It feels like an ode to pork belly! I can’t stop cooking it since my experiments with Ukrainian-style salo. After salo I wanted to make chashu, and this morning I woke up craving for char sui bao — super soft and fluffy steamed buns filled with flavorful barbecued pork.

Steamed Buns: Char Siu Bao

Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time9 hrs 45 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Chinese, Eastern Asian
Keyword: Chinese, dumplings, meat, pork, recipe, sauce, spiced, steamed, steamed bun
Servings: 8 buns

Ingredients

for char siu and marinade

  • 2 lb pork belly meaty, or pork shoulder
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 tbsp dark soy sause
  • 4 tbsp light soy sause
  • 3 tbsp Shaoxing wine or Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1 1/2 tsp five spice powder
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce Lee Kum Kee brand

for sauce to combine with 7oz of chopped char siu

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp hot chili sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp shallot finely diced
  • 1 tsp garlic finely diced
  • 1 tbsp ginger finely diced
  • 2 tbsp chives
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce Lee Kum Kee brand
  • 1/8 cup char siu marinade cooked down

for dough # 1 (for 8 buns)

  • 4 oz water
  • 1 tsp Saf Instant Yeast
  • 4 oz wheat flour all-purpose

for dough #2 (for 8 buns)

  • 4 oz wheat flour all-purpose
  • 2 oz confectioners powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 oz rendered pork fat or shortening

Instructions

for char siu

  • Cut pork belly 1" thick, place it in a Ziplock bag. Combine all the ingredients for a marinade and add it to the pork. Marinate overnight, refrigerated.
  • Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with foil, place a grilling rack inside it, and arrange marinated pork belly on the rack.
  • Roast pork belly for 15 minutes on one side, then for 15 minutes on another side.
  • Meanwhile, transfer marinade into a suace pan and cook it down on medium heat to thicken. Turn on the broil. Brush rosted pork belly with reduced sauce and broil until lightky charred. Flip on another side, apply the sauce, and broil.
  • Char siu can be served with steamed rice. For 8 steamed buns we need only 6-7 oz of char siu, chopped and mixed with sauce.

for filling (8 buns)

  • Peel and finely chop shallots, garlic, and ginger. Heat a skillet with 1 tbsp vegetable oil and 1/2 tsp chili sesame oil. Add chopped vegetables and saute until soft and sweet.
  • Add chili garlic sauce and reduced marinade, combine, bring to simmer and turn off the heat.
  • Finely chop 7 oz of char siu. Wash and chop chives.
  • Add cooked sauce and chopped chives to the prok and combine.

for dough (8 buns)

  • Make dough #1. Mix well to a paste consistency, cover with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature (74F) for 1 hour.
  • Make dough #2. Combine dry ingredients with a whisk. Add pork fat and combine it with dry ingredients wth a whisk. The result should look like crumbs.
  • After dough #1 doubles, combine it with dough #2 and knead a soft dough.
  • Shape it into a ball, place in a bowl, cover with plastic and let it double at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 8 portions (52g each). Shape them into balls and let rest for 10-15 minutes, covered. Flatten each into a 4" D disks, thicker in the center, thinner on the edges. Place 3-4 tbps of pork filling in the center of each disk and shape buns.
  • Line steaming baskets with parchment paper sprayed with vegetable oil and arrange buns giving them enouph space to double during the cooking. Cover and let rest for 15-20 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile start boiling water in the wok.
  • Steam buns for 12-13 minutes. Serbe with hot tea or meat broth.

Notes

Source for Chinese BBQ pork recipe
Cha siu bao
Baijiu -> flavored with rose aroma Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (玫瑰露酒, méiguīlujiǔ, lit. "rose essence liquor"): a variety of Kaoliang distilled with a special species of rose and crystal sugar. Alcohol content by volume: 54–55%
Pagoda Shaoxing Huadiao Chinese Cooking Wines
Крохи о китайской кухне и дим самах
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