Monday, May 6, 2013

Chinese Steamed Pork Buns AKA Char Siu Bao (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

I think this may be my favorite recipe on the blog so far. I whipped it up on a random whim this morning and I can't believe how well it turned out. Usually the recipes I make take a lot of trial and error before I get the taste right. This was so good that I started eating before I even finished taking pictures. The filling is savory and sweet, and the sesame oil in the bread balances out the cinnamon. Overall, this makes for a very delightful and filling breakfast or lunch. You could of course try your own variation of filling and bread spices; the flavors I used are just what I had in my pantry.

The entire recipe is only 5 grams of carbs. On top of that, it takes less than 10 minutes to prep and cook.

Ingredients for the filling (1 serving)
  • 1/3 c shredded pork or chicken
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sweetener
  • 1 whole chopped scallion
Ingredients for the bao dough (1 serving)
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c milled flax seeds
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sweetener 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the filling in a small bowl. Form the resulting mixture into a small patty and set aside.
  2. Add the sesame oil to a rounded, microwavable bowl and swirl it around until the bottom is covered. Crack the egg into the bowl, then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix all of the ingredients together until well combined. 
  3. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the batter. Place the rest of the bowl  into the microwave and cook for 20 seconds, or until sightly risen. After 20 seconds, place the filling patty into the middle of the flax, and push down slightly. Pour the reserved 2 tablespoons of batter on top, making sure the entire patty is covered. Cook for 60 seconds, or until the top is no longer wet. 
  4. Let the bowl cool for a minute, and then invert it onto a plate. Garnish with more scallions and enjoy!
Nutritional Info (for the entire Pork bun recipe)
Calories: 425 calories
Total fat: 28 grams
Total carbs: 13 grams
Dietary fiber: 8 grams
Net carbs (entire recipe): 5 grams 
Protein: 35 grams


  1. You are my hero!! I went gluten-free (by dire necessity) 7 years ago, and I still miss char siu bao... Now I am low-carbing and occasionally flirting with a ketogenic diet, and I find this recipe... I am in heaven!

  2. Hey there, just made the recipe. Very tasty, but I think your calories may be off. I entered it into Lose It and it told me 600ish calories (I used turkey meat). Just a heads up for you strict calorie counters out there.

    1. Thank you for double checking! I just did it out on myfitnesspal, and I'm getting 439 calories. I've never used Lose It before, but if it's more accurate, I might just switch resources.

  3. But soy sauce is not gluten free. Did u mean tamari?

    1. That works, or any kind of gluten free soy sauce :)I'll clarify it in the post

  4. What a genius recipe!! I'm thinking about using coconut flour, to maybe get the color and texture closer to the real thing. I hope it turns out!


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