Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Buns

Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Buns | omnivorescookbook.comThis kimchi pork buns is really addictive. The steamed buns is fluffy and springy, filled with mouthwatering spicy kimchi and moist pork. Learn the trick to creating the BEST filling with only four ingredients! The recipe includes a video so you can easily nail the dish and impress all your friends!

You might have thought this was a Korean dish when you saw the title. The classic combination of the kimchi and pork is indeed very popular and commonly used in Korean cuisine. But my grandparents have been making kimchi and cooking with it for quite some time.

Immigration of Kimchi to China

Back in my grandparents’ day, there were few greenhouse-grown vegetables in China. The only choice of green vegetables in the winter was Chinese cabbage. Every family would store tons of this big cabbage and cook it every day. In order to make monotonous daily meals more interesting, people invented many different ways to cook with Chinese cabbage.

My mom’s family comes from Liaoning, a province in the northeastern part of China (东北, dong bei). If you look at a map of China, you’ll notice that Liaoning and North Korea are adjacent. There is actually a Korean minority in China, and most of its members live in the northeastern area. That is where my grandma learned how to pickle very authentic kimchi at home. Growing up, I never actually thought of kimchi as a foreign item. It has been blended into our daily meals seamlessly, and we cook various types of dishes with it, including kimchi fried rice, kimchi pancake, and kimchi meatball stew.

Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Buns | omnivorescookbook.com

The Addictive Four-Ingredient Filling

The kimchi bun is something new that I just recently tried. The idea for this evolved from an idea for kimchi dumplings. In the end, I decided that dumplings were too small to wrap the delicious kimchi filling, so I turned them into kimchi buns. This time, I asked for my mom’s assistance in wrapping the buns, since I was standing behind the camera and busy shooting the video! (read: I can’t wrap beautiful buns the way my mom does. Tried, still can’t…)

Why does the filling only contain four ingredients? Because kimchi is so pungent and flavorful by itself. Normally, I’d want to add garlic, green onion and sesame oil to create a standard northern Chinese style filling. But since kimchi already contains garlic and scallion, there is no need to add extra. The only thing I did is to add some soy sauce and cooking wine, to add a bit of saltiness and depth of flavor. The buns turned out so perfectly that I finished six in one sitting, AFTER DINNER!

Making the bun wrappers from scratch might look daunting, but it’s actually very easy. If you’ve ever made bread by yourself, you will find that the logic is essentially the same.

Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Buns | omnivorescookbook.com

How To Make Perfect Steamed Buns

  • Add plenty of water to make a very soft dough. The ratio in this recipe works very well for me every time. But the dough might require a bit more or less water, depending on the type of flour you use. My suggestion is to prepare 200 milliliters (7 ounces) of water and add 170 milliliters (6 ounces) according to recipe at first. If you have trouble blending all the dry flour with chopsticks, add a bit more water to the dry flour and keep mixing, until the dry flour is fully incorporated. If the dough turns too sticky and becomes difficult to handle, dust your hands with plenty of flour and add some dry flour onto the dough to make kneading easier.
  • Knead the dough until the surface becomes smooth, which means the water is incorporated evenly. It will take a few minutes. Kneading the dough thoroughly the first time will save you a lot of trouble later.
  • The fermentation time will vary depending on your room temperature. Check on the dough after two and a half hours. It might need as long as three hours to ferment.
  • Don’t panic if the dough becomes a super sticky mess and can’t be held by hand after it has rested. Dust the working surface with plenty of flour and use a plastic spatula (if necessary) to transfer the dough onto the working surface.
  • Knead the dough thoroughly and forcefully again, after it has rested, until its size has shrunk nearly to its original size. This will force the bubbles out of the dough, so the finished bun will have an even and smooth surface. If there are air bubbles left, the surface of the bun will be a bit coarse, but its taste won’t be affected.
  • Make bigger buns if you’re not familiar with the process, because this will allow you to use thicker wrappers and make it easier to wrap more filling.
  • Roll the wrappers so that they have thick centers and thin edges. The finished buns will have the same thickness all over, since you will pinch all the edges together to form a thick knot on the top of the bun.
  • Let the buns rest for another 15 to 20 minutes before steaming, so the dough can rise again and the finished buns will be fluffy. This is a crucial step that you should never skip.

Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Buns | omnivorescookbook.com

I admit this is a long post and the process might sound daunting and difficult. But trust me, if you try it out once, you will find it really easy. Most of the prep time is spent allowing the dough to rest. You only spend 40 minutes in active preparation and cooking. Even if you make a few mistakes, the buns will still turn out delicious. I actually found it easier to make steamed buns than potstickers, because you use thicker wrappers for the buns and don’t need to wrap so many of them to feed a bunch of people.

