Saturday, March 19, 2016

Baking in Bowties! Cha Siu Bao (Chinese BBQ Pork Buns)

Recipe courtesy of Faydreh ;)

Just a couple notes about this recipe.  Even though I halved parts of the initial recipe to make less pork and filling, you'll probably want to make at least two batches of the dough.  The cha siu is fantastic just eaten with rice, but with how much filling is made, and to have lots of delicious buns, make more than one batch of dough. <3

Char Siu
About 1 lb of pork butt/shoulder
1 1/2 TB dark soy
1 1/2 TB light soy
1 1/2 TB honey
Salt to taste
1 1/2 TB Oyster Sauce (make sure Oysters are actually in the ingredients)
2 TB whiskey
3 1/2 TB Hoisin sauce
pinch pepper
1/2 tsp five spice powder

Line a large roasting pan with foil. Mix up all ingredients except the pork and set aside.

Cut your pork into 1"x1" strips, trimming away excess fat. Place in the roasting pan and pour the sauce over the top.

Turn to coat, and let marinate for 4 hours or up to overnight.

When ready to cook, put your oven rack on the second closest position to the broiler and preheat the oven with the broiler for a few minutes. Broil pork for 20-30 minutes. Turn and baste at 8 minute intervals. Pork is done when the thickest section is cooked all the way through (no pink). Watch for burning sugar, and some of the edges will and should get a little crispy. If your pan turns dry (mine didn't), add a little water a few TB at a time
Let cool to room temp, and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to overnight.

2 tsp oyster sauce
1 1/2 tsp dark soy
2 tsp ketchup
1 TB sugar
pinch pepper
3 TB chicken broth
1 tsp sesame oil
1 TB peanut or vegetable oil
1/3 cup minced onions
1 cup roast pork
2 tsp Shao-Hsing wine or sherry

Mix oyster sauce through sesame oil and set aside.

Mince your onions and pork.

Get a wok or sauté pan hot and put in the oil. Add onions, lower heat to low, and cook until onions start to turn brown, just a few minutes. Add pork and raise heat to medium-high, stir-frying for a few more minutes until pork is heated through, about one minute.

Reduce heat to very low, add wine or sherry, and mix well, cooking for another minute or so. Add sauce ingredients and stir-fry until mixture is thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and put in bowl. Let cool to room temp then refrigerate for 4 hours or up to overnight (yes, again! Basically you want it cool enough to handle comfortably) You can make the dough while you let this cool and rest in the fridge.

2 tbsp dry active yeast
1/2 cup plus 4 TB sugar
1 1/3 cup hot tap water
5 1/3 cups high gluten flour (look for flour that says best for bread machines)
2 egg, beaten
3/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil


In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the hot water. Set aside in a warm place for 30 - 60 minutes (the colder it is inside the longer it will take). Yeast is ready when the top is foamy and light brown. When ready, add flour, egg, and oil, stirring continuously with your hand or a wooden spoon (I prefer the spoon). Stir and knead for several minutes until dough is cohesive and sticks together instead of being a gooey gloppy mess. You may need to add more flour, I think I added about ? cup more a tablespoon or so at a time.
When you feel you can knead it without it sticking everywhere, turn it out onto a floured work surface. Knead for 15 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Re-flour and scrape up work surface as often as necessary to prevent sticking. When ready to rise, put into a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise until about tripled in size, anywhere from 2 - 5 hours.

Making the Bao

You'll need 2 large cookie sheets, and 16 squares of wax paper cut into approximately 4"x4" squares.

When the dough is ready, divide the dough in half, and put half on a work surface, and the rest back in the bowl with the damp cloth on top. Knead the half you have out for a few minutes. Divide into 8 equal pieces by rolling out into a log, and cutting in half, then cutting pieces in half until you have 8 equal pieces.

Roll the pieces into balls, and put back what you're not using at the moment in the bowl under the cloth.

Stretch/press to make a little bit bigger and make the edges thinner, and spoon a scant tablespoon or so of filling into the well. Hold bao in one hand, and with the other, pinch two sides shut.

Turn the bao a half turn, and pinch the opposite two sides shut.

Now pull the other open corners shut together. You'll be pinching a total of 4 times. Then do a final pinch, and kinda twist the whole bottom together to make sure it's sealed.
Don't make your dough too thin, or the filling will bust out when you go to bake it

Place you bao sealed-side down on a wax paper square. Repeat for all your bao.
Let rest in a warm spot for about an hour, or until they've risen a bit. A puffy, risen bao!

When risen, lightly mist the bao with water and using a pastry brush, brush the outside with a beaten egg. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on top. Rotate trays 180 degrees about halfway through baking to ensure even baking.

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