Siopao Pinoy Style Dim Sum

"I've always loved dim sum (deem sum) anytime of the year. The only time I ever have to really devote to making it ends up being around the holidays. We make a different type each day, sample some and freeze the rest to be utilized for special dim sum meals in the future. We normally make a dozen different types; some are more difficult than others. We use several cookbooks and several friends to gather and develop recipes. The book that started it all is: "Classic Deem Sum, recipes from Yank Sing restaurant, San Francisco" (ISBN 0-03-071546-6); it's from my all-time-favorite Dim Sum restaurant in the Bay Area! I get many of my wrapping and decorating ideas from a book (I wish they'd translate to English...), "Chinese Dim Sum in Pictures" (ISBN: 962-14-2257) this one has VERY detailed pictures of prepping and wrapping, but it’s all in Chinese so I use it in tandem with other books to achieve a recipe and wrapping ideas, another good recipe book is "Chinese Dim Sum" (ISBN: 978-0-941676-24-3). This includes the recipes translated into English AND some great detailed pictures of the preparation and wrapping process. This recipe details a Filipino (Pinoy) style recipe of a Hong Kong Classic, Siopao"
photo by Ian Magary photo by Ian Magary
photo by Ian Magary
photo by Ian Magary photo by Ian Magary
photo by Ian Magary photo by Ian Magary
photo by Ian Magary photo by Ian Magary
photo by Ian Magary photo by Ian Magary
Ready In:
2hrs 20mins
24 Siopao




  • Preparations / Notes:

  • 1. You can make a Soy Sauce – Chili Pepper Oil Dip in advance if desired. See recipe below….
  • 2. Make the siopao filling first and allow to cool to room temperature or refrigerate as it’s easier to handle when cold.
  • 3. Have a couple of damp towels on hand to cover dough during various parts of the recipe.
  • 4. Move your rack to the lowest part of your oven to allow room for the bowl of dough to rise in a warm environment. Shortly before placing the dough in the oven, the instructions will ask you to preheat your oven on its lowest setting for 2 minutes, then turn the oven off.
  • 5. It will take about an hour for the dough to rise.
  • 6. Soak your bamboo steamers for 10 minutes in warm water, pat dry and lightly oil the bottom and sides before using to cook the Siopao.
  • 7. Cut up 24 – 30, 2 inch square pieces of waxed paper prior to filling the dough balls with the siopao filling.
  • 8. It is helpful to have a very small, oblong pastry rolling pin (flat in the middle, tapering ends), I had a larger oblong one that I made due with.
  • 9. Restaurants and bakeries like to color code their siopao with small dots of food coloring to indicate the filling ingredients, i.e. chicken, pork, beef, etc. If you’re making a variety of fillings and flavors, decide upon your color code and when the siopao is formed and placed on a oiled cookie sheet during the prep phase, paint your small dot to indicate filling. My chicken filling usually has no dot, pork filling red.
  • Chili Pepper Oil Instructions:

  • Cut each scallion into 3-inch lengths.
  • Smash ginger root with side of cleaver.
  • Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Add scallions and ginger. Turn off heat immediately. After 5 minutes, discard the scallions and ginger. Cool for 5 more minutes.
  • Place chili flakes in a bowl and ladle the cooled oil over them. Cover and leave over-night at room temperature. Strain oil and bottle it. Store the chili flakes in a covered jar. Both will keep indefinitely if refrigerated.
  • Soy Sauce – Chili Pepper Oil Dip Instructions:

  • The soy sauce and chili pepper oil can be mixed in advance in these proportions, or left in separate containers to be mixed by your guests in the desired proportions.
  • Siopao Filling instructions:

  • Heat the 3 tbsp of sesame oil in a wok at high heat. Using a spatula, coat the sides of the wok about half way up with the hot oil.
  • Sauté the garlic and onion in sesame oil.
  • Add the pork or chicken and stir-fry until lightly brown.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl, minus the eggs, then pour into the wok and stir-fry until it thickens. Add more soy, hoisin, oyster sauce or sugar to taste.
  • Remove from heat and add eggs, if desired, then set aside to cool or refrigerate. (It’s easier to handle when cold).
  • Siopao Dough Instructions:

  • Check to make sure the yeast is active by sprinkling it over ½ cup of the tepid water. Let stand until completely dissolved and the mixture begins to bubble. (about 5 minutes).
  • Mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder together in a bowl, whisking to mix evenly.
  • Add softened lard, the dissolved yeast, milk and remaining water and mix with wooden spoon.
  • Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. And knead until it loses most of its stickiness.
  • Place the dough ball into an oiled ceramic bowl and cover with a damp towel. I used a ceramic coated Le Creuset Dutch oven.
  • Warm your oven on its lowest setting for 2 minutes and then turn off.
  • Place the covered dough in the oven for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in volume. The dough is now ready to be used for the siopao recipe.
  • Siopao Assembly Instructions:

  • Punch down dough and divide in half.
  • Reserve one of the halves in the bowl and cover with the damp towel. Roll the other half into a cylindrical dough stick about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter.
  • Cut into 12 equal portions and cover with damp towel.
  • Roll and flatten one of the small dough balls in the palm of your hand, then place it on your prep surface and roll the disk out to 4 inches in diameter. Roll the edge thinner than the center. NOTE: it is helpful to have a very small, oblong pastry rolling pin (flat in the middle, tapering ends), I had a larger oblong one that I made due with.
  • Hold the dough disk in hand and place a tablespoon of filling at the center.
  • Begin pleating edges of the dough at the top forming a pocket for the filling with your other hand.
  • Gently guide the filling into the pocket with your holding hand’s thumb if need be.
  • Continue pleating around to complete the pocket and close it off by twisting the pleats together.
  • Attach a wax paper square to the sealed end and place, paper side down in on an oiled cookie sheet, giving enough room for the dough to rise a little more. Cover up reserved ones with a lightly damp towel until ready to cook. Let the buns rise again for 20 – 45 minutes.
  • Continue the rolling and filling procedures until you have made the first 12 siopao buns. Repeat procedures with the remaining ingredients.
  • Siopao Cooking Instructions:

  • Place hot water in a wok to come within an inch of the bottom of the steamer. Boil water in a controlled fashion so that the water is not trying to leap out of your wok or pot but yet plenty of hot steam. Keep a pot of water boiling off to the side, in case you need to replenish the water in the wok.
  • Arrange the siopao, paper side down in an oiled steamer basket allowing room between each. I’ve cooked siopao in two sets of dual stacked steamers with great results.
  • Set the steamer over the wok for 10 – 15 minutes. Resist the urge to lift the lid while steaming. It will stop the dough from rising.
  • Remove steamers and allow siopao to cool a little before moving to wire cooling rack. Serve warm.
  • The siopao freezes well to and can be reheated in a microwave oven for a minute on high or re-steamed.

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Retired Navy Deepsea Diver (11 yrs) then Explosive Ordnance Disposal (14 yrs). I love to cook, especially with my children! We make some fantastic creations! Married to a wonderful woman, Kimberly Anne Magary and reside in the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains.?
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