Mix the warm water and yeast. Let it sit and bubble for 5 minutes.
Put the sugar, flour, baking powder and shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast mixture. Knead using the dough hook for 7-8 minutes.
Cover with a damp towel or cling film and let it rise for 1.5 to 2 hours.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and line some bamboo steamers with parchment paper or banana leaves.
Punch the dough down. Roll into a long cylinder and cut into 16-20 portions. Form as needed (stuff or leave as is). Place them in the steamers, leaving at least 1 inch between the pieces as they will rise while cooking.
Steam for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat but leave covered until read to serve.
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