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Prep 2 hrs 30 mins
Cook 10 mins
Cha siu bao are a traditional Chinese dish and one of my fiancee's favorites - she introduced me to them. Bao is the Chinese word for bun; cha siu describes the filling. I had several recipes, none of which turned out perfectly; this is a composite of 2 recipes, and I think I've got it. These are somewhat time-consuming to make, but are well worth it on special occasions. Prep time includes time for the bao to rise.
For the filling
- 10 ounces cooked char siu pork (Chinese barbecue pork)
- 4 tablespoons mushrooms, chopped
- 1⁄3 cup water
- 3 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- red food coloring
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
For the bao
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 3 cups flour
- You can use my recipe for char siu (#34265) or make it with a mix- both powdered and liquid mixes are available at Asian food stores.
- I like the Noh brand, personally.
- Chop the char siu and mushrooms finely.
- Combine the water and cornstarch and stir into the char siu and mushrooms.
- Add salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, and sugar, and add enough food coloring to color the mixture a bright red.
- Heat the oil and lightly cook the garlic, then add the rest of the filling mixture and cook until thick.
- To make the bao dough, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Combine water with salt, milk and oil; stir in flour.
- Knead 5-10 minutes or until dough is smooth.
- Divide dough into 8 even balls.
- Press a cavity into each ball, and spread the ball into a 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick cup.
- Fill the cup with 1/8 of the filling mixture, and press the edges closed to seal the bao.
- Cut waxed paper in 4-5 inch squares and place each bao on a piece of paper, sealed side down.
- Place bao in a steamer basket, cover, and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Bring the water under the steamer to a boil and steam bao for 10 minutes.
I frequently make char sui bao and thought I'd try a different recipe. While the filling in this is very nice, the cooking instructions do not work. Normally you leave the bao dough to rise before filling it, then let it rise again, then steam. So if you follow this recipe (which I did) the dough does not cook in the 10 minutes stated, it needs more like 25+, after 10 minutes it's still uncooked and sticky. Don't know if the chef has accidentally left out this step! The dough was also therefore not as fluffy as it should be and seemed to be missing the sweetness it normally has. Most recipes have around 1/4 cup of sugar in the bao dough. I still enjoyed making these as always but the dough let it down a bit, sorry! We still enjoyed eating them after steaming them til cooked though.