Pow - Steamed Meat Buns

April 29, 2018
Delicious bao buns, stuffed with seasoned meat and steamed to perfection

Steamed Buns

I was extremely excited when I opened up this month's Callaloo Box and saw that it was a Caribbean Chinese themed box. Yaaaaay

I have mentioned numerous times that Trinidad and Tobago is a multicultural country so as a result, we have a lot of different foods from these cultures that have been adapted to be "Trini".

I love Chinese food. Or as we say "Chinee Food" so I really wanted to try to get something done that was Trini Chinese. I could easily eat some pepper shrimp, fried rice, lo mein in a sitting. But then I thought of what else we had and boom, POW jumped into my head.

What's a Pow right? I realized that these might just be a Trini thing. I've tried to order them in New York and here in Miami, and I always get a "what the hell are you asking for" face.

Then I also realized my sister never ever had a Pow either.

Trinidad Pow

So operation pow was in full effect.

Normally these buns are filled with pork. Well, that is the most popular filling, but I no longer eat pork so I opted to fill with minced meat. But chicken can also be used.

The meat for this fillings needs to be well seasoned up and also needs to be dry when cooked. There should not be a lot of sauce in the meat.

It takes a little time for making the dough as we have to let it sit and rise a couple times. You can save time too by making the filling the day before.

Once the dough is ready to go cut into two pieces and then those pieces you make into the size of ball you want to make.

When adding to a steamer, make sure you don't pack them too tight. I learned the hard way since they expand and touched or stuck together. So don't be me. Make sure to leave some space between them. Or make sure that there is wax paper up to the sides.

Pow recipes

And we just leave them to steam till done and dive in.

Pows do not get a lot of color, so don't expect it to be brown when done. 

Traditionally red coloring is added to the pork to let it stand out. The stark white of the pow dough and the red colored meat is one of the things that always intrigued me with pows. 

So you are free to add a drop or two of red coloring if you want.

And you are free to share or not share as I did.

Callaloo Box has been bringing back so many memories of food when it gets delivered to my door. The concept of getting spices that are "Trini" and that are harder to find here is amazing. And even if you don't like the box, being able to shop the individual items is something that I have resorted to.

I am glad to be able to try different brands that I may have avoided normally. Or even different products. This box had a lot of new to me items. Chief Chinese seasoning, their fried rice pack, ginger soy sauce, garlic soy sauce. 

The only thing that had me on the fence was the Chinese sauce. It was a bit bitter (like molasses) and the flavor was a bit overpowering. 

Want to see what products I love though? Check out my Instagram highlights for "Food Finds" for things I incorporated into my pantry must-haves.

Some other Caribbean Asian foods:

Yield: Makes App 12
Author: Renz @ HomeMadeZagat
Pow - Steamed Meat Buns

Pow - Steamed Meat Buns

A deliciously steamed bun filled with meat seasoned up with Asian flavors. A Trinidad Chinese favorite.
Prep time: 1 H & 15 MCook time: 30 MTotal time: 1 H & 45 M


For the Dough
  • 3 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pack instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ½ ounce lard
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water
For the Filling
  • 1 ½ pounds mincemeat *(see notes for other meats)
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oil


For the Filling
  1. Mix meat, seasoning, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and sugar together
  2. Add oil to a wok and cook meat (meat needs to be dry. Not much liquid)
For the Dough
  1. Mix all dry ingredients together
  2. Add water a bit at a time to get a dough that is soft but not sticky
  3. Knead for 5 minutes
  4. Cover and set aside
  5. Leave to rise (about 30 mins)
  6. Punch down and leave to rise again
  7. Separate and shape into 2 oblong logs
  8. Cut each log into 1-inch slices (bigger or smaller depending on if for appetizers or not)
  9. Form each piece into a ball then flatten, leaving the middle thicker than the edges
  10. Fill each with filling (about 1 teaspoon and a little more) and bring edges up and pinch closed
  11. Please each ball on individual squares of wax paper
  12. Place in steamer and steam for 15 minutes


*If using pork: 3 pounds of raw pork finely chopped. Season as above ** Meat should not have a lot of liquid after cooked since it would run out of pows when steaming *** Be careful of over stuffing. See some of my pics for meat coming through **** Leave space between pows when steaming or make sure wax paper is placed between so they do not touch
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @HomeMadeZagat on instagram and hashtag it #HMZEats
Created using The Recipes Generator

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Renz HomeMadeZagat
Renz HomeMadeZagat

Hi guys, I’m Renz. I am the chief cook and bottle washer here at HomeMadeZagat. I am here sharing Caribbean recipes that I grew up eating and new ones I’ve fallen in love with over the years. I just want to showcase the amazing diversity of Caribbean food and that everyone can recreate these dishes.


  1. i visited curacao a couple times on a cruise and couldn't stop thinking about these. I didn't remember the name and been looking everywhere for it, this made my day. I will definitely be making this recipe ASAP.


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