Char Siu Bao
Growing up in Texas, I spent summers at my grandparents' Chinese restaurant in Waco. Day in and day out I was surrounded by typical Chinese-American dishes: sweet and sour pork, chow mein, egg drop soup. One day a week we'd escape to Dallas to get away from what some of our customers would call 'the best Chinese (pronounced chah-neeze) food, better than that stuff they serve in China (again, chah-nuh).' We'd go for dim sum.
Now, I wasn't quite the adventurous dim sum eater that I am today, and Dallas dim sum ain't New York dim sum. But it wasn't anything like we had in Waco, and for my needs it was downright exotic. Turnip cakes, meat balls, shu mai...we always took extra home, especially char siu bao. What a simple snack - starchy bread filled with meat. My grandmother probably felt better about feeding me that than a hamburger.
I always wondered why my family never made dim sum themselves. Even if we couldn't convince the town that real Chinese food was better than the sweet stuff they liked, we could have at least eaten it ourselves. One of the few absolutely authentic things my grandmother made was homemade BBQ pork, bright red, sticky, with crunchy blackened edges. It would have been so good in homemade char siu bao.
Char Siu (Homemade BBQ pork), adapted from The Chinese Kitchen, by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo
4+1/2 lbs lean boneless pork loin
3 T dark soy sauce
3 T soy sauce
1/2 c honey
1/2 tsp salt
3 T oyster sauce
3 T hoisin sauce
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp five-spice powder
- Combine all the ingredients in a gallon-sized plastic bag or a bowl and marinate overnight.
- The next day, line a roasting pan with foil and place the pork and marinade in a single layer.
- Turn the oven broiler on and roast the pork about 4 - 5 inches from the broiler element. Baste continuously until the meat is cooked through, anywhere from 30 - 50 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160F.
Char Siu Bao, courtesy of Emma Kidd of Cook, Craft, Grow
16 oz bread flour
1 T custard powder
1/2 T yeast
3 oz sugar
1 T butter-melted
8 oz warm water
- Combine dough ingredients and leave to rise in a warm location.
1/4 onion, diced
8 oz char shiu
6 oz gravy (recipe follows)
- Cook onion slightly.
- Chop char shiu into small pieces.
Note: I found that little cubes of pork made ball-forming later difficult, so next time I would chop the pork into smaller pieces.
- Combine equal amounts of meat and onion mixture with gravy.
- Chill for easier handling.
2 T oil
small piece ginger, crushed
1/2 green onion
4 oz water
1/2 T oyster sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp hoisin
2 oz sugar
1+1/2 T cornstarch
1 oz water
- Heat the oil and cook ginger and green onion until fragrant.
- Add remaining ingredients except cornstarch and 1 oz of water.
- Bring to a boil, remove ginger and green onion.
- Combine the cornstarch and 1 oz water and make a slurry.
- Stir in slurry and allow it to boil momentarily.
- Set aside to cool.
Forming the buns
- Cut dough into 12-14 pieces
- Roll out into 5” circle.
- Spoon filling in the center of dough and close the seam.
- Place on parchment paper seam side down.
- Lightly mist with water to keep moist. Leave to rise until almost doubled.
- Heat oven to 375F.
- Lightly spray the oven with water right before placing the buns in the oven.
- Place the risen buns into the oven and bake for 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Immediately after removing from oven brush with a light sugar syrup (2 parts
water to 1 part sugar).
Emma's Bao post with terrific recipes