Xiao Bao / Smiling Bao

For more update detail info please also visit my website Dim Sum Smiling Bao
and similar recipe using fatt kou method Char Siu Fatt Kou Bao ( improved and easier method


I have always been fascinated by those smiling bao which they served in Dim Sum restaurant. I always wanted to try it out but I did not have any Hong Kong Flour. Yesterday as I was going through the pantry, I saw this packet of Super lite flour, partly used. I decided to use it on these smiling bao recipe. This recipe was adapted from Lily's wak blog with some modifications. This is my 2nd attempt in trying to make these bao(s) smile at me. LOL. The 1st attempt using a different recipe, the Bao(s) did not smile. Judging from this recipe and comments given by readers , the important steps and ingredients in this recipe is the starter dough and ammonia bi- carbonate

Starter Dough
4ozs (113g) Pau/Hong Kong flour
1/2 tsp instant yeast,
1/2 tbsp castor sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) water
Adjust water, a little at a time, until a slightly wet dough is achieved.

1. Mix all the ingredients together and knead into a smooth dough.
2. Leave it in a deep bowl and covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and prick a few holes on the wrap.
3. Leave it in a warm place to proof for at least 4 hours.
5. After 4 hours, it should be foamy and yeasty and double in size.

Main Dough
4 ozs Starter Dough
2 ozs fine granulated sugar
1 tsp double action baking powder (1/2 x2)
1/2 tsp Ammonia bicarbonate (
A tiny drop of potassium carbonate & sodium bi-carbonate solution a.k.a. Kan Sui
3 tsp water
1 tbsp lard/shortening/vegetable oil
5 tbsp pau flour
4 tbsp wheat starch

1. 4ozs of starter dough. Add in 2 ozs fine granulated sugar. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved.
2. Mix 1/2 tsp double action baking powder, 1/2 tsp ammonium bicarbonate, a drop of kan sui with 2 tsp water.
Mix to dissolve and add in to starter dough mixture. Mix well to combine.
3. Add in 5 tbsp Pau flour and 4 tbsp wheat starch and knead to a soft dough.
(a little more water might be needed as it depends on how wet the starter dough is).
4. Add in 1 tbsp lard/shortening/vegetable oil and knead well.
5. Flatten dough and spread it out, dissolve 1/2 tsp double action baking powderwith 1 tsp water, rub this all over the spread out dough.
6. Fold the dough in and knead well, so that all the baking powder is well spread.
7. Divide dough into 8 - 10 portions, depending on how big a Pau/Bao you want.
8. Flatten one portion and put 1 tsp of Char Siew Filling or filling of your desire. Pick up the edges and wrap up the filling, make sure that there is more dough on top, it will ensure smiling blossom. You do not have to pleat just ensure that the edges are sealed well.
9. Place filled Pau/Bao on top of a piece of parchment paper, put it onto a steamer and cover with a damp cloth. Continue to fill up the other portions.
10. Bring the water and 1 tbsp vinegar in a steamer to high boil.
11.Spray the filled Paus/Baos with water lightly, do not drown them and put to steam for 12 minutes.
Ensure that the water is on boiling high. The hotter the steam, the better the SMILE.
12 When the Paus/Baos are ready, remove from the steamer and allow it to cool.
Do not serve them as the smell of the ammonium bicarbonate has not dissipate. After cool down, re steam again for another 12 minutes before serving.

* For more update detail info please also visit my website Dim Sum Smiling Bao

and similar recipe more simple  using fatt kou method Char Siu Fatt Kou Bao

1 comment:

  1. I've tried many recipes but the bao turned out just...ok (not the best). Your recipes is a great success. I will stop looking for a new recipe. Thank you so much for sharing. Thank you...thank you...