A recipe for Jiu Cai Shui Jian Bao (韭菜水煎包, Taiwanese Pan-Fried Chive Buns)! Soft buns are filled with a garlic chive mixture and pan-fried until puffed and golden.
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I originally came across the inspiration for this recipe in The Food of Taiwan and they continue to be one of my favorites! Jiu Cai Shui Jian Bao (韭菜水煎包) are Taiwanese pan-fried buns filled with garlic chives (Jiu Cai, 韭菜), mung bean noodles, and dried shrimp.
Cooked in a similar manner to pan-fried dumplings, the buns are first pan-fried in oil before adding water and covering to steam until puffed. The resulting texture is an incredible blend of crisp and fluffy with the savory chive filling.
A Few Tips
Allow the filling to cool to room temperature before filling the Jiu Cai Shui Jian Bao.
If the dough is too wet, add a little more flour (only enough to keep it from sticking). Slowly add a little more lukewarm water if too tough and crumbly.
As you roll the dough out, make the edges of the circle slightly thinner than the center. The center will be thick enough to hold the filling, while the thinner edges won’t bunch as much when gathered.
Cover the skillet with a tight-fitting lid. A glass lid is preferable so you can keep an eye on the bread without lifting the top.
Stay near the pan once the water has evaporated and keep an eye on the buns. They will quickly turn from golden to burnt.
Garlic Chives (韭菜, Chinese Chives, Nira) are group of chives with a mild onion and garlic flavor. The leaves are long and flat. I grew a few plants from seeds, but they are also available in markets with East Asian ingredients and some larger grocery stores (often sold in bundles). Take care when growing them as the plants can easily spread.
Dried Mung Bean Noodles (glass noodles, cellophane, bean thread) are made from starch (mung bean in this case, but yam or potato are also common) and water. They do not have much favor on their own, but pick up the flavors of other ingredients in the dish. You can find them in the international section of larger grocery stores and many markets with East Asian ingredients.
Dried shrimp come in a variety of sizes from papery and small to large and softer. They are used for their umami-like flavor enhancer. Use the tiny, bright coral colored ones for this recipe (these will generally still have the head and shell on- that is fine since they are so small). I have been able to locate them in the refrigerated seafood section of markets with Southeast and East Asian ingredients.
Looking for more bun recipes?
- Peynirli Poğaça (Turkish Cheese Buns)
- Hveteboller (Norwegian Cardamom Buns)
- Pani Popo (Samoan Sweet Coconut Buns)
This recipe was originally posted in June 2016 and updated April 2022.
Jiu Cai Shui Jian Bao (Taiwanese Pan-Fried Chive Buns) Recipe
Adapted from The Food of Taiwan
Jiu Cai Shui Jian Bao (Taiwanese Pan-Fried Chive Buns)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (5 grams) active dry yeast
- 2/3 cup (160 milliliters) lukewarm water 105-115˚F (40-46˚C)
- 2 cup (250 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons (8 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon small dried shrimp
- Hot water
- 3 ounces (85 grams) dried mung bean noodles
- 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) vegetable oil
- 1 bunch (260 grams) garlic chives chopped
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) Shaoxing wine
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- Vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh shredded ginger
To make the dough:
- In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the lukewarm water. Stir to combine and set aside at room temperature until frothy, about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Stir in the vegetable oil and water with frothy yeast until a dough comes together. If too crumbly, slowly add a little more water. If too sticky to handle, slowly add a little more flour.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Cover and set aside until puffed, about 30 minutes.
To make the chive filling:
- In a small bowl, add the dried shrimp and cover with hot water. Allow to soak until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Drain and finely chop.
- Place the mung bean noodles in a bowl and cover with hot water. Soak until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain and coarsely chop.
- In a large wok or skillet, drizzle the 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) vegetable oil over medium high heat.
- Once heated, add the chopped shrimp and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Mix in the garlic chives and season with the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vibrant green and most of the released liquid has evaporated.
- Toss the mixture with the softened and chopped mung bean noodles and remove from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- On a lightly floured surface, divide the rested dough into 16 equal pieces.
- Roll a piece of dough into a thin circle about 4-5 inches (10-13 centimeters) wide.
- Place about 3 tablespoons of the prepared filling in the center. Gather the edges of the circle over the top of the filling to enclose, pinching to tightly seal. Flip the bun over on a lightly floured surface so the smooth side is on top. Repeat with remaining buns and filling.
- In a large, nonstick skillet, drizzle 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) of the vegetable oil over medium heat, making sure the oil is thinly covering the entire bottom.
- Once heated, place about 4-6 buns in the pan, without touching, seam side down. Cook until the bottoms of the buns are lightly golden, 1-2 minutes.
- Carefully pour in 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) of the water and quickly cover with a lid. Cook until the buns are puffed, about 8 minutes.
- Remove the lid and continue to cook until the water has evaporated and the bottoms are golden brown. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining buns.
To make the dipping sauce:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. Top with ginger.
- Serve hot with dipping sauce if desired.