Salted Egg Yolk Lava Buns – Recipe

Also known as liu sha bao 流沙包 ('liu sha' literally meaning 'quicksand'), salted egg yolk lava buns are one of my favourite sweet things on the dimsum menu. Well, salty-sweet. Think of it as like the salted caramel of the custard world.

The last time I posted about salted egg yolk lava anything was back in 2017, when I made my banana salted egg yolk lava cakes. Here I've taken my recipe for the lava centre and paired it with a simple steamed bun dough. The only difference is I've used cornflour instead of custard powder – I just ran out of the latter, and to be honest cornflour does the same thing, you just don't get as bright yellow a colour.

I found raw salted egg yolks in the frozen section of my local Chinese supermarket, but you can also use the egg yolks from precooked salted duck eggs (also commonly found in Chinese supermarkets).

Need a visual? Check out my at-a-glance video tutorial on my YouTube channel, Tashcakes Cooks:

Ready? Let's go.

(Makes six buns.)

Ingredients for Filling:

3 salted duck egg yolks, steamed
50g caster sugar
2 tbsp milk
50g unsalted butter, softened
30g dry milk powder (preferably full fat)
5g custard powder

Ingredients for Bun Dough:

50ml warm water
5g fresh or dry active yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
250g bao (low gluten) flour
15g more caster sugar
95ml milk


1. Mash the steamed yolks with the caster sugar and milk, and pass through a sieve to get rid of any lumps and bits.

2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, divide into six blobs (it's easiest to use a mould), and freeze for at least four hours.

3. Sprinkle or mash the yeast into the first 50ml of water in a small bowl, and stir in the sugar. Wait a minute or two until it begins to bubble.

4. Stir the yeast mixture with all the rest of the dough ingredients, switching from a wooden spoon to your hands when it begins to form a dough.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead for about ten minutes until the dough is smooth.

6. Form the dough into a ball, pop it in a lightly-oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm or a damp tea towel until doubled in size (30 mins to two hours, depending on how warm your room is).

7. Punch the dough back down and divide and shape into six balls. Cover again and let them rest for about 10 minutes.

8. Flatten each ball to form a disc, pop a ball of egg yolk in the middle, pinch shut and reshape into a ball. Place each ball on a small piece of baking paper or a cupcake case, and cover to rest for another 10 minutes. Steam the buns for 8 minutes, stamp with food colouring if you like, and serve immediately.

Enjoy, and have fun.


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