Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Malaysian Paus (or Chinese Steamed Buns)

After my trip to the Egg Store near my house, I was walking towards my car when I noticed there was a shop with their gate partially open so I looked in. There was some kind of food preparation going on, so I asked the guy who came over what they were making. He took the cover off the carton above and showed me. I asked what they were and he told me the white ones are Red Bean and the green ones are Pandan Lotus. I asked him if he would sell me some of the pandan lotus and he said yes, even though this looked more like the bakery than a retail store. I asked him how to cook it and he said to "Steam them over water for 15 minutes".

So I took four Pandan Lotus home and attempted to steam them. I placed them at the bottom of my wok after taking off the white paper at the bottom of the Pandan Lotus. And I added about 1/4 inch of water at the bottom of the wok and turned the heat on then covered it for 15 minutes.

As anyone who has actually steamed these things before knows, my method would prove disastrous. Just wrong. The Pandan Lotus became these gooey mushy messes at the bottom of the wok. I still scraped them out and attempted to eat them, but they were raw-ish. So I got out the package I had in the freezer of Pau Mini Pandan Kaya to check how they should be prepared as I thought they looked to be the same item or similar (as these were frozen, the directions when I used them before was to microwave in plastic wrap which I had did). Well, the package just said to "Steam" them like the guy at the bakery.

So a little research online and I found these Paus can also be considered Chinese Steam Buns. And I found some videos and sites describing how to steam them. For example check here: Looks like I need to get one of these steamers to heat the Paus. Also, I could use the steamer for vegetables too. By the way, the inside of the Pau I bought at the bakery are Lotus and the package above is Kaya which is coconut based. The inside of both taste really good. I should also look for this Lotus or Kaya Paste which I might be able to use for baking.


  1. A wok is a multipurpose gadget. If you don't have a steamer, you can buy a flat, round steel plate with holes in it from the local morning markets or even Jaya Jusco for use as steaming accessory,(a), for your wok. It is very cheap.

    1. put the buns in a plate (steel will be faster).
    2. pour some water into the wok
    3. place a on the wok
    4. the water level should be just below a
    5. the purpose of a is to form a separator for the plate of buns and the water so that heat from the steam will heat up the buns but the buns won't get drenched in hot water.
    6. Open the wrapper and place the buns in a dish.
    7. Place the dish on a and cover with a wok cover
    8. Steam for 10-15 min.

    You can steam vege, fish, pork, chicken, yesterday's rice leftovers, ready made dim sum this way. We also use the traditional wrought iron wok which is non-stick for toasting bread, nuts, sesame seeds. I can make stews and soups using just the wok in place of pots, pans and toaster. Similarly, a pair of chopsticks can be used to beat an egg, fry foods, mix marinades in place of all those fanciful gadgets.

  2. So I did have the right idea using a wok, I just didnt have the metal piece at the bottom. I should look for one of those too... but I definitely want to get one of those bamboo steamers.

    I'm not really into those fancy gadgets either. I actually never had a microwave in the US because i didnt like the way things cooked in them, but here we had one at our rental place while we waited for the house, and i thought it's pretty useful to heat water, etc. So we got one when we first moved into the house but the kitchen wasnt ready yet. We were able to at least heat some things up. Now the microwave is in the wall and i find we use it a lot.