Recipe: Shao Bing

Maria Niechwiadowicz


I have been back in Ningxia a week now, and am missing Taiwan in many ways. After posting Tasting Taiwan, I received many comments asking me if I learned how to cook anything. Funny enough, I did not have many “lessons” despite all the fabulous meals I ate, but came back with a long list of items that would be worth recreating in my own kitchen. So being the foodie I am, I have vowed to post more recipes this semester that could easily be made in any kitchen!

With a snowy Saturday morning before me and dozens of food blogs bookmarked on my computer, brunch was about to go down!

Shao Bing is a traditional breakfast item in Taiwan and in various parts of China (though not here in Guyuan). I appreciated Jeanette’s Shao Bing recipe, coming from an authentic background and great demonstrations. Here is the recipe with my own adaptions:

To make the dough, combine the following ingredients in a large bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes.

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 T yeast
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/2 T baking powder

When the mixture is foamy, add 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour. Stir until combined. Add another 1/2 cup of flour, stir or begin to knead. Add another 1/2 cup flour, continue to knead until a soft but firm dough forms. (Add more flour if needed). Cover and let rest for 2 hours.


In the meantime, make the spread. The star ingredient, in my opinion, is the sesame paste. Stir it well and measure out 1/4 cup. Add 1-2 T of sesame oil to until it is able to be spread easily. **While a roasted sesame paste is ideal, I think you could get away with using natural peanut butter or tahini. Similarly, I substituted canola oil for the sesame oil.


In another small bowl combine 1 egg white with 1 T water. Mix well.

Pour 1 cup of raw sesame seeds into a pan or onto a plate.

Now that everything is assembled, and the dough has risen, punch down the dough and split into two pieces.

Roll each half into a rectangle, about 12 x 14 inches. Brush with the spread and sprinkle with salt and pepper (If possible, Sichuan pepper). Starting with the long end, roll the dough tightly, jelly-roll style. Pinch the ends to seal. Cut your log into 1 1/2 inch pieces (about 10-12 pieces).



Now the tricky part…pick up one of the pieces and pinch both ends so the swirl is sealed and a ball forms. I found it was easiest to pinch both ends at the same time to minimize the sesame oozing out of one end.


Roll into a ball and press into a flat disc, about 2 1/2 inches diameter in 1/4 inches thick.


Brush each disk with egg white and press gently into sesame seeds to coat only one side.

Let your disks rest for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake your Shao Bing for 10 minutes, sesame side down. Then flip and bake 5 more minutes until golden!


The result is a beautifully crispy biscuit with flaky layers inside! While delicious by itself, I stuffed mine with egg and spinach. Along with fresh dou jiang (soy milk, also made from scratch), it made for a hearty brunch on this snowy Saturday in Guyuan.


This recipe made 24 shao bing…way to many for little old me, but they will be perfect with afternoon tea, so you are all invited to join me for cha and shao bing!

P.S. I should mention that shao bing are best eaten fresh, within 1 or 2 days. Once stored in a ziplock or container they will lose their crispy outside and take on a more chewy and less flakey texture.