Monday, February 10, 2014

Liu Sha Bao / Chinese Molten Salted Egg Custard Steamed Buns 流沙包

Being Asian or not, most of my Aussie friends and I love love love Chinese custard steamed buns. However, not all Chinese custard steamed buns are exactly the same. Being Asian, I know that there is a few variants of custard steamed buns... 

  • Some contain salted duck eggs but some don't... especially the cheap frozen ones sold in Asian groceries. Typically, salted duck eggs are quite expensive. To keep the cost of manufacturing, salted duck egg yolks are never added into these cheap buns.
  • Some contain coconut milk but some don't... especially non the southern-Asia-originated ones.
  • Some contains evaporated or condensed milk but some don't...
  • Some has flowing molten filling but some are not...

Liu Sha Bao (流沙包) meaning flowing filling buns (Chinese) is actually a variant of Lai Wong Bao (奶黄包) meaning custard steamed buns (Chinese) but has a flowing molten filling instead of having a traditional firm custard filling. After reading this fantastic recipe by The 350 Degree Oven, it seems that making my own delicious flow-y Liu Sha Bao with high Hong Kong Dim Sum / Yum Cha restaurants standard is not difficult at all and absolutely possible. Here, I'm curious to try...

Chinese molten salted egg custard steamed buns
Mission possible - My homemade Liu Sha Bao!
Making the "molten" custard filling is easy!
This is how the fillings keep their shapes before steaming.
To make the bao dough, you can use either the above type of flour as shown.
Divide the bao dough into portions...
I made the buns with two kinds of fillings with no custard powder or with custard powder...
Beware! Remember NOT to over-steam the buns as over-heated filling will explode!
I was like... Wooh!!! seeing this... the custard flowed out like crazy immediately after steaming.
It contains better after cooling down a little bit...
This is the bao with extra milky custard filling with custard powder.
liu sha bao custard steamed buns
I'm loving this bun... every single bit!

Yes that these custard buns are similar to those selling in Hong Kong Dim Sum / Yum Cha restaurants.

Yes that these custard buns are a bit rich but they are extremely yummy!

Both fillings with custard powder or no custard powder are equally good! I reckon that the preference of filling is highly depending on each individual. For those who like more buttery and milky flavours, you will like the filling with no custard powder which is extra creamy and rich. For those who like more custard-y or rich yolk flavours, you will like the filling with custard powder which is smooth and flavoursome. I'm more towards the custard kind of person and so I like the custard one slightly more than the other.

Here's the recipe mostly adapted from The 350 Degree Oven
(converted from cups to grams, making reasonable amount to avoid massive amount of leftover for our small family)

Makes 10 buns with 2 extra custard fillings

Salted Egg Custard Filling with custard powder:
Makes 12 portions of filling
3 salted duck eggs, fully cooked, shelled and use egg yolks only
60g unsalted butter, soften
50g icing sugar
30g custard powder
45g dry milk powder
5g cornflour

30ml coconut milk (I used Ayam regular coconut milk)

Salted Egg Custard Filling with NO custard powder (mostly adapted from Baking Diary):
Makes 9 portions of filling
3 salted duck eggs, fully cooked, shelled and use egg yolks only
60g unsalted butter, soften
30g icing sugar
5g cornflour

30g dry milk powder
25ml coconut milk (I used Ayam regular coconut milk)

Bao Dough:
280g flour, preferably with 7-9% protein content
(Sadly, I wasn't able to find any Hong Kong flour when I made these bao and so I used Lighthouse low protein, self-raising bleached flour which is also suitable to make steamed buns.)
1/2 tsp baking powder
(If you are using flour which is NOT self raising, please add this. Otherwise, please omit this.)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
15g sugar
1 tbsp canola oil
125-140ml water (It was a dry day when I made these and I used 140ml)

Custard Filling:
Make the filling one day ahead.

Using a fork, mash the salted duck egg yolks into fine crumbs. Using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer, beat butter and icing sugar in medium speed until combined. Lower mixing speed to low and add the remaining ingredients and mix until well-combined.

