Cooking Corner: Steamed Buns
Try Traditional Steamed Buns!
Char Siu Bao, or commonly known as Steamed BBQ Pork Buns; are a delicious traditional Chinese cuisine that dates back to the 3rd Century. BBQ Pork is just one type of filling that can be added to Steamed Buns; making a tasty treat for anyone. Although there are a variety of sweet and savory filling options, Steamed Buns usually come in two distinct sizes: Dabao (meaning “big bun”), measuring approximately 4″ in size; and Xiaobao (meaning “small bun”), and measuring approximately 2″ in size.
Steamed Buns are great to serve for lunch or dinner, and make a perfect dish for special occasions. Traditionally, a variety of Xiaobao Steamed Buns are made when hosting a party to give guests a taste of all the wonderful types of dough and fillings available.
How to Make Steamed BBQ Pork Buns
Adapted from: The Woks of Life
Serves: 10 buns
What You Need
For the Dough
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- ¾ cup warm water
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 4 tbsp sugar
- ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
For the Filling
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots or red onion
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 ½ tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp dark soy sauce
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 ½ cups diced Chinese roast pork (you can make or buy ready-made)
Dissolve yeast in warm water in an electric mixer bowl (or knead by hand in a regular mixing bowl). Sift the flour and cornstarch together then add to the yeast mixture along with the sugar and oil. Mix on the lowest setting until a dough ball is formed. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for 2 hours.
Heat oil in a wok on medium high. Add the onion and stir-fry for a minute. Turn heat down to medium-low. Add the sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and dark soy. Stir and cook until the mixture starts to bubble. Mix in the chicken stock and flour, cooking for a couple minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the roast pork. Set aside to cool.
Slowly add the baking powder to the dough. Add 1-2 tsp water and knead if dough looks dry. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for another 15 minutes. Cut 10 4×4 inch squares in a large piece of parchment paper. Prepare steamer by bringing the water to a boil.
Assemble the buns by rolling the dough into a long tube and dividing into 10 equal pieces. Press each piece of dough into a disc about 4 ½ inches in diameter (thicker in the center and thinner around the edges). Add filling and pleat the buns, closing at the top.
Place each bun on a parchment paper square. Steam the buns in 2 separate batches in the bamboo steamer for 12 minutes over high heat. Be sure to not let the boiling water touch the buns while steaming.
Cool a bit and enjoy.
Leftover Steamed BBQ Pork Buns can be kept for a few days; however, it is important to note that they should be lightly steamed and not microwaved when heating so as to prevent the buns from becoming rubber-like in texture.