Love and Olive Oil

Steamed Buns with Kale and Bok Choy

Asian Steamed Buns with Kale and Bok Choy

Project: use up all the greens continues.

I wasn’t joking when I said we got a ton of greens.

Especially when you consider we made both these and the winter greens beignets the same week.

I’ve never had a authentic steamed bun, so making them from scratch was ambitious to the say the least. But the result was incredibly satisfying, despite the fact that traditional bao (buns) are usually filled with pork. There’s nothing about this mushroom, kale, and bok choy filling that comes up lacking. It has a heartiness and a sweetness that masks any and all of the bitterness that most winter greens tend to harbor.

If you don’t have one of these amazing bamboo steamers, I suggest you make room for one in your kitchen immediately (tip: they make great potato/onion storage when you’re not using them). We should really use ours more. And now that we’ve discovered the miracle that is steamed dough, we just might. Simply place the steamer over a pot of simmering water (or if you have a wok the steamer can be placed down inside of it, as long as it sits above the water and not in it). Fill it with whatever fish, veggies, dumplings, or buns you’d like. It’s a quick and healthy alternative to sauteing or even baking.

And I’m all for healthy.

It means I can eat more cake after dinner. :)

Steamed Buns with Kale and Bok Choy

Did you make this recipe?


For Dough:
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon honey
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain almond milk or soy milk, at room temperature

For Filling:
1/2 pound trimmed kale or mustard greens
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
10 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 large shallots, minced
1/2 pound bok choy, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped basil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chile sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Sriracha sauce, for serving (optional)


In a large bowl, combine the warm water, honey and yeast and let stand until foamy, 10 minutes. In another bowl, whisk the flour with the salt. Stir the almond milk into the yeast mixture, then stir in the flour. Knead the dough gently until smooth but still slightly sticky; transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, 50 minutes.

In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the greens until just tender, 1 minute. Drain well, let cool and squeeze dry, then coarsely chop.

In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the mushrooms, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and shallots and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the bok choy, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the greens, chives, basil, soy sauce and sweet chile sauce and remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper and let cool.

Cut out sixteen 3 1/2-inch parchment paper squares. Punch down the dough and transfer to a floured work surface. Form it into a rectangle and cut into 16 equal pieces. Using floured hands, roll each piece of dough into a ball. Sprinkle the balls with flour, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

Working with 4 pieces of dough at a time, roll the balls out to 4-inch rounds, dusting with flour as needed. Fill each round with about 3 tablespoons of the filling. Bring the edge of the round up and over the filling and pinch the seam closed in pleats. Set the buns seam side down on the parchment squares and transfer to a baking sheet in the refrigerator until all of the buns are filled.

In a deep skillet or wok, bring 1 1/2 inches of water to a boil. Set a bamboo or metal steamer over the water. Arrange 4 buns parchment side down in the steamer. Cover and steam over moderately high heat until the dough is tender and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Steam the remaining buns. Serve plain or with Sriracha.

Recipe from Food and Wine.

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

Did you make this recipe?

Let us know what you think!
Leave a Comment below or share a photo and tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #loveandoliveoil.

There may be affiliate links in this post. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Now THIS is the recipe I was looking for! They look absolutely beautiful! So simple, yet so elegant. I’m excited to give these a try!

  2. Wow. I made these for dinner and they are amazing!
    Thank you so much! I used 2% Milk instead of soy and I was wondering what the difference is? I’ll have to try it. :)

  3. Thanks for posting this! Student groups at my college used to sell these all the time to raise money, but I hadn’t had one in years. I wish I’d known sooner how easy they are to make! You also inspired me to use the steamer basket that came with my rice cooker for the first time – my paranoia about scalding myself was definitely not warranted!

  4. Hi! Great tasting recipe. I took one shortcut though…..I used Canned biscuit dough instead of going scratch. It is just so much easier/quicker. Try it sometime, I think you’ll be surprised at how good things turn out. It can kinda spoil a person…..

  5. This sounds delish! I love dimsums and this is such a great vegetarian option. Yummy!

  6. This look wonderful. I wanted to know if I could use regular milk or 2% instead of almond or soy?

  7. Yum! I need to try this at home!!

  8. Gosto muito, Parabéns pelo site

  9. Steamed buns are on my Top 10 Favorite Foods list, for sure.

    I’ve made them only once, and without stuffing (I like plain mantao dipped in soy or spicy sauce), but would love to try out this delicious-sounding kale and bok choy filling!

  10. OMG!!! I am eating these as we speak, amazing, amazing, amazing! The only correction I have to suggest is that in the recipe it says to add the chives, but it isn’t listed in the ingredients list. EVERYONE READING THIS, stop what you are doing and steam these babies up! Thanks for the recipe!

  11. These look so good! I’m always looking for new uses for greens, too; and I love steamed buns. I will have to make these for my recovering vegetarian boyfriend. Thanks!

  12. Have you tried cake flour instead of all purpose? There is this texture. airiness, and lightness of NYC steamed buns that I cannot duplicate.

  13. Very beautiful buns! And perfect for January when everyone is in need of a few fresh greens. Lovely post.

  14. Will definitely be trying this recipe. Steamed pork buns are one of my all time favourite foods, but I am always conscious that they aren’t very healthy. Here is the perfect alternative. And it looks utterly utterly utterly delicious. Great post – thank you.

  15. Oh that looks good! I never had a steamed bun, but your looks wonderful! I bet I’d love it!!

  16. I love the filling, sounds great with all the greens. And any excuse for me to get to eat cake is a good one!

  17. Fabulous, just fabulous. Love the flavors. Keep the greens coming!

  18. I didn’t know steamed buns were so easy. I have a steamer. Now I just need to discover the miracle that is steamed bread, too! Fun!

  19. Yay for greens!

  20. These are absolutely beautiful! I LOVE Asian Steamed Buns.

  21. Beautiful buns, ma’am :)

  22. Right before leaving Montreal (2 days, I believe) I had the most amazing steamed Asian buns and I have been wanting to make that kind of dough myself. This makes me feel like it’s possible! Thanks so much!

  23. Steaming is such a good (and healthy!) way to cook things, I really should do it more often – starting with these!

  24. These are lovely!

  25. This looks delicious. My mom keeps wanting to teach me her recipe for steamed buns but I was uninspired until now :)

  26. I would love to try these. I have a steamer insert for my pasta pot. Think that would work?

  27. Oh. My. Lord. Yes.

  28. these are SO DELICIOUS!! i love that you made these from scratch!! I’m totally craving one now, Lindsay!

  29. omg. i need to make these. i love steamed buns and these are healthy too!

  30. Oh wow, these look delicious!

  31. Hmmmm – these look amazing! I don’t think I could have just one or two or three.

  32. I love bao zi, and had a ton (vegetarian ones, too, they were amazing!) in China last summer. I have to say it intimidates me to try and make them myself, but they do look perfect. Yumm!

  33. i absolutely love steamed asian buns and have been thinking about making them- however i never thought of making the dough myself (i was just going to use the pre-made ones in the freezer aisle of the asian market)! this is inspiring and your buns look lovely. i’ll be bookmarking this recipe for sure :)

  34. I love the filling! Very nice!

Did you make this recipe? Leave a Review »