Refrigerate the custard filling until cold and firm. When firm, use a cookie scoop to scoop out and divide the custard into 12 portions.  Place the custard balls on a plate or container (lined with cling wrap for easier removal, optional), freeze it overnight with a cover or cling wrap.

Tip: You can keep any unused filling in the freezer and use them anytime when you make any bao dough.

To make bao dough:
Place the sugar, salt, oil, and water in the bottom of the breadmaker pan. Top with flour (with or without baking powder). Add yeast the last and switch on the machine with "dough” setting.

If breadmaker is not available, combine all bao ingredients and knead to form a smooth dough (at least 20 mins) and then let it rise for 1 hr.

When the dough is ready, divide into 10 portions. Meanwhile, set water to boil in a steamer.

Flatten the dough pieces with your hands, and place a frozen custard filling ball in the center. Pinch up the sides of the dough to completely enclose the filling.

Place each bao on each paper cup liner or a small piece of baking paper with its seam sides down. Rest the bao in warm mist for 10-15 mins.

Steam baos for about 8-15 mins until done. The steam timing varies if you have multiple layers of baos to steam. The layer that is closest to the direct steam will take 8 mins to cook.

Beware! Please DO NOT over-steam!!! Otherwise, the custard filling will explode out of the bao.

Serve immediately but beware that the molten filling is steaming hot!

Happy Steaming!

I'm submitting this post to the Hong Kong / Macau event of Asian Food Fest (AFF) organised by Wendy, Table for 2 and hosted by Annie, Annielicious Food.

80 comments:

  1. Zoe....Zoe....Zoe.....you wouldnt believe it if I tell you this....last whole night and till this morning I wake up, I been browsing the web in searching for liu sha bao. I just couldnt find one that I really wanted to try it out. And now....I got you from facebook. You make me so happy on this Monday morning! Ok now...got to study your recipe first and off I go to stores to get my ingredients. Thank you.....muah....muah....muah....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Catch catch catch... Catching your kisses... Hope that you like this Liu Sha Bao recipe! I have say they are really really really heavenly good!!!

      Muah... muah... muah back to you :p

      Delete
  2. Hi Zoe , two words , deliciously good ... yum yum

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  3. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe! Oh gawd, look at the creamy custard oozing out, I had to look at that picture for like 10x, haha..
    Erm, even here in KL, I don't even know what it's called in Cantonese (izit ham dan sou?), I only know in English - custard buns.. *malu*

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  4. I have never tried such buns. They look so yummy :)

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  5. This is getting very popular. Thanks for sharing, Zoe...... drooling over the custard...slurp!

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  6. Zoe,
    Oh my... This Liu Sa Bao Custard Bun is a dim sum to die for <3

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  7. Good morning Zoe, this dim sum look really attractive. You are great ! Like ... Like ...

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  8. OMG! I'm drooling over these buns now. This is wonderful!

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  9. Wah Zoe! You know this is my kids favorite bao... they always order this when we go for dim sum. Reading your post, it seems tht it will be possible for me to make too at home :) Thx for sharing.

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  10. Hi Zoe, this is one of our favourite buns! I am always looking out for this whenever we are having dim sum. Yours look absolutely perfect - drooling.

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  11. once again i learn a lot from u....i had been tempted for months to make these but have been lazy.... and now i'm sitting up for sure... lovely buns Zoe!!

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  12. OMG! My favourite liu-sha bao! Will definitely save this recipe up and bake them when my little confident is up! Hehe!

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  13. Yum Yum Yummy! Making everyone drooling over the oozing custard filling hahahhaaaaha...
    I made once before however didn't manage to have the custard lava, thanks for sharing the recipe, I should made the effort to try one more time :)

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  14. Zoe, this is one of my favourite dim sums to eat ever!!! Each time I go eat dim sum, I must surely eat this. I love it to bits!! You have absolutely nailed this one! I had been looking at the same recipe for sometime now but dare not even attempt it at all. You have upp-ed my confidence level already :) Hope I can make this very very soon :)

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  15. THIS IS AMAZING, ZOE!!! i love these buns, but unfortunately i'm the only one who likes it in my family =( maybe i'll make a batch and freeze them! thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

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  16. Great technique freezing the filling. Drooling looking at your liu sa bao :)

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  17. Zoe, I absolutely love your runny creamy filling!

