Char siu bao

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 12 people

The trick to mastering barbecue pork buns is time, patience and low-protein flour, writes Tony Tan.

  • 30 gm caster sugar
  • ¾ tsp dried yeast
  • 220 gm low-protein flour or plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ¼ tsp white vinegar
  •  
  • Char siu (barbecue pork)
  • 250 gm pork neck
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 2 tsp red fermented beancurd (see note)
  • 2 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp five-spice powder
  • 1 tbsp honey, dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water
  •  
  • Char siu sauce
  • 100 ml chicken stock or water
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • ½ tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped spring onion, white part only
  • 1 small golden shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1½ tbsp cornflour, mixed with 50ml cold water
01   For char siu, cut pork into 3cm-thick, 5cm-wide strips, then combine in a bowl with Shaoxing, sugar, beancurd, hoisin, garlic and five-spice, stir to coat, cover and refrigerate to marinate (at least 2 hours, preferably overnight).
02   Preheat oven to 220C. Drain pork (reserve marinade), place on a lightly oiled rack placed in a roasting pan, add a little water to pan and roast, basting with marinade and turning occasionally, until cooked and slightly charred (30-35 minutes). Brush with honey mixture while still hot, cool to room temperature, then finely dice and set aside.
03   For char siu sauce, combine stock, sugar, oyster sauce and soy sauces in a jug, set aside. Heat oil in a wok over high heat, add ginger, spring onion, shallot and garlic, stir-fry until fragrant and just golden (1-2 minutes). Add stock mixture, bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Add cornflour mixture, stir continuously until thick (1 minute), remove from heat, add diced pork, stir to combine and transfer to a bowl to cool completely.
04   Dissolve sugar in 125ml lukewarm water in a bowl, add yeast, stir to dissolve and set aside in a draught-free place until foamy (5 minutes). Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl, make a well in the centre, add yeast mixture, oil, vinegar and ½ tsp salt and mix until well combined.
05   Turn onto a lightly floured surface, knead until soft and pliable (8-10 minutes), then place in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a draught-free place until doubled in size (1-2 hours, or 2-3 hours on a cold day).
06   Punch dough down, turn onto a lightly floured surface, cut in half, roll one half into a cylinder and cut into 6 pieces (cover remainder with a tea towel). Roll each piece into a ball, then roll out to a 15cm-diameter round. Repeat with remaining dough.
07   Cut out twelve 20cm squares of baking paper and set aside. Working with one dough round at a time, place a round in your cupped hand and spoon a tablespoon of char siu in the centre. With your other hand, gather and pinch the pastry inwards to form a bun and twist the dough to seal. Place on a square of baking paper and place in bamboo steamers with room to expand. Cover with a tea towel and set aside until slightly risen (30 minutes-1 hour).
08   Steam buns in batches, covered, over a saucepan of boiling water until puffed and cooked through (12-15 minutes). Serve hot.

Note The char siu recipe, courtesy of the Hong Kong Grand Hyatt's dim sum sifu, Lau Chor Keung, is best prepared a day ahead. Red fermented beancurd is available from Asian grocers.

Topics:

CHINESE, WINTER, GINGER, CHEFS' RECIPES, PORK, MASTERCLASS, HONEY

Recipe:

TONY TAN

Photography:

DEAN WILMOT

Styling:

EMMA KNOWLES

FEATURED IN

Aug 2012

Aug 2012

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