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Orange Sweet Potato Sourdough Gua Bao and Pork Shrimp and Chive Dumplings

Benito's picture

Orange Sweet Potato Sourdough Gua Bao and Pork Shrimp and Chive Dumplings

For appetizers before dinner tonight I wanted to have some bbq pork gua bao and pork shrimp and chive dumplings.  This was a second try at sourdough gua bao and finally successful.  I’m not sure why the previous attempt at this didn’t work without the hit of IDY because this time the only real change was the addition of sweet potato.  The gua bao will get filled with bbq pork after re-steaming just prior to serving so the filling isn’t in these photos.

For the dumplings I made the filling and obviously filled the dumplings.  I hadn’t actually done this since I lived at home as a child and helped my mother with filling dumplings so over four decades ago.  They turned out quite well considering, but then again, one gets a lot of practice when you’re making enough dumplings to be filled with over a pound of filling.  I didn’t make the wrappers myself, I suspect that the major issue in making them yourself is trying to get really consistent thickness to them in order for them to cook at the same time.  So I didn’t bother making things even more complex for myself when the store bought wrappers are really good and only a couple of bucks per package.

 Overnight Levain

In a large jar, combine all purpose flour, water, ripe sourdough starter, and sugar. Cover the jar loosely and let the levain ripen overnight at warm room temperature (I keep mine around 76°F to 78°F).



In a sauce pan set on med heat with about 1.5 cm of water, place the bowl of your stand mixer creating a Bain Marie, whisk the milk and flour until blended. Then cook for several minutes until thickened, stirring regularly with a spoon or heat-resistant spatula. Let cool.


In The Morning

In a mixing bowl, add the Tangzhong, water, milk, oil, sugar and salt, mix to dissolve.  Add the stiff sweet levain and using a silicone spatula, cut the levain into small pieces.  Add the baking powder, cornstarch and flour.  Mix to form a shaggy dough.  Allow to rest for 10 mins.  On your countertop or with your stand mixer  knead the dough until good gluten development. Next add your mashed sweet potato, I added 45g or about 29%.  Knead until well developed.  Remove some dough for aliquot jar to follow rise.  Shape into a boule and rest in a covered bowl at 82°F until it has increased by 40%.


Prepare six 4” parchment squares.


Remove the dough to the counter and divide into six equal portions shaping each into a tight boule.  Allow to rest for 10 mins.  Roll out the dough into a 3 × 6-inch oval. Brush the surface of the dough with canola oil and gently fold the dough in half, but make the top folded part a bit longer than the bottom otherwise when steamed they won’t be equal in size. Place on a 4-inch square of parchment paper.

Cover the buns with a damp, clean kitchen towel and allow them to proof until they are 1 ½ times larger,


Cover the filled bao with a damp cloth and place in a warm place and allow them to ferment until they pass the poke test.  Using an aliquot jar they should reach about 100% rise.


Prepare your steamer setup and bring water to a boil.  Working in batches if necessary, arrange buns in the bamboo steamer spacing 2” apart.  Once the water is boiling turn the heat down to medium.  Steam over boiling water for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat and leave the buns in the covered steamer for 5 more minutes to prevent collapsing.  (I left them in the steamer and on the same stove element turned off). Do not lift the lid of the steamer, doing so will cause a sudden drop in temperature that can cause the buns to collapse or wrinkle or dent.  Remove the buns from the steamer and allow them to cool for 5 minutes before serving.  


Buns can be kept in an airtight container (a resealable bag works great) at room temperature for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Room temperature buns can be reheated in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds or steamed for about 2 minutes, until soft and warmed through. Reheat frozen buns by steaming until soft and warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes.

Make the Filling 


Filling Ingredients


  • 4 tablespoons chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1 clove garlic , grated
  • 1/8 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 heaping cup (180 g / 6.5 oz) homemade char siu , diced (or store-bought char siu) 1.5 cups is better 
  • While the dough is resting, combine all the filling ingredients in a small pot except for the diced char siu. Mix until the cornstarch is dissolved fully.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until thickened, so you can draw a line on the bottom of the pot with a spatula, about 1 minute. Take the pot off the heat and let the mixture cool off. Once cooled, add the diced char siu and mix until it is evenly distributed.

Pork Shrimp and Chive dumplings


  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound of ground pork
  • 1/2 pound of shrimp, shelled, deveined, dried well and chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cups of Chinese chives, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced through a garlic press
  • 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
  • Dumpling (水餃) wrappers

Probably do not need the salt, reduce the soy sauce a bit.  




  • Prepare the vegetable oil. Heat the vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat for around 7 minutes. Set aside and allow it to cool. 
  • Make the filling. Place the ground pork, shrimp, chives, egg, sesame oil, soy sauce, salt, garlic, white pepper and the cooled vegetable oil in a large mixing bowl. Mix, fold, whatever it takes until everything is thoroughly combined. It will feel wet and sticky and that’s okay. Allow the filling to sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes or in the fridge covered until you’re ready to assemble.
  • Assemble the dumplings. In a small bowl, add 1/2 cup of water. Wet one of your fingers with water and dab it on the edge of half a wrapper. Add a scoop of filling to the center of the wrapper. With the wet edge on top, seal the dumpling by bringing the dry edge up to touch the wet edge to create a half circle. Do your best to remove any extra air trapped inside the dumpling as you’re sealing.
  • Place the dumpling on a baking sheet covered with plastic wrap. Repeat until you run out of filling or wrappers. Keep the dumplings separated on the baking sheet so that they don’t stick to each other.
  • Cook the dumplings. If you’re eating the dumplings immediately, cook them in a sufficient amount of boiling water so there’s room for all of the pieces to move around. Allow them to cook under a gentle boil for five minutes. Strain them from the boiling liquid, add them to a hot broth and serve.
  • If you’re eating them later on, freeze the baking sheet of dumplings. Transfer them to a storage medium once frozen. They’ll be great in the freezer for up to two months, but I’m sure they’ll be gone before then!

My index of bakes.


trailrunner's picture

It’s been years since we made lots of fancy dumplings . My husband cooks amazing Chinese but we don’t entertain much anymore and so the fancy dumplings and deliciousness that was so time consuming has slipped on by. Fortunately he does still stir fry with regularity. Our steel  wok was a wedding present 52 yrs ago it’s got great patina ❤️❤️

Enjoy your celebration!

Benito's picture

Thank you Caroline, we had a lovely evening and the bao, dumplings and cake were great.  You’re lucky that your husband cooks amazing Chinese food, so much of it is a lot of work to put together that I don’t make that much of it.


Isand66's picture

These must have tasted amazing.  If you get motivated to try wrappers yourself using a pasta roller attachment for your mixer works perfectly.  I haven’t made any myself in years but did have some success in the past.  I do make pierogi every year for the holidays but that using a soft dough with sour cream that’s easy to roll out with a rolling pin.

Benito's picture

Ah that is a good idea, the pasta roller would work I would think for rolling the wrappers out evenly.  One of these days if I go down the road of wanting to make pasta I may have to try that.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

just checking on the amount.  :).   Sure do have a talent for pinching the dumplings together.

Benito's picture

That was the recipe that I used, but you’re right, I used about 2 cups of chopped chives.  I’ll edit that.