A final word, don’t make a big fuss over the shape of the buns. It takes some practice to wrap a beautiful bun (which I still can’t do!), and no matter what shape it ends up with, it will be super scrumptious!

I created a short video below to walk through the whole cooking process. If you like the video, don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel! I have a collection of cooking videos and it offers one of the fastest ways for you to get used to the techniques that are used in Chinese cooking!


4.9 from 7 reviews
Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Buns
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main, Snack
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 12 to 14 buns
Ingredients
For the dough
  • 250 grams (9 ounces) all-purpose flour plus extra to dust the working surface
  • 1 teaspoon instant dry yeast (or 1 and 1/2 active dry yeast)
  • 170 milliliters (6 ounces) water
For the filling
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) ground pork (lean-fat ratio 7:3)
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 300 grams (10 ounces) kimchi (*see footnote 1)
Instructions
  1. Combine flour and dry yeast in a large bowl and mix well. Prepare a small bowl with extra flour on the side.
    Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  2. Slowly pour the water into the bowl with the flour and yeast, mixing them with a pair of chopsticks. When the water is mixed with the flour, dust both hands with flour and start kneading to form dough. The dough should be quite soft and sticky. When dough has formed, dust the working surface with flour and dust hands again. Transfer the dough to the working surface and continue to knead the dough until the surface of the dough becomes smooth and its texture springy, about 5 minutes. Dust hands and the working surface with extra flour whenever the dough starts to feel sticky during the process.
    Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  3. Rinse a clean dish towel with water. Dust the bottom of a large bowl with flour and transfer the dough to it. Cover bowl with the damp dish towel and a lid (or plastic wrap). Let the dough rest until its size doubles, 2.5 to 3 hours (depending on room temperature) (*see footnote 2).
    Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  4. When the dough is almost ready, combine ground pork, Shaoxing wine, and soy sauce in a medium-sized bowl and mix well.
  5. Mince kimchi into small pieces. Add it to the ground pork and mix them well.
    Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  6. The dough should be very fluffy and sticky now. Dust the working surface and your hands with extra flour and transfer the dough onto the surface. Use a rubber spatula if the dough is too sticky and difficult to handle. Knead the dough repeatedly and add more flour if necessary, until the dough has shrunk almost to its original size and has become smooth and springy again, 3 to 5 minutes. The purpose of this step is to squeeze the air bubbles from the dough, so the bun will have a smooth texture once cooked.
    Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  7. To make the bun wrappers, divide the dough into two equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough a few times into a long stick, then further divide to make 12 to 14 small doughs in total (see footnote 3).
    Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  8. Dust the working surface again. Take one dough and roll it a few times, until shaped into a ball. Press the dough to a round disc and roll it with a rolling pin into a round sheet. Try to roll so that that the edge is thinner than the center. The edge should be 2 to 3 millimeters (about 0.1 inch) and the center 4 to 5 millimeters (0.2 inch) in thickness (*see footnote 4).
    Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.comAddictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  9. Scoop about 2 of tablespoons pork and kimchi filling and place it in the center of the wrapper. Hold the bun with one hand and start sealing the bun with the other hand (refer to the video to see how to fold a bun). Place the bun on the working surface and work on the rest of the doughs in the same manner.
    Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.comAddictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  10. Place a large container or a bowl upside down to cover the buns. Let them rest for 15 minutes.
    Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  11. Add water into a large pot and place the steaming rack on or in the pot, as the case may be. The water should be at least 3 centimeters (1 inch) below the steaming rack. Wet a clean kitchen towel and place it on the steaming rack (or you could cut baking parchment into a round shape to fit the steaming rack. Cut a few round holes in the parchment so the steam can go through). Carefully transfer the buns to the steaming rack, at least one finger’s width apart. Cook the buns in two to three batches if the steaming rack cannot fit all the buns. Add more water to the pot after each batch if the water level is running low.
    Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  12. Cover and cook over high heat (or highest heat for electric stove). When water starts to boil, turn to medium high heat and continue to cook for 10 minutes (12 minutes if you make 12 bigger buns), until the buns are cooked through. Stop heat and let the steam release for a few minutes. Carefully transfer the buns to a plate. Cook the remainder of the buns in the same way.
  13. Serve warm as main course or snack.
Notes
(1) You can use kimchi made form a whole cabbage, or chopped kimchi. The former has a more delicate flavor and better texture. If you’re using whole kimchi, drain the juice and add about 4 tablespoons of juice into the ground pork first, and mix well. If you want a less spicy bun, discard the kimchi juice. If you’re using the chopped kimchi from a package, the dish will taste spicier.
(2) I let the dough rest for 2.5 hours in the summer. In the winter, I usually need 3 hours, when room temperature is about 18 degrees C (64 F).
(3) The size of the bun is very flexible. The bigger the bun, the thicker the wrapper. A bigger bun is easier to handle for beginners.
(4) If you’re making 12 buns, roll the wrapper a bit thicker than this.

