Steamed BBQ Pork Buns Recipe (Char Siu Bao)

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Traditionally, Char Siu Bao needs several days to prepare. We’ll make it in just a few hours. No mother dough or ammonium bicarbonate is required in this recipe. Stay tuned to find out more!

Serves: 8 pieces
Prep time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Rest time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

For the dough:
2 cups cake flour (260 g), and 2 tablespoons for dusting
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
¼ teaspoon lye water
1/3 teaspoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
½ cup (118 g) lukewarm water (around 100 °F or 38°C) (water level slightly more or less depends on the humidity level)

For the filling:
1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fermented red bean curd sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons water
1 ½ cups diced Chinese BBQ Pork (Char Siu)


Make the dough:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, powdered sugar, instant yeast, and aluminum-free baking powder. Pour in the extra light olive oil and water.
  2. First, use a pair of chopsticks to combine the wet and dry ingredients. Then use your hands to knead the mixture until it comes together into a ball of dough. (If it’s too sticky add another tablespoon of cake flour, if it’s too dry add another tablespoon of water, and knead again. The dough should feel soft but not sticky.)
  3. Cover the dough with a bowl. Rest for 10 minutes.
  4. On a flat working surface, knead the dough until smooth for 5 minutes. Dust some flour if needed.
  5. Cover the dough with a bowl. Rest for 30 minutes.
Make the filling:
  1. In a bowl, mix in the ingredients, fermented red bean curd sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, honey, chicken stock, and cornstarch slurry (1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 4 tablespoons of water).
  2. In a pan over medium heat, add the extra light olive oil and onion. Stir-fry until aromatic for 2 minutes. Pour in the sauce. Stir until it’s thickened.
  3. In a large bowl, transfer in the char siu and the sauce. Mix. Wait until cool.
Make the wrappers:
  1. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it becomes round and flat.
  2. Roll up the dough into a log, about 20 inches in length.
  3. Cut off the 2 ends. Then cut it into 8 equal pieces. Work on a piece at a time. Cover the rest with plastic wrap.
  4. Dust some flour on the working surface, first press down the dough, then roll it into a disc, about 5 inches in diameter (it should be thicker in the center and thinner around the edges). Do the same with the rest of the dough.
Wrap the Char Siu Bao:
  1. Place about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the filling in the center of the wrapper.
  2. Pinch together the 2 sides of the wrapper. Also, pinch together the other 2 sides. Seal the rest of the edges. Gather the 4 pointy ends of the buns and pinch them together. Make it into a round bun.
  3. Place the bun on a square parchment paper. Put the bun on a bamboo steamer. Do the same with the rest of the buns.
  4. Cover the lid. Rest for 30 minutes until they become bigger and fuller.
Steam the Char Siu Bao:
  1. In a large steamer over high heat, bring it to a boil. Transfer the bamboo steamer inside, cover the lid, and steam for 10 minutes.
  2. Serve!

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