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This recipe for CHINESE FLOWER ROLLS WITH SCALLIONS (HUA JUAN), by , is from Eating with the Chai's, one of the cookbooks created at We'll help you start your own personal cookbook! It's easy and fun. Click here to start your own cookbook!

Monica Chai


For making 6 rolls, you will need:

250g all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
about 25g cornstarch (experiment with this for fluffier rolls)
1 tsp dried active yeast
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
130ml lukewarm water

For the filling
2 tbsp scallions, finely chopped
1/4 tsp Chinese five-spice powder, or ground Sichuan pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp cooking oil

All-purpose flour (aka plain flour) usually has a medium level of gluten (10-11g protein per 100g flour) which produces a fluffy, yet a little chewy, texture. In some countries, eg. Canada, all-purpose flour has a higher gluten content. Add a little cornstarch (10%) to the flour if you prefer fluffier rolls.


Unlike the traditional way of making steamed buns, my dough recipe calls for both yeast and baking powder. This alteration largely reduces the dough resting time.

Once a smooth dough is formed, you can shape the flower rolls straight away. Then leave to rest for 30 minutes before cooking.

Prepare the dough:
IF KNEADING WITH A STAND MIXER: Mix flour, yeast, baking powder and sugar in the bowl. Knead on low speed until a very smooth dough forms (about 8 minutes).
IF KNEADING BY HAND: Mix flour, yeast, baking powder and sugar. Add water gradually. Mix with chopsticks/spatula until no more loose flour can be seen. Combine and knead briefly into a dough. Leave to rest for 10 minutes (covered). Knead again until very smooth.

Dust some flour over the worktop. Roll the dough into a thin, rectangle shape (about 20cm×30cm). Evenly coat the dough with the filling.

Mix the filling
Put scallions, Chinese five-spice powder (or ground Sichuan pepper) & salt in a bowl.
Heat up the oil then pour over the scallions. Mix well.

Shape the rolls
Dust some flour over the worktop. Roll the dough into a thin, rectangle shape (about 20cm×30cm). Evenly coat the dough with the filling.
From the long side of the rectangle, fold the dough twice making it a three-layer strip. Then cut it into 12 pieces.
Stack up two pieces. Use a chopstick to press the middle line lengthways. Hold both ends and stretch.
Hang it on the chopstick. With one hand pinch and hold two ends. With the other hand twist the chopstick.
Put the roll on the worktop, press the chopstick then slice it out of the roll.

Rest the rolls
Leave the rolls to rest for around 30 minutes. Well-rested buns should be slightly bigger, but not double the size

Cooking method 1: steaming
Place the rolls in a steamer basket (line with steamer parchment paper or brush a thin layer of oil to avoid sticking). Make sure to leave ample space in between each roll.
Fill the steamer pot with cold water. Start cooking over high heat. Turn down to medium-low once the water is at a full boil.
Cook 10 mins from this moment. Serve warm.
Cooking method 2: pan-frying
Add oil to a frying pan over high heat. Place the rolls into the pan leaving ample space in between.
When the bottom of the rolls turn brown, pour in 200ml water (at room temperature). Cover with a lid.
Uncover when the water has completely evaporated. Turn off the heat after 20 seconds or so.

Number Of Servings:
Number Of Servings:
Preparation Time:
Preparation Time:
Personal Notes:
Personal Notes:
A variety of Chinese steamed buns, flower rolls (Hua Juan) are layered with a tasty scallion filling. Flower rolls (knowns as Huā Juǎn/ in Chinese) are a variety of Chinese steamed buns. Layered with a light oily filling, they often come with a savoury taste, but sweet versions exist too. Similar to Mantou (plain steamed buns) flower rolls are made of leavened wheat flour dough and served as breakfast or as a staple for regular meals.

I served these with homemade congee and gyoza




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