Home > Bakpao Isi Kacang Merah (Steamed Bun with Sweetened Red Bean Paste Filling)

Bakpao Isi Kacang Merah (Steamed Bun with Sweetened Red Bean Paste Filling)

Posting Date: 10/13/19

Bakpao Isi Kacang Merah (Steamed Bun with Sweetened Red Bean Paste Filling)

Bakpao Isi Kacang Merah (Steamed Bun with Sweetened Red Bean Paste Filling) is also called Bakpau in Indonesia. It originated in China, called Baozi, and brought to Indonesia by the Chinese immigrants long time ago. In China, it is served as part of dim sum during breakfast and lunch and served with tea.

In Jakarta, you can find street vendor carts that sell Bakpao. The filling is normally chicken or sweetened green bean paste. You may also find chocolate filling. It is served as snacks but it is very filling because of the bun. So, if I want to skip lunch or dinner, I will just eat bakpao to fill my tummy. Growing up, my mom used to buy them.

The recipe makes 7 buns.


  • For dough: 1 cup lukewarm water. Make sure the temperature of the water is between 102-108 deg C. We don't want the water to be above 110 deg C because it will kill the yeast.
  • For dough: 2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast
  • For dough: 2 cups bleached all purpose flour or more as needed
  • For dough: 1/4 cup sugar
  • For dough: 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • For dough: 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • For filling: 2/3 cup sweetened red bean paste. You can buy it in Asian stores. It is sold either in a can or a bag. If it is sold in a bag, you can find it in the freezer section of the store.
  • 2-3 tablespoons flour to coat working surface
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil to coat working surface


  1. Add yeast into the lukewarm water. Let it sit for 5 min or until the liquid becomes frothy.
  2. Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder in a bowl. Add yeast water mixture into the flour mixture. Add vegetable oil. Whisk the mixture to combine.
  3. Spread the oil on your working surface to prevent the dough from sticking and also for easy clean up. Spread a little bit of flour on top. Place the dough on top of working surface. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and less sticky. You may need to add a little bit more flour to make it less sticky. Place the dough in a bowl coated with little bit of oil on the sides and bottom of the bowl. Cover the bowl with kitchen towel and set it aside. Let the dough rise to become double (about 45 min).
  4. Once the dough has risen to double, shape it into log shape. Cut the log into 7 equal size. Shape each one of them into a ball. Roll each dough ball so that it becomes flat and circle. Do not flaten it too thin because it will expand during steaming causing it to split. Spoon about 1-1.5 tablespoons of sweetened red bean paste and place it on the center of the flat dough. Bring all corners of the dough up so that the red bean paste is covered and the corner ends meet at the center. Pinch the ends to seal it. Place the sealed side down.
  5. Fill up bottom steamer with water. Place the lid and let the water come into a boil.
  6. Line the top steamer with parchment paper so that it will be easier to remove the buns once they finish cooking. Place the raw bun with the sealed side down inside the top steamer. Make sure you give at least 2" around each bun because it will expand during cooking. So, depending on the size of your steamer, it may take at least 2 rounds to steam all of raw buns. Once the water has come into a boil, place the top steamer on top of the bottom steamer. Cover the edges of the lid of the steamer with kitchen towel to absorb the liquid formed from condensation so that it won't drip to the buns while they are being steamed. Place the lid on top of the top steamer. Steam the buns for 20-25 min. Remove the top steamer and remove the buns from the steamer. You could just pull parchment paper out to remove all buns. Replenish the bottom steamer with water and let it come into a boil. Repeat this step with the remaining raw buns.
  7. Serve the buns while they are still warm. If you have leftover, let it cool down and store it in an air tight container in the fridge. To warm it up the next day, you could steam the buns on the steamer again. For a shortcut to warm the bun, you could put the bun on a plate, cover the plate with damp paper towel, and heat it in the microwave for 45-60 sec.

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