Shanghai Potsticker Buns 生煎馒头shēng jiān mán tóu

main image 1The most popular street snack in Shanghai. These golden-bottomed buns, known as shēng jiān mán tóu in Chinese, meaning pan-fried directly without steaming, are the heftier yet equally irresistible big brother of Shanghai Xiao Long Bao.

Yields about 20 Buns,


  • 300g          plain flour 中筋面粉
  • 1 tablespoon       yeast酵母
  • 1 teaspoon     baking powder泡打粉
  • 150g          lukewarm water (in 40 ℃ )
  • 1 teaspoon                       black or white sesame seeds芝麻, toasted
  • 3-4 tablespoons    minced spring onions (green parts only)葱花


  • 300g           ground pork
  • 3 tablespoons    water in room temperature
  • 250g           pork jelly 肉皮冻 (click here for recipe), chopped
  • 1 tablespoon    cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon    ginger (minced) 姜末
  • 30g or 2-3 tablespoons   spring onions (minced) 香葱末
  • 1 teaspoon      salt
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons    light soy sauce 生抽
  • 1 tablespoon     Chinese cooking wine料酒
  • 2 teaspoons      caster sugar 白糖
  • 1 teaspoon     sesame oil 香油
  • 1/3 teaspoon    white pepper 白胡椒粉

Dipping Sauce

  • 2 tablespoon   Chinkiang vinegar 镇江香醋


  1. Resolve the yeast in a ¼ cup of lukewarm water in 40℃.
  2. Place the flour, baking powder and yeast in a mixing bowl and gradually add in the 150g water
  3. Use your fingers to bring the mixture together and make a dough. Knead the dough for about 6 minutes till it is smooth. Cover the bowl with a plastic bag. Rest for 30 minutes till the dough is doubled in size.
  4. Now make the filling. Place the minced pork in a bowl. Gradually add water and stir in the same direction for 100 times. Add the cooking oil and stir in the same direction. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and stir all in one direction till all ingredients are well mixed. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge.
  5. To make the wrappers, cut the dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll one piece into a long cylinder, then cut off 10 pieces of dough the size of walnuts, about 30g each. Dust them lightly with flour. Stand them cut-side up and press down them into discs with the palm of your hand. Roll each disc into a circle about 9cm in diameter – edges are thinner than center. Now let’s assemble to make the buns, place a wrapper in one hand, put a tablespoon of the filling(25-30g) in the center of the wrapper. Use your other hand to pinch the edge of the dough to enclose the filling. Fold the edges to the center around the filling while twisting so the bun is completed sealed. Place the filled bun on lightly floured surface. Cover with a damp tea tower or cheese cloth and repeat until you have used all the dough. Leave the buns to rest for 20 minutes.IMG_9150.JPG
  6. To cook and serve the buns, pour 2 tablespoons cooking oil into a nonstick frying pan and swirl it around to coat the surface over a high heat. When the oil is hot, take the pan off the heat for a moment. In the meantime, turn the buns upside down,  then arrange the upside-down buns in the pan. They should touch each other, so that the pan surface is covered. Return the pan to the heat for 2-4 minutes until they have toasty, golden bottoms, move the pan around to ensure even toasting. When the bottoms of the buns are colored, moving the pan off the heat and carefully pour 250ml boiling water around the edges of the pan, keeping your face out of the way as this will produce a burst of steam. Cover the pan and cook over low-medium heat for 8 minutes. Remove the lid to allow any remaining steam to escape, then drizzle another tablespoon of cooking oil around the edges of the pan. Keeping cooking the buns until the bottoms have crisped up again. This takes about 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with the minced spring onions and toasted sesame 1.JPG cooking 2.JPG
  7. Serve the buns with dishes of Chingkiang vinegar to dip.IMG_8965.JPG

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