chinese Fried Buns in Hong Kong or your local neighbourhood restaurant, it’s no wonder the delicious dumplings are revered around the world as one of the best Asian comfort foods!
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My Family Loves Chinese Pan Fried Pork Buns
My family has always loved ordering Chinese takeout. It helped that we lived in Markham with so many Cantonese restaurant options at our doorstep.
We typically order Chinese takeout on Christmas Eve as my mom likes to avoid having to do a lot of dishes around the holidays. Christmas dinner takes an entire day for us to prepare so enjoying take out the night before the big day is a yummy tradition, which involves very little clean up!
I love asking friends what their families favourite Thai, Indian or Chinese takeout orders were growing up. So much of our love for food is passed down by our parents. When a friend mentions a family-favourite Chinese takeout dish I’ve ever tried I always add it to my to do list!
My family’s classic Chinese takeout order always includes Egg Rolls, Crispy Ginger Beef, Spicy Szechuan Hot and Sour Soup, Chinese Wonton Egg Drop Soup, Chinese Ginger Garlic Soup, Cong You Bing Green Onion Cakes, Chinese Cucumber Salad, Singapore Chow Mei Fun and Pan Fried Pork Buns.
On a cold day this winter I spent the morning making my first Chinese fried buns recipe. I wanted to work on my bao pleating skills and knew my parents would enjoy an impromptu dim sum lunch.
The Shang Jian Bao slipped out of the pan with a perfectly browned bottom and soft and tender bun. We dipped them in a soy sauce and sesame oil mixture using chopsticks.
Immediately after biting into one of the pan fried pork buns a stream of steam wafted through the air. The aroma of ginger, scallions and sesame oil perfumed the room. These truly are the most divine comfort food!
Where To Eat Sheng Jian Bao Chinese Fried Buns
If you live in a large North American city you’ll likely have access to a local Chinese restaurant that serves an authentic fried buns recipe.
Haven’t traveled to China before? It may be helpful to first sample Sheng Jian Bao at a local restaurant to better understand how it is served. You can determine how large to make the jian bao, how many to serve each guest and the ideal sauces to serve at the table for dipping.
In Toronto, popular Chinese restaurants that may serve Pan Fried Pork Buns include Not Just Noodles, Rol San, Chop Chop, Swatow, Hutaoli, Yueh Tung Hakka Restaurant and Crown Princess.
Our Chinese pan fried buns recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Pork is an excellent source of protein and provides several important vitamins and minerals. It’s an excellent source of thiamin, selenium, niacin, vitamin B-6 and phosphorus, zinc, riboflavin and potassium.
Scallions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Ginger contains at least 14 phytochemicals, many of which have impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a good source of copper, which supports your bones, blood and nervous system.
A useful source of copper, calcium, manganese, and phosphorus, sesame seeds help support circulatory, digestive and skeletal health.
Whole wheat flour is rich in vitamins B-1, B-3, and B-5, along with riboflavin and folate. It also has more iron, calcium, protein, and other nutrients than white flour.
Fried Buns Recipe Cooking Tips
This restaurant-style Chinese Pan Fried Buns recipe is quick and easy to make at home. We’ve included a few tips for first time Sheng Jian Bao makers!
- Use a large nonstick skillet to make pan fried buns to ensure they do not stick and break apart when heated.
- Make sure to use a skillet that has a tight fitting lid as the buns are cooked with steam.
- We’ve used Chinese Shaoxing wine in this recipe but you can substitute with dry sherry if you can’t find it at your local grocery store or Asian market.
- We’ve used ground pork because it is traditional but you can get use a mixture of minced chicken and beef if you prefer.
How To Fold Bao
The most challenging part of making Chinese Fried Buns is folding the dough correctly to make the dumplings. Watch this Sheng Jian Bao tutorial to learn how to perfect your dough pleating skills.
- Prepare the wrapper and the filling.
- Place the wrapper in your left hand. Drop 1 to 2 tablespoon of the filling in the center of the wrapper.
- Fix the starting point with the thumb of right hand and begin to fold the edge counterclockwise.
- Move the thumb slowly in the process.
- Repeat the steps to seal the Jian Bao completely.
What To Serve with Chinese Fried Buns
There’s nothing more comforting on a cold day then cozying up to a bowl of Chinese Fried Buns.
We like to enjoy these pan fried buns on their own for dim sum brunch or light lunch. If you’re hosting a fine Chinese feast serve pan fried pork buns as an appetizer.
Serve this fried pork buns recipe with a selection of sauces for dipping like rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and hot sauce.
If you’re hosting a multi-course Chinese dinner serve Jian Bao with your favourite noodle or rice dishes, and entrees featuring pork, chicken, beef or seafood.
Storing Leftover Sheng Jian Bao
If you have leftover Chinese Fried Buns you can store them in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
To reheat simply zap it in the microwave for 1 minute or simmer in a steamer basket to help rehydrate the dough wrapper and warm the interior.
You May Also Enjoy These Chinese Recipes…
- Easy Frozen Air Fryer Dumplings, Potstickers, Gyoza
- Chicken Yuk Sung Chinese Lettuce Wraps
- Singapore Chow Mei Fun Noodles
- Spicy Szechuan Hot and Sour Soup
- Chinese Wonton Egg Drop Soup
- Chinese Ginger Garlic Soup Recipe for Colds
- Green Onion Cake Cong You Bing
- Chinese Cucumber Salad
- Sweet and Sour Pork Meatball
How To Make Sheng Jian Bao Chinese Fried Pork Buns (VIDEO RECIPE)
Sheng Jian Bao Chinese Pan Fried Pork Buns
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- Mixing bowls
- Rolling pin
- Nonstick Fry Pan
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp White Sugar
- 1 tsp Dried Yeast
- 150 ml Lukewarm Water
- 250 g Ground Pork
- 2 tbsp Scallions finely chopped
- 1/2 tbsp Ginger minced
- 2 tsp Soy Sauce
- 1/2 tsp Shaoxing Rice Wine
- 1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
- 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 pinch Ground Sichuan Peppercorns
- 5 tbsp Chicken Stock
- 1 tbsp Canola Oil
- 1 cup Water
- 1/2 tsp Toasted Sesame Seeds
- 1 Scallion finely chopped
- Chili Oil or Shallot Oil
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast and sugar. Slowly pour in the water, stirring with a pair of chopsticks or a small fork.
- Knead with your hand until a smooth, elastic dough forms. Cover the bowl with a wet kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, approximately 60-90 minutes.
- Combine all of the ingredients, except for the chicken stock, in a large mixing bowl.
- Gradually add the stock, one spoon at a time, into the mixture.
- Knead the leavened dough on a lightly floured surface until it goes back to its original size.
- Divide the dough into 20 equal portions. Roll each piece into a disk-like wrapper with a rolling pin.
- Place the rolled dough in the palm of your hand and add 1 tablespoon of pork filling into the centre.
- Start wrapping the bun by folding and pinching the edge over itself, in one direction, until it is almost sealed. Then rotate and pinch the top of the pleats to fully seal the bun. Repeat with remaining dough pieces.
- Leave to rest for 15 minutes before frying.
- Heat the oil in a nonstick frying pan over a high heat. Place the buns into the pan. Once the bottom of the buns turn golden brown, pour the water into the pan and cover with a lid so they can steam, 8-10 minutes on medium low heat.
- Uncover the pan when the water evaporates completely. Cook for another 30 seconds until they get crispy.
- Transfer pork buns to a plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions.
- Serve hot with soy sauce, chili oil or shallot oil.
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