Chinese Steamed 2-Toned Chocolate Buns

Back in Durham, there was an attempt to make steamed buns. The result – though edible – was not fantastic, what with a strange, off-white coloured dough. A later attempt, however, produced an unexpected surprise, when the buns were baked instead of steamed, delivering small little brown parcels of delight (refer to Chinese Baked Pork Buns).

This time round, I used a different type of dough, mainly replacing plain flour with Hong Kong flour as well as vegetable oil with shortening. The result was fantastic – the buns were soft, fluffy and not yellowish at all. I’m definitely going to make use of this dough again next time to make other types of Chinese steamed buns.


  • Instant dried yeast: 3 tsp (about 10g)
  • Warm water: 170g
  • Hong Kong flour: 500g
  • Icing sugar: 100g
  • Baking powder: 1 tsp
  • Egg white: 60g (about 1 big egg)
  • Shortening: 30g (about 1 tbsp)
  • Vanilla essence: 1 tsp


  1. Mix yeast with warm water and leave to rest for 15 mins till bubbles form.
  2. Mix Hong Kong flour, icing sugar and baking powder together in mixing bowl.
  3. Create a well in center of flour mixture. Pour in yeast mixture, egg white, shortening and essence.
  4. Knead dough for 5 min to ensure evenness of ingredients. Cover and leave to proof for 40 min.
  5. Knead dough on floured surface. Divide into 2, with one slightly larger than the other.
  6. Roll out the larger dough into a rectangle and place onto a greased paper. Set aside.
  7. To the smaller dough, add cocoa powder and knead to distribute powder evenly.
  8. Roll out chocolate dough into a rectangle onto another greased paper.
  9. Flip chocolate dough onto plain dough. Trim edges. Roll up wider side of both doughs to form a cylindrical shape.
  10. Trim both edges again. Slice 5 cm apart and place onto 6×6 cm greased paper. Cover and leave to rest for 30 mins.
  11. Steam 10 mins. Serve plain while steaming hot or with (chili crab) gravies when cooled.


  • The plain dough must be rolled out onto a piece of greased paper first, before kneading the chocolate dough, so as to prevent the cocoa from staining the plain dough.
  • If available, you could scatter some peanut powder on top of the chocolate dough, before rolling, to enhance the fragrance and taste of these buns.
  • If using just the plain dough (without the chocolate), it can be deep fried after steaming to make the deep fried Chinese buns that are served popularly in Chinese restaurants.


  • The bun’s appearance relies heavily on how well the chocolate dough is being rolled out. Mine here isn’t very well done and shows how much more effort I’ll have to put in to roll out a nicer, more evenly smoothed dough.
  • I actually added about 30g less sugar into the recipe, because I wanted to eat them plain.

Makes about 15 small buns or 6 – 7 large buns

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