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Chinese BBQ Pork Steamed Buns

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Homemade pork buns fresh from the steamer are a delight to eat. I really love making the dough from scratch - I find it so relaxing! I’ve filled these Chinese dim sum pork buns with BBQ pork and char siu sauce then steamed them until they’re light and fluffy. The combination of that super fluffy bun and the sweet salty pork is one of life’s true pleasures.

WATCH THIS RECIPE

CHINESE BBQ PORK STEAMED BUNS

PREP TIME

40 minutes (plus resting)
COOK TIME

25 minutes (plus cooling)
SERVES

Makes 16
Ingredients

Dough:

360g (12.7 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra

20g (0.7 oz) skim-milk powder

4g (0.1 oz) baking powder

5g (0.1 oz) instant dry yeast

35g (1.2 oz) sugar

35g (1.2 oz) vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing

200g (7 oz) warm water

 

Filling:

1 tbsp vegetable oil

4 tbsp finely diced onion

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

400g (14 oz) Chinese BBQ pork (try my homemade version here), cut into small dice

½ cup char siu sauce*

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp white sugar

100ml water

2 tbsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp water

sea salt

Steps
Step 1

For the dough, mix together the dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre pour in the water and the oil. Mix with a wooden spoon until a dough starts to form. Then use your hands to knead the dough for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and springy to the touch. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover. Allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Step 2

In the meantime, for the filling, heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Then add the Chinese BBQ pork, char siu sauce, soy sauce, sugar and water. Mix well and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Then stir through the cornflour mixture. Simmer for a further minute or until the filling is very thick. Remove from heat and spread the mixture out on a tray. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to cool down.

Step 3

Take the dough and on a floured surface, roll into out into a rough rectangle, then fold the dough in half and roll out again. Repeat another 2 times. Then roll up into a cylinder and cut the dough into 16 pieces (the sides will have a spiral pattern due to the folding). Flatten a piece of dough with your palm. Then use a rolling pin to roll the edges so that they are thinner than the centre of the dough disc (similar to dumpling wrapper). Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.

Step 4

Take a disc of dough and place 2 heaped tablespoons of filling in the centre. Pleat the dough edges up and around the filling to completely enclose. Place the bun on a tray lined with baking paper. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Cover with a damp tea towel and rest for 1 hour in a warm place.

Step 5

Place the buns in a steamer and cook over boiling water for 10 minutes or until the dough is fluffy and cooked through.

Note Icon

Notes:

– Char siu sauce is a type of Chinese BBQ sauce that can be found at any Asian grocery store.

– Hong Kong or Pau Flour has a similar protein content as cake flour but it is bleached and milled very fine. So if you want super white buns, then go for that. But cake flour has a little more flavour and is still bleached…just not as much as the Pau flour. Protein content directly influences how much gluten can be formed. The lower protein means less gluten forms and this makes the buns tender and fluffy.

Pork buns are the white, fluffy, parcels of deliciousness you can find in the steamer of just about every dim sum or Chinese restaurant. The pillowy steamed buns are chock full of Chinese BBQ pork and a sweet and sticky char siu sauce.

It’s been reported that pork buns originated within northern China way back in the Third Century. Since their early conception, bao have taken the world by storm, with pork buns (aka char siu bao), being one of the most popular iterations of this delish dish. 

If you’re a pork bun fiend with an ultra-busy lifestyle, this tip is for you! You can make batches of pork buns and freeze them for whenever you need your fix. (You can also freeze leftover homemade char siu pork and keep it on hand for making fried rice, noodles and more.)

 

Freezing and re-steaming your pork buns is far simpler than it seems. Just prepare them as normal, pop them in the freezer, and whenever you’re ready for one, re-steam them from frozen for around 10 minutes or so or until the entire bun is extra hot!

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August 30, 2022

Char Siu Bao

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