I made these char siu bao (bbq meat steamed buns) with a simple yeast dough. This is not the traditional smiling (cracked top) bao recipe which takes about 2 days to prepare. Traditional smiling bao also needs super white bleached fine milled flour (Hong Kong flour) which is not easy to find even from Chinese supermarkets in London. I used standard non bleached plain flour, the buns are not snowy white but beige in colour. Bleached plain flour is not sold in any standard supermarket in UK. I also added water roux to the dough which works quite well.
Here is the recipe if anyone like to try. I made double the quantity.
a. water roux
20g plain flour
Whisk the water and flour together, sieve and gently cook (stirring all the time) till thicken like pouring custard. Cover and leave to cool.
0.75 tsp quick (instant) yeast
75 - 100ml water
1 portion of water roux as above
300g plain flour, all purpose or HK flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
15g cooking oil or melted lard
50 - 60g sugar
0.5 tsp salt
extra flour for dusting
- Mix the yeast with water and leave aside for about 10 - 15 minutes while the roux is cooling.
- Mix the water roux with yeast liquid, sugar, salt and oil.
- Sieve the flour and baking powder together.
- Either using a bread machine or mix by hand, mix the liquid with the dry ingredients together till combined. Add the last few tbsp of the liquid bit by bit, stop when a soft but not sticky dough is formed. Do not knead. Leave for 10 - 15 minutes. Then give it a quick knead till the dough is smooth, do not over knead. If the dough is very sticky add a bit more extra flour.
- Cover and leave to rise for about 1.5 - 2 hours at room temperature till dough is about 1.5 in size.
1 heap tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp hoi sin sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
0.5 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp cooking wine
2 - 3tsp sugar
pinch of ground pepper
about 175g char siu (bbq pork), diced
2 -3 shallots, chopped
a little cooking oil
- Mix cornflour with water then add the rest of the flavouring ingredients.
- Heat oil then fry the shallot till softened. Then add in the mixed liquid. Cook till thickened.
- Add in char siu and heat off.
- Leave the filling to cool.
To wrap the buns
greaseproof paper, cut into 9 - 10 pcs about 5 - 6cm squares
a little vinegar for steamer
- When the dough has risen. Put it on a flour dusted worktop or board. Give it a quick fold or knead.
- Divide equally into 9 - 10 pieces. Roll into a balls and cover with clean cloth to prevent drying.
- Dust hands with flour, take a piece of dough and flatten it.
- Put on some filling. Then start gathering and pleating the edge of the dough into a ball/bun.
- Put the bun pleated side up on paper.
- Lay buns on steamer basket or rack. Leave them to rest and rise for about 15 minutes.
- Heat the steamer on high heat. Add about 1 - 1.5tbsp of vinegar to the steaming water. I was told vinegar helps the buns to expand bigger and whiter in colour. No sure if true I tried it, even if it doesn't help the buns it gives less build up on the steamer by the hard water here.
- Steam the buns on high heat for about 9 - 10 minutes till the buns double in size.
- Eat while hot.
- Any leftover either freeze or put in the fridge, reheat by steaming again.