Char Siu Bao is my absolute most favorite dim sum food. It's a white steamed bread with a bbq pork filling. This is probably my 5th or 6th attempt at making it and finally I'm satisfied.
The first few times I tried to make this bread was a few years ago and I couldn't get the filling right but I thought the bread was okay. When I recently tried to make it again, I was happy with the filling but the bread was terrible. My third recent attempt finally succeeded and I was
left with a tasty pork filling and soft, fluffy, slightly sweet bread. The texture of the bread is not exactly the same as the baos found in dim sum restaurants but the taste is similar (Probably due to the all-purpose flour) I will definitely try to make the bread again in the future but for now, this recipe is
good for my char siu bao cravings!
I guess you could say I cheated because I used store bought char siu sauce to marinate the meat but I didn't want to take a chance at a bad marinade recipe! The meat was juicy and spot on so I'm happy!
The dough is very soft and easy to work with and the meat is dead easy with a jar of sauce (Lee Kum Kee Char Siu Sauce!). If you're a dim sum crazy like I am ... go for it.
2 lbs. pork butt
about 1/2 cup char siu sauce
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 or 3 cloves chopped garlic
1. Cut pork butt into 8 pieces. Arrange in a bowl or baking pan and cover with enough char siu sauce to coat each piece. Sprinkle salt, sugar and chopped garlic all over meat. Cover and marinate overnight in fridge.
2. When ready to roast, preheat oven to 375 F. Place meat on a rack in a large roasting pan. There will be some marinade left at the bottom of the bowl or baking pan. Reserve this for later use.
3. Bake meat for about 25 minutes until meat is no longer pink.
4. While meat is baking, mix equal parts honey and marinade to make a sauce. After meat is finished baking, baste with your honey/marinade mixture and turn oven onto broil.
5. Broil meat until edges start to char.
Char Siu Bao Filling
Adapted from Rasa Malaysia
1 lb char siu, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
red food coloring [optional]
1/4 cup cold water + 2 teaspoons corn starch
1. Add oil to a saucepan. Sauté onion 1 - minutes. Add everything into the pan except the water/cornstarch mixture. Stir fry for a minute or so.
2. Add water/cornstarch mixture and mix until thickened - about a minute or so as well.
3. Allow to cool before using.
Steamed (or baked) Bun
1/4 cup warm water (110F)
3 cups ap flour (bleached, if possible)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
1 tbsp shortening, melted
1/2 tsp baking powder
1. In a large bowl, combine yeast and 1/4 cup water. Let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy. Add 2 1/2 cups flour, sugar, water, milk, shortening and baking powder and stir well. Add remaining flour
gradually until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
2. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 2-3 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and cover in plastic wrap. Allow 45-60 minutes to rise.
3. Cut 12 3-inch squares of parchment paper (I made 8 giant baos with this recipe)
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten. Divide dough into 12 (or 8) pieces. Keeping the unused pieces of dough covered with a dish towel, flatten a piece of dough into a circle with the center slightly thicker than the outside (approx 4-5 inches in diameter, but you'll get the hang of it quickly without measuring). Place about 2 tbsp filling in the center of the dough and close the dough around the filling pinching to seal. Place seam-side down on a square of parchment and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with all dough. Cover baking sheet with a clean dish towel and let rise for 15-20 minutes.
6. Steam buns for 15 minutes, in batches if necessary, until springy to the touch. Serve hot.
Update: If you liked the baked version, this dough recipe works! It yields a crispy bottom and golden top with a soft, fluffy interior. For the baked bao, you will need:
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons sugar dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
While the filled dough is rising, preheat the oven to about 385 C. When the oven is heated, put the filled baos on a parchment paper or silpat and put into the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, take the baking sheet out and brush the tops with the egg yolk/water mixture. Put back into the oven for 5 minutes. After the baos are a nice dark brown, remove from oven and brush the tops with the
sugar/water mixture. Enjoy!