Hua Juan (Scallion Steamed Flower Buns)

July 06, 2022

Inspired by a type of classic Chinese bun, these scallion buns are steamed in the shape of simple, delicate flowers. You will need a steamer for this, either bamboo or metal. Trust us; while these may seem intimidating, this is a very forgiving recipe that basically guarantees tasty results! 



½ tsps. yeast

4 cups Local Roots all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups hot water

4 stalks Local Roots green onion

½ cup sesame oil

1 Tbsp. salt

¼ tsp. white pepper



1. Mix together the yeast and flour. Slowly pour in the hot water (hot to the touch, but not scalding) and begin to bring the dough together. It will seem too dry, but then come together.

2. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, then cover and set aside to rest and proof for 1 hour.

3. While the dough is resting, wash the scallions. Remove the roots and then slice finely. Stir together the finely sliced scallions, ½ cup sesame oil, and 1 tbsp salt and set aside.

4. Cut a parchment paper circle the size of your steamer basket. Fill the bottom of the steamer with water and set aside.

5. When the dough has doubled in size after 1 hour, use your hands to pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl and punch it down. Divide the dough in half, then in half again, then in half again, until you have about 8 small segments of dough.

6. Lightly flour the countertop. Roll each segment of dough into a rectangle that is about 5 inches long and 3-4 inches wide. Leaving a connecting strip at the top, use a sharp knife to cut the remainder of the rectangle into ½ inch strips — for a visual, hold your hand with your fingers pointing toward the ground. You want the strips to be like your fingers, but still connected by your palm at the top.

7. Brush the rectangle with the sesame oil and scallion mixture. Lift the rectangle by the connecting seam and brush the other side as well, then grasp the dough on either end and begin to twist. The goal is to create a spiral where the strips of dough twist and overlap.

8. Curl the dough in your right hand upward to create a J shape. Close the bottom loop by tucking the lower side of the J underneath the straight segment of the dough. Your left hand should be holding the remaining straight segment of dough while your right hand cradles the closed loop of the J. Finally, finish the bun by bringing the straight segment downward and tucking it underneath the looped bit to create a loose knot.

NOTE: Practice makes perfect! As long as the dough is twisted to create layers and the ends are not loose, these will turn out great and be delicious.

9. Gently place the bun into the steamer basket and work on the rest of the buns.

10. Proof the shaped buns for 30-45 minutes, until they look like they have taken a deep breath and are almost doubled in size.

11. While the buns are proofing, start boiling the water in the bottom of the steamer basket.

12. When the buns have risen, begin to steam. Steam for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave with the lid on for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and then enjoy!


This recipe was created by Local Roots contributor Irena Huang / @irena__huang

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