Chinese Beef Pies (Xian Bing)
20 Aug 2020

Chinese Beef Pies (Xian Bing)

20 Aug 2020

This recipe from XiaoGaoJie (小高姐) came up in my YouTube feed and looked super interesting. I finally busted out my KitchenAid Artisan mixer, and made both the dough and the filling using it.

I used beef fat instead of regular oil in the dough, which gave it such a wonderful fragrance. I still think the filling was a little underseasoned, so in this post I have already made some adjustments to the seasoning, based on my research looking at other sources for this recipe.

My favourite part of the process was the assembly. How in the world could such a small piece of dough envelope such a large ball of filling? But indeed it did. I never knew dough could get so elastic. I might try to grease my hands and work surface with oil instead of dusting with flour, to see if this results in a crispier pastry.
I pan fried the dough on a non-stick griddle I bought recently, however I still think a flat cast iron griddle would do a better job at ensuring even heating.

All in all, this has the makings of an incredibly delicious snack, so I’ll definitely be making this again!⁣⁣

Chinese Beef Pies (Xian Bing)


For the dough

  • 400 grams plain flour
  • 167 ml (2/3 cup) boiling water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 140 ml warm water
  • 30 grams (2 tablespoons) oil OR beef fat

For the filling

  • 625 grams ground beef
  • 3/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground Szechuan peppercorn
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (kicap cair)
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
  • 80 grams (about 3 large stalks) green onions (daun bawang), finely chopped
  • 125 ml warm water
  • 500 grams (about 4) granola potatoes, or any yellow variety, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
  • Cooking oil OR beef fat, for frying


Make the dough. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour.

Stir in the boiling water, or mix at low speed, until the mixture starts to form shaggy pieces.

Add the salt.

Add the warm water, and knead the dough until it starts to come together. The dough will be quite sticky at this point.

Cover and let rest, 30 minutes.

Add the oil or fat and continue kneading the dough, until fully incorporated.

Cover and let rest, at least 2 hours.

Make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, add the ground beef, five spice powder, ground Szechuan pepper, ground white pepper, salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, green onions and warm water.

Using your electric mixer with a beater paddle or using a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients in one direction, until thoroughly combined.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook, until tender enough to be broken in half with a chopstick, about 10 minutes.

Drain the potatoes in a colander.

Mash the potatoes, and set aside to cool a little.

Add the mashed potatoes to the beef mixture, and continue mixing in one direction until thoroughly combined.

Test the seasonings by heating up a small amount of filling in a pan until cooked through. Adjust to taste.

Cover and refrigerate, until ready to assemble the pies. The filling will be much easier to work with when chilled.

After resting for a few hours, the dough will become quite elastic. Divide the dough into 10 equal sized portions, and shape into a ball.

Prepare the chilled filling. Divide the filling into 10 equal sized portions. Coat your hands generously with flour, and shape each portion into round balls.

Assemble the pies. Working with one piece of dough at a time, flatten the dough on the palm of your hand, about 1 inch thick.

Place a ball of filling on the dough, and gently stretch the dough to completely wrap the filling, bringing the edges of the dough to the top.

Pinch and twist the edges to seal tightly.

Gently flatten the pie into a disc about the size of your open palm, focusing on flattening areas of the pie where the dough appears thicker and less transclucent.

Dust off any excess flour. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

In a large cast iron skillet or griddle over medium low heat, add about a tablespoon of oil or beef fat.

Add the pies and cook, until the crust is golden brown and crispy and the filling is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

Cut the pies in half, and serve warm. Enjoy!

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