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  18. I made these once only, So difficult in wrapping the pao into proper pao shape, erm, I'm not good at it.
    They look super delicious to me!!

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  19. looks absolutely delish..yummy...

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  20. That looks amazing. I am sure it is a lot of fun seeing the custard ooze out like that.

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  21. Hi Zoe,
    These baos look wonderful! Even though I am not a big fan of baos, I do not mind having it once in a while. A pot of warm Chinese tea would be perfect!

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  22. Drooling, drooling, drooling ... I can already imagine tasting the hot and creamy custard filling oozing out from the bun. Yum! Yum! This is one of my favourite dim sum. Thanks for sharing Zoe. Happy Valentine's Day!

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  23. It is a different recipe. Seems to me delicious...

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  24. Your baos look incredible Zoe - the filling is amazing! I love seeing all these classic chinese pastries and baos you make - they always turn out beautifully and look delicious :)

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  25. Drooling! OMY Zoe this look amazing and Im sure delicious!!xx

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  26. OMG! These are my favorites at dim sum...I cannot leave dim sum without having this buns filled with the creamy running, sweet, savory filling...yours look decadent...perfect!
    Have a great week Zoe :D

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  27. You are always introducing me to something new! I've never heard of these treats before and am desperate to try one! Thank you!

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  28. Oh, my hubby loves these buns! I never find a good one from the frozen one! Thanks for sharing the recipes! I'm sure my hubby would eat al least 1/2 a dozen of them! Cheers!

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  29. My family's favourite buns at dim sum restaurants! So nicely made with the flowing custard filling. Delicious!

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  30. Wow! Your liu sha bao really liu out :P love how puffy and tall your baos are, mine were flat after steaming! Lovely indeed…will try the custard version when I get the cravings to make some:D

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  31. I love all the Chinese bakeries around here, as well as dim sum. These looks really tasty!

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  32. Hi Zoe, I think you have become more "Chinese" than I knew you in the beginning. I mean, you are still Chinese, what I meant is your cooking. I can see more Asian cooking/baking coming out from your post these days than before. The way you describe how you eat them make me feel very hungry now, you must throw a few over here now. Happy Chap Goh May & Valentine's Day. You still celebrate V's Day?

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  33. What can I replace dry milk powder with? Because I don't have it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      You can try to add more custard powder or coconut milk powder but I'm NOT sure if the filling will be as good as what I made. For the best result, I still think that you shouldn't substitute milk powder with anything else. Why not buy it from the nearest supermarket? :D

      Zoe

      Delete
  34. Hi Zoe,

    How do I prepare the raw salted egg yolks? I tried both boiling and baking, but couldn't mesh them into fine crumbs. It turned out to be small little cube-like 'crumbs'. D: Kindly advise on what am I doing wrong. Thanks! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      The salted eggs that I used have been cooked. Due to Australian quarantine law, salted raw eggs are prohibited for import and they have to be cooked. You can cook raw salted egg by boiling them in water for 15-20 mins. I realise that some parts of the egg yolk can be lumpy but most can be easily meshed into fine crumbs. If you are concern about the lumpy crumbs, you can use a processor to process your mixture. Cheers!

      Zoe

      Delete
  35. Hi, I tried making this today but the filling did not flow at all even though i followed the instructions stated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Did you steam the buns long enough? Are the filing still cool when you eat them? They need to be warm and melted in order to be flow-y.

      Zoe

      Delete
  36. Hi, my liu sa bao skin is breaking when I start steam. Can I know why?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      May I know at which start of steaming does the breaking happen? Which part of the buns did they break? The top or the bottom sealing end? If the buns are steamed for too long, the over-heated filling can break the buns causing the filling to ooze out. If the breaking happen when you first started to steam, you might be adding too much baking powder (if it break at its top) or you didn't seal the buns well enough (if it break at its bottom).

