But since I've thought about making them for about five years, I figured it was finally time. And now having made them, I've figured out that they weren't so hard after all.
And I've accomplished something I put my mind to! Maybe more than just accomplished it too, because they tasted spot on!
Find out my weekend project below, I used an article from the February 2011 issue of Fine Cooking to help me along the way.
Char Siu Bau / BBQ Pork Buns - makes 16 buns with enough filling leftover to freeze and make another 16 buns later on
Marinate the pork
1 medium large pork tenderloin
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing) I could only find this at my Asian market
1 star anise, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch of salt and pepper
1. Cut the pork tenderloin into three even sections and poke each section with a knife.
2. Combine all ingredients in a baking dish and coat the pork tenderloin in it marinade.
3. Marinate over night or at least eight hours, in your fridge. Flip the pork once while it's marinating.
4. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and place the pork with the marinade on top. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and bake for about 20 minutes, flipping the pork at least once during the cooking process.
5. At the end of the cooking process, broil the pork so it gets a bit crispy, about 1 minute.
6. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Make the filling
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 pinch salt and pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing)
3 teaspoons sesame oil
1. Slice the cooled pork into thin slices. You can choose to stop here and enjoy dinner if you like, or keep going and make Char Siu Baus!
2. Then finely chop it into bite sized pieces.
3. Now combine chicken stock, oyster sauce, ketchup, sugar, corn starch, soy sauce, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.
4. In a large frying pan at medium heat, saute the onion in the olive oil until it's clear and soft. Add the pork and the chicken stock mixture and cook until the sauce thickens and bubbles, about 6 more minutes.
5. Pour the Chinese rice wine and sesame oil over top and stir to combine.
Make the dough and form the buns
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons melted shortening
1. Combine the dry ingredients and whisk together.
2. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk, water, and shortening. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough forms a smooth, elastic ball.
3. Cover a cloth and let rest for an hour.
4. Cut out 16 squares of parchment paper, about 2 1/2 inches squares.
5. Roll the dough into a log and cut into 16 even pieces.
6. Take one piece of dough and roll it out into a flat circle with a rolling pin. Place about one tablespoon of pork filling in the centre.
7. Now begin to crimp the edges of the dough together with your fingers.
9. Now pinch together the crimped edges so you've closed the bun's top and repeat with all 16 balls of dough.
10. Now it's time to cook the buns! Fill a medium sized pot with a few inches of water, place a steamer basket over top, and bring the water to a boil. Fill the basket with buns and steam for about 15 minutes or until the buns begin to open on the top and show their filling.
It's best of use a wooden steamer basket so the water that sits on top of the lid is absorbed rather than drip down onto your buns, but I've found that you can remove the lid during steaming and wipe the water off so none drips down.
11. Serve the buns with dim sum for breakfast or brunch or enjoy as a snack with tea.
Try my recipe for Green Onion Pancakes if you like these. They are much easier to make and just as satisfying!