Shanghai Potsticker Buns 生煎馒头 Recipe

– Recipe by Cai Li Blakeman, our expert culinary instructor on Chinese cuisine- 

The 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                                        water in room temperature
  • 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
  • 100g                                        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 until 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 the 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 a lightly floured surface. Cover with a damp tea towel or cheesecloth and repeat until you have used all the dough. Leave the buns to rest for 10 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.JPGcooking 2.JPG
  7. Serve the buns with dishes of Chingkiang vinegar to dip.IMG_8965.JPG



Contributor Credit:
Cai Li Blakeman
Cai Li Blakeman

Cai Li Blakeman works for Spoonful as the Chinese Cooking instructor. Cai Li was born and raised in China and has lived in Beijing, Washington DC and Singapore. She received her culinary training at the Le Cordon Bleu in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2014.  She is also a food consultant and blogger. She shares easy recipes and stories on homemade Chinese and Asian food on the Facebook page #sentosadough and her blog of

Prior to pursuing her passion for cooking and culinary education, she was a PR and Communications professional and had held management positions in global firms including United Technologies Corporation (UTC), NEC, Edelman, Johnson Controls and Kimberly-Clark.