      Cheers!

      Zoe

      Delete
  37. Your bao looks amazing. Very keen to try. Could u help me with a basic question...am very new to bao making. What does "rest bao in warm mist" mean?

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    Replies
    1. Hi,

      The warm mist creates a warm and nice environment for the yeast to produce gas to fluff up the bao texture while resting. Ideally, it should be about 37°C for the yeast to be happy.

      Hope that you get great success with your bao making.

      Zoe

      Delete
    2. Thank you Zoe. To create the warm mist, can I just put the pao in the steamer over boiling water, but not put the steamer lid on?

      Delete
    3. Hi,

      It is best not to use boiling water and the mist that you create might be too warm. I would prefer to use lukewarm water and place the lid to trap the mist inside the steaming area.

      Zoe

      Delete
    4. Thank u, Zoe!

      Delete
  38. Hi Zoe.
    Gr8 looking baos! Can I substitute the salted eggs with normal hard boiled egg yolks?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      I have not tried using this recipe with this substitution. Personally, I think it should work but I think your filling might be a little less fragrant??? I don't really know... Sorry!

      Zoe

      Delete
  39. wingedshadowwolfJune 21, 2014 at 6:17 AM

    Wow these look good! I hope mine turn out like that!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi Zoe, thanks for sharing of the Liu Sha Bao recipe. I tried steaming 7 mins and 4 mins but my filing does not flow. May I know you use hot water or cold water to steam the bao.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Wei,

      I have steamed these buns again and they are as good as I did in this post. The water that I used in my electric steamer doesn't need to be boiling hot but it was lukewarm at the beginning of the steaming and definitely have to steam more than 7 mins.

      I have noticed that your custard buns has become slightly flat and there are some traces of leaking molten custard at the sides of some of your buns. I think it is flowing but it might get absorbed into your bao and they don't look flowing to you. May I ask if you have added too much water into your bao dough? It seems to me that they don't have much strength to support their shapes.

      Zoe

      Delete
    2. Hi Zoe,

      I have the same problem. I have tried make this bao twice and both result is taste good but not in good shape ( the bao flatten down even during the proofing time)
      so when making this bao for the second time, I tried to skip the proofing part. I steamed it straight away after finish wrapped all the bao and the result is my bao dough not rised and the shape of the bao shape also flattened.
      do you have any suggestions to solve this problem?

      Delete
    3. Hi,

      Like I mentioned to Wei, have you try kneading with lesser amount of water? The origin of the flour that we use result in slightly lesser liquid required to make our bao. I have noticed that the humidity can make a lot of difference. In Australia, we are less humid than all tropical countries.

      Hope that my suggestion helps.

      Zoe

      Delete
  41. Thanks for your time to answer my question. Oh I do not know if add too much water the bao will not have strength to support the shape. No wonder my bao become flat not like the 1st time I did. Now I learned. Already bought new duck eggs will try it out again. ^^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Wei,

      No worries! Hope that your next batch of bao will be successful with lots of flowy custard fillings. Cheers!

      Zoe

      Delete
  42. Hi Zoe,

    I was wondering if it was possible to substitute the milk powder used in the filling?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, I have not tried using this recipe without milk powder or using other ingredient to substitute this. Without the milk powder, the filling wouldn't be solid enough to hold its shape and wouldn't recommend you to omit the milk powder.

      Zoe

      Delete
  43. HI, if I want to make to freeze, would u know at which stage I can freeze? After wrapping or i have to steam them to cooked first?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      I have tried to freeze the steamed leftover buns before and they are still ok when they re-steamed. I don't think you can freeze the uncooked buns as the freezing process will damage the texture of the uncooked buns.

      Zoe

      Delete
  44. Hi Zoe,

    I couldn't find any active dry yeast in my area. Can i substitute it with instant yeast instead? If yes, how should I alter the recipe and rising time? Thank you in advance! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Huiwen,

      I think both active dry yeast and instant yeast that you are referring are the same. Is your instant yeast the wet kind? If it is the dry kind, it is the same.

      Cheers!