The nutrition facts are calculated based one 1 of the 12 buns generated by this recipe.

Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Bun nutrition facts | omnivorescookbook.com

Disclosure

Omnivore's Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Share:
Meet Maggie

Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my Austin, Texas kitchen.

Never Miss a Recipe!

Leave a Reply

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

Rate this recipe:  

37 thoughts on “Addictive Kimchi Pork Steamed Buns

  1. [email protected] Eats

    MAGGIE!! You are my HERO! I absolutely cannot WAIT to make these over the holiday!! My mum always has kimchi in the house and this is a brilliant way to use it! I love kimchi anything – fried rice, stew (have you tried David Chang’s Kimchi stew??!!), stir fry, noodles. But this is new to me and I already know it’s going to be DELICIOUS!!

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Me too, I love to use kimchi to cook everything, soup, stew, fried rice and even omelet. No, I haven’t tried the David Chang’s Kimchi stew, but I will now! Funny thing, when I cooked this for my dad the other day and asked how’s the flavor. He replied, super, but it doesn’t count because you have kimchi in it! No doubt, kimchi just makes everything better 🙂

      Reply
  2. Sarah

    These look amazing! I really enjoy eating kimchi and eating buns, but have yet to put kimchi into buns. What a great idea! Also your buns are folded very pretty!

    Reply
  3. Thalia @ butter and brioche

    These steamed buns definitely take me back to my asian heritage, my Chinese grandfather used to make pork steamed buns ALL the time.. and I used to love eating the recipe paper on the bottom. Thanks for the reminder Maggie, I definitely have to make these soon!

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      We have so many other versions to fill the buns and it includes vegetarian fillings too. For this recipe, I think ground beef or chicken should work too, but I haven’t tried out them yet. I will definitely cook the buns with some other fillings and publish them in the near future!

      Reply
  4. Kathleen | HapaNom

    Whoa! Seriously, WOW! This looking AMAZING!!!! I love steamed buns, but I’ve never had them with kimchi! I love kimchi! What a great combo! And omg, they’re so beautiful! Definitely pinning to make this!

    Reply
  5. Nancy

    Cannot wait to try and make these. Just one question. Did you mean milliliters instead of millimeters on the list of ingredients for the dough? 🙂

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Nancy, yes I meant to say milliliters! Gosh, thank so much for letting me know! Updating the recipe now.
      I’m glad to hear you like this recipe. Let me know how the cooking goes 🙂
      Many thanks again for the comment. Have a great weekend!

      Reply
  6. Sofia

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! Been gathering the ingredients for the past two days and I could only find yeast in a package. I believe it’s fresh yeast, would it also work? Thank you in advance 🙂

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Sofia, if you’re using fresh yeast, you should double the amount. I checked the yeast conversion, in this case you will need 2 teaspoons (about 5.6 grams) fresh yeast. Plus, fresh yeast requires the process of activing the yeast before using. So instead of add the fresh yeast into the flour, you should use hot water (90-100 C) to dissolve it first, and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Here is an article about activate fresh yeast that you can refer (http://www.wikihow.com/Activate-Fresh-Yeast). I haven’t tried to cook this one with fresh yeast yet, but the result should be the same. If you find the dough didn’t rise so well after 2 to 3 hours, you could let it rest for 1 or 2 more hours.
      By the way, when I was a kid, my grandmas used to use fresh yeast (by saving a part of the dough from last cooking and knead into the new dough). It worked well every time.
      Hope this is helpful. Happy cooking and let me know how it goes! 🙂

      Reply
      1. Sofia

        Thank you for the yeast tip. I managed to find some dry yeast, here is called baker’s yeast and let me tell you it was a success!! 😀 The dough tasted really good and it rise beautifully. For a first attempt at doing it I’m really pleased with how it turned out (well the folding part still needs A LOT of practicing but it gave them a homemade feel ahaha)

      2. Maggie Post author

        Hi Sofia, I’m so glad the buns turned out well and thanks so much for leaving all the kind words! I won’t think the folding is a big problem as long as you can keep the filling inside of the bun. I still cannot fold the buns as well as my mom, but I think they’re still delicious. And yep, homemade style they are 🙂
        Happy a great day!

  7. Christian

    Maggie…You..Are..Awesome!

    I’ve been to China a couple times (留学) and one of the things I miss the most are those Big Fresh 包子(Baozi) in the morning for breakfast. Add a 茶叶蛋 (tea egg) or some 紫米粥 (black rice porridge) and its seriously good eats!

    But prior to a few days ago I had never even Dared to try and make these lovely steamed buns I loved so much during my stay in China. But your recipe seemed so easy and your video was so helpful, I decided to give it a go and try to make them for the Chinese New Years party I threw on Friday.

