At yum cha, I always opt-in for the sticky char siu pork buns over the classic flour char siu bao. They’re so fun to eat and such a treat! You’ll need to set aside a day to make these – the dough needs to rest, left untouched quite a bit, but the actual method is very straightforward!
For the filling, you’ll need char siu pork (store-bought is fine/faster) but if you prefer to make it all from scratch, I have a char siu recipe here. Marinate the pork overnight, pop it in the oven in the morning and start on your bao buns while it is cooking. Perf!
Char Siu Bao (Baked sticky Chinese BBQ pork bun)
- 300 g Bread flour
- 30 g Butter (melted)
- 125 ml Warm water
- 2 teaspoon Active dried yeast Make sure you buy 'active' not 'instant' dry yeast
- 50 grams Sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
Char siu filling
- 150 grams Char siu (store-bought or make it yourself – see link) http://jenlimmm.com/chinese-bbq-char-siu-pork-with-fluffy-sesame-rice/
- 1 Onion, diced
- 1/2 tablespoon Ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Chicken powder
- 3 tablespoons Sugar
- Cornstarch slurry (i.e. in a bowl, mix two teaspoons of corn starch with a bit of water)
- 100 mls Water
- 1 teaspoon Light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon Dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon Sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon Shaoxing cooking wine (from the asian supermarket)
- First, make sure you have char siu pork! Store bought or make it yourself using my recipe here. If you're making the pork yourself, you may need to prep in advance a little!
- In a large bowl, add 1 teaspoon of sugar, 2 teaspoons of yeast and warm water. Stir around a little and cover the bowl with a lid. Rest for 10 minutes until you see bubbles form.
- Now add the rest of the sugar, melted butter, egg, salt and white flour. Mix with a spatula until the ingredients are through well. Pop a lid on to cover the bowl. Rest the dough for 10 minutes.
- Now kneed the dough until it becomes smooth. Wash, dry and oil your bowl with oil. Oil the dough's surface and then pop it into the bowl. Cover with glad wrap/a lid and let it rest for 1.5-2 hours. After a few hours your dough should've doubled in size.
Make your Char Siu Pork filling
- Now make your char siu pork filling. In a large pan or wok, add oil, chopped onions and water. Add light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, sugar, cooking wine.
- In a small bowl, add 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and water. Mix well until the flour lumps disappear and it becomes a slurry. Use one hand to stir the pan, and the other hand to slowly pour the slurry into the pan. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens.
- Now add in your char siu. Now taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. You may need to add some five-spice powder, sugar, salt or oyster sauce (depending on your preferred taste).
- Transfer the filling onto a plate, cover with clingfilm/gladwrap and pop it into the fridge to cool.
- Flour your bench surface, ensure there is enough space for you to work!
- Press the dough down to release the air. Remove from bowl and place onto the bench.
- Roll the dough into a log. Use your palms to gently press down, then fold inwards and roll into a log again. Cut into 12 equal pieces. Then use your hands to roll each piece into a round ball.
- Place balls on a baking tray lined with tinfoil. Cover with gladwrap and rest for 15 minutes.
Asemble bao buns
- After 15 minutes, flatten the balls with your palm, fill and wrap the bao by pinching the dough with your fingers to close up the wrap. Tip: when flatting the balls with your palm, keep the centre thick and the outer rim thin (to pinch). In a bowl, scramble an egg. Then brush the top with egg.
- Bake in a pre heated oven for 15-20 minutes at 180°C or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven. To finish with a sticky glaze, in a bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of honey and a bit of water. Brush onto baos. Done!