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Chinese Pork Buns (Cha Siu Bao)

Video instructions for pork filling:

Video instructions for steamed buns:

This recipe makes 12 steamed buns.

Ingredients for the pork filling:

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup (100 g) finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp. sake or sherry
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 lb. (200 g) Chinese barbecued pork, diced

Directions for the pork filling:

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet and saute yellow onion and green onion over medium-low heat until the yellow onion becomes soft and translucent.
  2. Remove from heat and add all the remaining ingredients except for the barbecued pork. Stir well. Return to low heat and cook until the sauce becomes bubbly, stirring constantly.
  3. Turn off heat and add the diced barbecued pork and mix well. Divide the filling into 12 portions. Cover until the dough is ready.

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 1 cup and 3 tbsp. (285 cc) lukewarm water
  • 1 1/3 tsp. instant dry yeast
  • 1 1/3 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. and 1 tsp. (40 g) sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 cups and 3 tbsp. (500 g) cake flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder

Directions for the pork filling:

  1. Pour water into a large bowl and microwave until the water becomes lukewarm. Sprinkle yeast and stir once or twice. Stir in salt, sugar and vegetable oil.
  2. Mix flour and baking powder, then add to the yeast mixture. Stir until the dough holds together. Place the dough onto a lightly floured kneading surface. Knead for 10 minutes until the dough becomes very smooth. Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a wet cloth or plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for 1 hour at 85-90°F (30-32°C). Use a warm oven and check with a thermometer to get the right temperature. If the temperature is cooler then recommended, let it rise longer.
  3. Remove the dough from the oven and press it to get rid of air. Fold the dough back into a ball and return it to the oven to let it rise 30 more minutes at 85-90°F (30-32°C).
  4. Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a round shape by sticking the 2 pointed ends together. Place them on a lightly floured cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Cover with a wet cloth or plastic wrap. Keep them warm at 85-90°F (30-32°C) for 15 minutes.
  5. Grease 12 paper baking cups or 3 inch squares of parchment paper with Pam or vegetable oil.
  6. For each piece of dough: flatten it with your palm, shape it into a 3 1/2 inch circle, and place filling in the center. Then wrap the dough around the filling, pinch the edges together at the top and twist. Place it on paper baking cup in your bamboo steamer. Generally, you need 3 bamboo tiers to steam 12 buns. Cover with a wet cloth on the top basket and keep them warm for 30 minutes in a warm oven.
  7. Twenty minutes after you put the buns in the warm oven, start preparing boiling water in a large pot.
  8. After the dough has risen for 30 minutes, place the steamer over the boiling water. Steam the buns for 15-18 minutes. Remove the steamer from the boiling water and let it cool with the lid on.
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