Steamed Char Siu Bao

I’m still getting the hang of this whole blogging thing. I’ll up load a picture as soon as I figure out how.

This is a very time consuming dish which I will rarely make, but definitely worth it if just for the Char Siu. For those of you who don’t know I met my boyfriend in our freshman seminar, Chinese Food and Culture, at UNC.  In that very seminar I met some of my best friends. Needless to say I had a wonderful time. Anyways partially because of this seminar, and my childhood exposure to Korean food (yum!), I like real Chinese food.  No, there is no Sesame Chicken or Sweet and Sour Pork, but there is Dim Sum. Dim Sum is Chinese Tea Food, specifically Cantonese ( .

Bao are buns, most similar to biscuits, but only the soft richness in the middle. They are steamed and can be full of vegetables, sweet bean paste, or most commonly pork. I encourage bouncing back and forth between working on the dough (bao) and the pork.


  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 1/2 c cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp satl
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 2 c cake flour (plus more for dusting the board)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 T vegetable shortening/lard/butter

In large bowl mix yeast, water, and honey. Let stand for about 10 minutes or until yeast is proofed (it has bloomed and smells a bit like bread). Gently mix in cake flour. Put in large greased bowl, cover with a clean cloth or plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for about an hour (or until bubbly).  After bubbly stir in salt and vinegar. Slowly add cake flour and baking soda. When gently combined add shortening/lard/butter and mix with your hands. It should become sticky and shaggy like a muddy mop dog. Kneed flour for about 5 min or until you feel the gluten working (it should be solid and be difficult to kneed). Grease another bowl and let rise in a warm place for about an hour. After it has risen (about twice the original size) punch the dough down and divide into 24 pieces equal pieces.

Char Siu:

  • 1/3 tsp salt (or 1/6 tsp curing salt)
  • 4 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 4 tsp ketchup
  • 4 tsp honey (and a little extra for glazing)
  • 1/2 lbs boneless country-style spareribs, pork

Combine salt, hoisin, ketchup, and honey. Marinade pork for about 3 hrs. Bake pork at 300 degrees on perforated oiled pan for about 25 min or until cooked through. While still hot brush with honey and broil (or if you don’t have a broiler cook at 500 degrees) for 2-3 min each side. Remember to brush each side with honey. Let the pork rest before roughly chopping.

Char Siu Sauce:

  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce (I suggest the very dark)
  • 1 tsp rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 T oyster sauce
  • 1 T hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 T cornstarch (dissolved in 1 T of water)
  • 1/2 lb char siu

In small sauce pan mix 1/3 c water, sugar, soy sauce, rice wine, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, and sesame oil.  Cook over medium until it bubbles. Then add cornstarch and water. After about 1 min (or it has started to thicken) add cooked pork. Cool to room temp.

To Put it all together:

Flatten one of the pieces of dough in a round circle. In the middle put 1 – 2 tsp of the pork in the middle. Gather the edges and pinch in the middle to make a circle bun. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling.  Don’t worry if you have extra filling because it’s awesomely yummy on its own.  Let them rise one more time for about 30 min. Just cover with your clean.
Now comes the difficult choice, eat all 24 by yourself or freeze them.  I encourage freeze them. Eating all of them would cause a tremendous stomach ache, I can only eat 3 at a time (that is in one sitting, I know someone had the idea of me trying to fit three in my mouth at the same time).  Anyways if freeze them powder them with more cake flour especially on the bottom and make sure they aren’t touching when you freeze them. You can compact them more once they are frozen. They will last for about a month in the freezer.

When steaming, you can line with cheese cloth to protect your steamers (but I didn’t) and place on small squares of baking parchment (or wax paper).  If you froze them wait until they are completely unfrozen before you steam them. Steam for about 12 min over high heat. Warning they will double in size while cooking. They are best hot, but still good almost anytime.

*this recipe is from Dim Sum: The art of chinese tea lunch by Ellen Leong Blonder*

Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or recipe requests!

Until later life is short, lick the spoon!


2 responses to this post.

  1. I didn’t know that’s where you guys met! and I am SUPER excited about the new blog – you are one of the *best* cooks I know! 🙂


  2. Posted by Didi on April 23, 2011 at 6:33 am

    Love the blog and can’t wait for the next recipe! Also looking forward to the “picture ass” 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: