Steamed Barbecue Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao) – Sweet, Steamy Memories

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In younger, leaner times, I’d often rely on the delicious, inexpensive calorie bomb that is the steamed barbecue pork bun. They were twice the size, and for a few bucks you could get very full…for about 30 minutes, and then you were starving again. Nothing a Mission-style burrito couldn’t fix.

Anyway, the filling was chopped Chinese-style barbecue pork mixed with some kind of mysterious, gelatinous red sauce, which was significantly sweeter than what I’m doing here. 

That’s probably why they don’t seem to come out quite the same as I remember. I probably need a lot more sugar, as well as copious amounts of MSG. Having said that, I was pretty pleased with my insides, but as usual I encourage you to freestyle. 

Here’s a link to a fairly classic pork bun filling recipe, in case you want something slightly more authentic, and since it looks just like the stuff I mentioned above, I might give it a try next time. But, regardless what you fill yours with, I really do hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 12 Steamed Barbecue Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao):
For the dough:
3/4 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
2 cups *self-rising flour
For the filling (this made more than I needed):
2 cups chopped Chinese-style barbecue pork, or other barbecued pork product
1/4 cup finely sliced green onions
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup hoisin sauce, or as needed
salt (soy sauce) and cayenne to taste
2 teaspoons white sugar, optional

*If you don't have self-rising flour, you can use 2 cups all-purpose flour sifted with 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon fine table salt.


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