My adventure in discovery Chinese cuisine (like this recipe for addictive Chili Crisp) is continuing with these Steamed Scallion Flower Buns (Hua Juan). A humble steamed bun – I would say very similar in taste to a bao bun – but as you can see from the photos these are really pretty buns. The buns are much easier to make than it looks and freeze so well. Just take them out and place in the microwave for 15 seconds or so and they are fluffy and light.

I served the Scallion Flower Buns the other evening with the most tender and flavoursome Shanghai style braised pork belly. We tore the buns open and stuffed them with the pork belly as you would a bao bun. It was utterly delicious and I will certainly share the pork belly recipe. I just need to remake it as I did not take any photos.

Steamed Spring Onion Flower Buns (Hua Juan)

I always thought that scallions is just the American term for what we know as spring onions but it seems they are different in terms of age they get harvested. I have to admit that I don’t know which we get in South Africa and for the purpose of this recipe I used what we call spring onions. The recipe is by Betty Liu and it appears on her blog with an updated recipe is in her new cookbook, My Shanghai. I followed her recipe using the knife method to score the dough rather than the chopstick method as I thought I will definitely mess that up. To tie in with the recipe, I shot step by step images of how to score and twist the Scallion Flower Buns. Super easy and how pretty do they look?!

Steamed Spring Onion Flower Buns (Hua Juan)

Steamed Spring Onion Flower Buns (Hua Juan)

Once twisted and shaped, all you have to do is steam the buns in a steamer. I used a bamboo steamer but a metal one or a more steamer appliance will work as well. The buns are delicious on their own but also great vehicles for any filling of your choice, think pork belly slices, roast chicken, miso roasted aubergine. The option really are endless.

I hope you enjoy these Scallion Flower Buns and that you will make them. They really are worth it. If you’ve made it, share it with me by tagging @heinstirred on Instagram with the hashtag #heinstirred. It is always a treat to see the recipes made and enjoy. The images in this post was shot one of my photography backgrounds available at


  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 cups flour
  • 5 spring onions/scallions green parts finely chopped
  • olive oil for brushing
  • salt


  • Mix warm milk, oil, sugar, and dry yeast then set aside for 5 minutes or so until the mixture is bubbly
  • Add the flour and mix until it all comes together
  • Knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is soft, elastic and smooth but not sticky. (If it’s too dry, add a splash more milk)
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel, place in a warm spot and let the dough rise for 1 hour until doubled in size
  • When dough has risen, punch dough down and shape in 12 balls
  • Roll one piece into a long oval and use a sharp knife to cut 6-7 slits in the middle, without breaking any edges
  • Brush with oil and sprinkle with the chopped scallions and a small pinch of salt
  • Pick up the dough length wise, and use your fingers to twist and shape into a bun (see photos above)
  • Heat up a steamer and steam the buns for 12 minutes, then turn off heat and let it sit for another 5 minutes with the lid on
  • Remove the buns from the steamer, let them cool until cool enough to handle, then serve
  • The buns freeze really well. Let them cool down completely, place in sandwich bags and freeze
  • Pop in the microwave for about 15 seconds to reheat
  • Recipe from Betty Liu (

If you are looking for more quick, easy delicious meal ideas, I have a new e-cookbook, EVERYDAY TRAYBAKES, and it is now available as a digital download.

The aim of the 18 recipes in EVERYDAY TRAYBAKES is to spark fresh cooking inspiration with new ideas and interesting flavour combinations. From Asia to the Middle East and Mediterranean, while firmly remaining within the realm of easy cooking, the book is proof that delicious, wholesome meals do not need hours of prep. The recipes range from unpretentious weeknight family dinners, spur of the moment entertaining, easy breakfasts for a crowd and modern ideas with vegetables. No book of mine will be complete with a sweet ending and there are 4 sweet baking recipes that require no special baking skills, in fact the pudding is mixed in the dish you will bake it in.

Recipes include Thai Green Curry Spatchcock Chicken, Oven Baked Masala Omelette with Paneer, Salmon and Leek Traybake with Herb Dressing, No Boil Pasta Bake with Shiitake Mushrooms and Pangrattato, Sichuan Pepper Chicken and Potatoes, Rocky Road Squares and Vanilla Milk Soak Sheet Cake

You can get the book by clicking here

Everyday Traybakes
Olive Oil Roasted Tomato Sauce

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