These Cantonese delights are filled with barbecued cha siu pork and quite delicious. They are served as a type of dim sum during yum cha and are sometimes sold in Chinese bakeries.

Cha Siu Bao (Steamed Barbecued Pork Buns)
Recipe type: Pork
Serves: 24
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 Cup white sugar
  • 1 3/4 Cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons shortening
  • 4 Cups barbecued pork; dice fine
  • 1/2 Cup dehydrated onion flakes
  • 2 teaspoons Hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sherry
  • 4 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons catsup
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 Cups chicken stock
  1. TO MAKE DOUGH: Dissolve 1/4 cup sugar in 1 3/4 cups warm water, and then add the yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes, or until mixture is frothy. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons shortening and the yeast mixture; mix well.
  2. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a greased bowl, and cover it with a sheet of cling wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until it has tripled in bulk.
  3. TO MAKE FILLING: Soak onion flakes in a Cup with just enough water to cover flakes. Mix sauce in a small sauce pan.
  4. Cook over medium high heat until sauce thickens. Stir in the diced pork and onion flakes. Chill 3-4 hours.
  5. WRAPPING: Divide filling into 24 portions. Divide dough into 24 balls. Slightly flatten each ball then roll out into 4-inch discs, leaving the center of the disc twice as thick as the side. Place 1 portion of the filling in the center of the dough. Gather up the sides around the filling and twist dough to seal.
  6. Place on a 2 inch square piece of wax paper, twist side down. Put the wrapped buns at least 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet and allow the buns to rise in a draft-free place (the oven) for another hour.
  7. STEAMING: Steam for 15 minutes. Turn heat off and let the steam subside before lifting the cover.
  8. BAKING: Cha Siu Bow can also be baked.
  9. Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Set buns 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
  10. Brush with a mixture of 1 beaten egg white, 1 teaspoon water and 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter.
  11. DO AHEAD NOTES: Cook and freeze.
  12. Reheat by steaming if steam-cooked originally. Steam frozen buns for 1/2 hour to reheat. If baked, thaw and wrap buns in foil or cover pan with foil and reheat in slow oven for 1/2 hour.
  13. COMMENTS: A good filling should have some pork fat mixed in with the lean meat. Most importantly, Cha Siu Bow filling should be very juicy. That's why Ms. Yee uses so much liquid in the sauce mixture.
  14. By chilling the filling thoroughly, the sauce, which is very thick, adheres to the filling much better.
  15. Ideally, when you make the barbecued pork, you should try to save the pork drippings and use them as part of the sauce mixture.
  16. Ms. Yee deliberately leaves the center of the dough a bit thick because, if you roll it out to an even thickness, the top of the bun will ended up being too thin in comparison to the bottom due to of the way the dough is wrapped.
  17. In a pinch, you may use frozen bread dough as a substitute. However, frozen dough works best when baked. It does not steam well.
Source: "Dim Sum" by Rhoda Fong Yee.

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