    With 20ish people coming, it was a risk (especially for a first time try) but they came out Beautifully! Had all of my Chinese friends compliment how great the dough was and how tasty the filling was. Though I did sub the pork for Lamb and Chicken (what I had on hand) it was pretty excellent.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Will be watching this blog closely for now on 🙂

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Christian, thanks so much for all the kind words! You just made my day 🙂 And I’m really happy to hear the video is useful.
      Cooking for 20 people is really challenging. I’m really glad to hear the cooking went well and your friends like it too. I’m so flattered!
      For the filling of the bun, I think the substitution with chicken and lamb should be no problem at all. I’d like to try it out next time and mention in the recipe.
      By the way, thanks for mentioning the black rice porridge. I like that one a lot and I’d like to post the recipe later. Great idea!
      If there are more recipes you’d like to learn in the future, please feel free to drop me a message. I always enjoy developing new recipes that my reader requires 🙂
      Have a great day!

      Reply
  8. Rachel

    My husband and I started making our own kimchi a while ago. We usually end up with really strong stuff because we don’t eat it frequently. We usually end up looking for something to do to use it up so we can start a fresh batch, and I came across this recipe. I’ve made it once before, and these buns are fantastic! I am making them again tonight for dinner, and I must say they do look better this time around (but I doubt they will ever be as beautiful as your mom’s). I can’t wait to try different fillings! These will be perfect for summer time as no oven is needed. Thank you for the wonderful and delicious way to use up my kimchi!

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Rachel, I’m so glad to hear you used me recipe and like it! I haven’t tried out yet, but another reader reported that you could replace the pork with chicken or lamb meat. I’m pretty sure you can use the recipe for making different fillings too. Very happy to hear that you will make these buns again! Thanks for leaving such a nice comment 🙂
      Happy cooking!

      Reply
  9. [email protected] Sweet Life

    Wow, Maggie, this is so awesome! And the buns are gorgeous! I watched every minute of your video–you did such an amazing job! I’ll definitely be coming back to this in the future!

    Reply
  10. cynthia

    I am a million years late, but oh my gosh, these buns! This kimchi pork filling sounds unreal and I can’t get over how beautifully the buns are pleated. Everything about this is amazing!

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment Cynthia! Kimchi is indeed a magical ingredient and it turns all sorts of the dishes even better 🙂

      Reply
  11. Joanna

    Hi Maggie,

    Just now Maggie I know hehe but I’ve seen this recipe million times it’s amazing and I can’t wait to try this. I’m just curious about the dough, did you use a water in room temperature only? I made a few mistakes in making dough (hard/tough) and I don’t want that to happen anymore it makes me feel so frustrated. Thanks Maggie!

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Joanna, I’m glad to hear you’re going to try out this recipe! Yes, the water I used in this recipe is room temperature. If you’re using a kitchen scale and follow the recipe, the dough should turn out tender. If it turns out a bit tough, just let the dough rest longer, so it will turn very tender eventually. Also, make sure you let the buns rest again before starting steaming. This is very important too.
      Happy cooking and let me know how the dish turns out 🙂

      Reply
  12. Sue

    Hi Maggie, I can’t wait to try out this beautiful recipe. I’m just wondering on the steaming part. Do you place the buns in the room temperature water pot and turn on the heat until it boil then lower the heat or do you place them in with already boiled water? Would this make any different???
    Thanks a bun, Maggie.

    P.S. Do you think letting the dough rest in the warm oven would make it tough? Thanks again.

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Sue, to answer you question, you should place the buns in the pot with room temperature water and turn on the heat until it boils, and then keep cooking until the buns are cooked. It shouldn’t make a big different if you place them in the pot with already boiled water, but we always follow the former practice.
      You should able to let the dough rest in the warm oven without any problem, as long as the temperature is low enough. We never tried this method, but we used to put the bun in near a heater in winter. The dough will rise faster this way.

      Reply
  13. Krysia

    Chinese cabbage is a bit hard to come by now and not in season ( in Poland), so is regular fermentented cabbage a good substitute? I make the cabbage a little spicier than the regulsar Polish version with chili pepper, so I guess adding the garlic and scallion would be recommended for this recipe? I am grateful for any modifications or suggestions 😉

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Krysia, I believe the Polish Sauerkraut will work in this recipe. You’re totally right, adding a few cloves of grated garlic, finely chopped green onion, and some grated ginger (this is optional), will make them tasted closer to this recipe 🙂
      Happy cooking and let me know how the dish turns out!

      Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Cindy, I suggest you to freeze the cooked buns. The dough uses yeast and the steaming process will finish up the final leavening process. If you freeze the raw buns, the dough won’t turn out very fluffy.

      Reply