      Zoe

      Delete
  45. Hi Zoe,
    Finally found some time to make my hubby's fav bao! Have substitute the milk powder with creamer powder. So hope it taste well.
    Just wondering how can I make the dough w/o a breadmaker? As I dun have one.��

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Aries,

      I hope that your substitution works! If it works, please let me know!!!

      You can knead the bao dough by hand or by electric mixer with a hook attachment. Essentially, you have to make sure that the dough is smooth after you knead it.

      Hope that your hubby will like these.

      Zoe

      Delete
  46. Hi Zoe!

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I've tried&it's really nice! My family love them! <3 But I want to ask you if it's possible that I replace the bao dough with bread dough and bake them instead? :)

    Thank you! ^^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      I love to explore the possibility of baking molten custard bread but all the store-bought molten custard bread that I have tried are either having their molten custard absorbed into their bread dough or not molten at all after the buns are cooled from baking. For this reason, I have not tried using any recipe including this (with bread flour) to bake molten custard buns. If it works for you, please let me know and I'm happy to try. Cheers!

      Zoe

      Delete
    2. Hi Zoe,

      Now I see why they are usually steamed. Thank you, Zoe! ^^

      Delete
  47. Hi Zoe, how to tell if the dough has kneaded correctly and how to tell if it has risen to the right level?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      The dough has to be smooth on its surface when it is effectively kneaded and the dough has to be proved until double its size. Cheers!

      Zoe

      Delete
  48. Hi Zoe, tks for your great recipe. I tried it today and it tasted great! However, I noticed that my fillings is not as flowy as shown in your website. I tried to steam half a min longer and the filling burst out.... Can I use a greater amount of coconut milk to make it more flowy? Also, is the corn flour a must as I forgot to add it.... haha... Tks! Irene

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Irene,

      Nice to know that you like this recipe. I'm not entirely sure if the increase addition of coconut milk will make the filling extra flowy. I would assume that the cornflour absorbed the moisture of the filling before steaming and also thicken the filling when they are cooked. I would have thought that your filling without cornflour should be more liquid-like if you prefer something more flowy.

      I will keep your suggestion in my mind and love to try other liu sha bao recipes and see which one is more flowy. Cheers!

      Zoe

      Delete
  49. Hi! Zoe thks for sharing yr recipe but for d part regarding " Rest the bao in warm mist for 10-15 mins." can u explains wat does dis mean? TIA!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      The warm mist creates a warm and nice environment for the yeast to produce gas to fluff up the bao texture while resting. Ideally, it should be about 37°C for the yeast to be happy.

      Zoe

      Delete
  50. Hi Zoe,
    Thanks for sharing this great recipe.
    But I have some problem need to ask you. My liu sha bao result is flattened down , may I know why? Even before steamed it, the bao shape already start to be flattened and not rise well. Is this because the custard filling cold so the bao wont rise well?
    I'm using the same dough with meat filling, and the shape turn out good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      I'm guessing that either you have added too much water into your bao dough or the flour that you used is not giving your bao not enough strength to support its shape. You can try use a different brand of flour or add lesser water.

      If you use a solid type of filling like meat filling, you don't really have make sure that your bao must have sufficient support to hold its shape as the filling itself can also help to hold the bao in shape too.

      Zoe

      Delete
  51. Hi Zoe

    Can i ask, if the bun has cooled with it be not flowy at all?
    And will the bao absorb away the moisture in the liu sha making it hard after its cooled?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      I have tried re-heating the buns after they have been cooled and their fillings are still flowy. As the fillings are mostly fat content, they will harden into its original state when they are cooled.

      Zoe

      Delete
  52. Hi, if I were to use Hong Kong flour do I need to add e baking powder? Can cake flour be used for e recipe?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Yes, you need to add baking powder if you are using Hong Kong flour. You can use cake flour flour too but please check that the protein content is 7-9%. If the protein content is too low, the bao will collapse with no much strength and structure. If your cake flour is unbleached, your bao will not be white like the ones made with Hong Kong flour (which is bleached).

      Cheers!

      Zoe

      Delete

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