Bapao is a steamed bun filled with meat or chicken. A homemade bapao is very tasty. The bapao can be frozen to keep. When the bapao needs to be frozen, it is best to pack the bapao individually; a sandwich bag is very suitable for freezing the bapao.

Bapao is a tasty starter or a delicious snack. Some time ago I started experimenting with the filling of the bapao. I had some rendang left over ( and started using it as a filling for the bapao. This was so good that I started making it more often. The funny thing is that I recently ate bapao stuffed with rendang in Gary Loen’s restaurant.

Gary won Masterchef Netherlands 2015 and when he just opened his restaurant we went there for dinner with friends. Cool when you see that a restaurant serves the same dish that you make yourself.

Ingredients (for 4 persons)

Ingredients for the bapao.
Ingredients for Bapao. The filling is not in the photo

  • 500 gr. flour
  • 14 gr. dried yeast
  • 175 ml. lukewarm water
  • 125 ml lukewarm milk
  • 20 gr. sugar
  • Rendang for filling
  • little bit of salt
  • some olive oil

Preparation of the buns

The water and milk should be lukewarm. Warm them up a little if necessary. Place the milk and water in a mixing bowl and add the yeast and sugar. Let everything stand for about 10 minutes.

Yeast with milk and water
Yeast in water and milk

The yeast is starting to work, this is good.

Yeast does its job.

Put the dough hook on the food processor and turn it on slowly. Sift the flour and add the flour little by little until everything mixes. Then add the salt to the dough.

Flour added to yeast and water.
Sifted flour added to the milk and yeast.

Let the dough knead for at least 10 minutes with the dough hook until it is smooth. A round ball has formed.

Kneaded dough for a bapao bun.
Knead dough after 10 minutes

Grease the edges of the bowl with a little olive oil. Cover the bowl with cling film or a wet dish cloth. Place the bowl in a room that has room temperature. Let the dough rise for about 45 minutes. The dough has at least doubled in size after 45 minutes.

Bapao dough rising
Dough doubled as a minimum after 45 minutes of proofing.


The Rendang should be quite dry. If it is too wet, the moisture will drain from the buns during steaming, if necessary add gelatin or agar agar. I do not use this. The rendang is usually not too wet and if it is slightly wetter I let the Rendang drain in a very thin sieve so that the juices run out of the sauce. The best result if you want to drain the rendang is if the rendang is slightly heated, so that the moisture is more liquid.

Filling of the bapao

Dust the work surface with a little flour. Remove pieces of dough the size of a large egg. Place these pieces of dough on the work surface and let them rise again, preferably with a wet cloth over the dough. Rising time approx 5 min.

Dough for bapao
Dough before rising for the 2nd time.

Meanwhile, put a pan on the stove with a little water. Bring the water to a boil and place a steam basket on it. Make sure the bottom of the steamer basket does not touch the water, the buns must be steamed.

Steam basket for the Bapao
Steam basket in pan with bottom of water.

Flatten the balls of dough and dust them with some flour. The dough should be smooth and elastic.

Preparing a bapao.
Flat dough for the bapao

Place the dough in the palm of your hand and put rendang in the center of the dough, this should be a reasonable substance of rendang. With the second hand, gently pull the dough next to the filling upwards, turning the dough around in your hand (clockwise or counterclockwise) so that the dough rises and eventually becomes a ball and the top slowly closes. I usually put my thumb slightly in the rendang and slowly work the dough upwards with my fingers so that I get enough dough to make a ball and close the dough. When the rendang is completely covered by the dough, the ball is closed by joining the dough. You don’t need water to close the dough, but you can if you want.

When the ball is turned and closed, it is placed on the work surface and then again a wet dish cloth or foil is placed over it, so that the dough can rise for the third time and the dough does not dry out.

Stiffed bapao before steaming.

When 4 bapao’s are made, the first bapao’s can be steamed.

Place baking paper in the steamer basket and place the bapao on top. I place 2 bapao’s in one basket. Place the baskets on top of each other. Note that the bapao can expand slightly during steaming, this is why I put 2 bapao’s in one basket.

Steam the bapao for 10 min. I put a dish cloth over the pan with the steam tray, so that I know that the steam tray gets enough steam to steam the bapao. If the bapao’s are too close together they will stick together.

Bapao or bun of bapao. Delicious side dish or tasty snack.
Steamed Bapao.

The bapao can be eaten immediately. Chili sauce can be served with the bapao, but this is not necessary. If there are bapao’s left, they can be frozen very easily.

The bapao is heated frozen, in the microwave. I eat the bapao directly, so I don’t know how long the bapao should be in the microwave.

Bapao with rendang
Cut open Bapao.