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Asian Recipe: Steamed Barbecue Pork Buns

Barbecue pork buns–Char Siu Bao” as they’re referred to in Chinese–are deliciously light and puffy puns that are stuffed with, if you couldn’t already guess, sweet and sticky barbecued pork. These pork buns, along with other popular Dim Sum goodies, are so yummy and we decided to tackle them in our own kitchen!

While you do need to have a steamer for this dish (although we’ve heard you can use a muffin tin and bake them if you don’t have a steamer!), you’ll be so thrilled with the result that you’ll make this recipe over and over, getting more and more use out of the steamer. These buns are so tasty; they’re perfect for entertaining or for a spiffy family dinner.

BBQ Pork Buns

Yields 12-16 buns

Ingredients

Pork Filling:

  • 3/4 pound roasted Chinese BBQ pork, finely diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Dough:

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 cup water, plus 1-2 tablespoons, warm
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. For the meat filling: heat canola oil in a large pan or skillet on medium-high heat and, once hot, add onion. Cook until softened and translucent. 6-8 minutes.
  2. Add rice wine and cook until evaporated, then lower heat and add diced pork. Cook for 2-3 minutes for flavors to blend and incorporate.
  3. In a small bowl, create slurry by combining water and cornstarch and mix together. Then add sugar, hoisin, soy and oyster sauces, and sesame oil. Whisk together until combined.
  4. Pour the liquid slurry into the pork skillet and cook until sauce thickens and darkens in color.
  5. Transfer pork and sauce to a bowl and let cool completely.
  6. For the dough: in a large bowl or mixer, combine flours, yeast, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix together.
  7. On low speed, beat in oil and water and mix until dough begins to come together. If dough is too dry, add a little extra water 1 teaspoon at a time.
  8. Knead dough for 8-10 minutes (or longer, if kneading by hand) until dough is smooth and elastic.
  9. Test dough by breaking off a piece and pulling it as thinly as you can to create a membrane. If dough breaks, continue kneading for 3-5 minutes.
  10. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and rub the top with some oil. Then cover with a clean towel (or plastic wrap) and place in a warm, draft-free place for 45-60 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  11. Punch the dough down and knead it slightly, then transfer to a clean, flat surface.
  12. Roll dough out into a large rectangle, divide into 12-16 equal pieces and roll each piece into a bowl.
  13. Cover the dough you’re not working with so it doesn’t dry out and roll out each ball to about 1/4-inch thick circle. Try to keep dough thickness even as you roll it.
  14. Spoon 1-1 1/2 tablespoons of pork mixture into the middle of each dough round and carefully pleat the dough as you fold it over the meat filling and seal it at the top.
  15. Cover completed pork buns and place in a warm, draft-free place to wait and proof again for 15-20 minutes.
  16. Fill a wok or stockpot with 3-4-inches of water and bring to a boil. Place buns in a steamer lined with perforated parchment paper and set on top of boiling water.
  17. Cook for 8-9 minutes, or until buns are puffy and risen.

Recipe adapted from Thirsty For Tea

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