Steamed Buns with Sweet BBQ Roast Pork - Filipino Char Siu Bao
Sweet BBQ Roast Pork Asado:
3 lbs boneless pork shoulder (pork butt) [1360 g]
1/4 cup brown sugar [55 g]
2 tsp table salt [11 g]
1/2 tsp five spice powder [1 g]
1/4 tsp ground black pepper [0.6 g]
1/2 tsp sesame oil [2.5 mL]
1 tbsp cooking rice wine [15 mL]
1 tbsp soy sauce [15 mL]
1 tbsp hoisin sauce [15 mL]
1/8 tsp red food coloring powder (optional) [0.3 g]
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp honey [30 mL]
1 tbsp water [15 mL]
Steamed Siopao Dough: (enough for 12 buns)
1 cup lukewarm water [240 mL]
1 tsp active dry yeast [3 g]
5 tbsp granulated sugar [63 g]
2 cups all-purpose flour [240 g]
1 cup cornstarch [120 g]
1/4 cup vegetable oil [60 mL]
2 1/2 tsp baking powder [10 g]
Pork Siopao Filling: (enough for 12 buns)
1 tbsp vegetable oil [15 mL]
1/3 cup red onion (finely minced) [17 g]
1 tbsp brown sugar [12.5 g]
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce [22.5 mL]
1 tbsp oyster sauce [15 mL]
2 tsp sesame oil [10 mL]
1/2 cup chicken stock [120 mL]
2 tbsp all-purpose flour [15.6 g]
1 1/2 cups diced roast pork asado
2 tbsp white vinegar for steaming (optional) [30 mL]
Take 3 lbs. of boneless pork shoulder (pork butt), and cut into 2-inch-thick chunks.
In a small mixing bowl, add in 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tsp table salt, 1/2 tsp five spice powder, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp cooking rice wine, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp hoisin sauce, 1/8 tsp of red food coloring powder (optional), and 4 cloves of finely minced garlic. Mix these together to form the
Set aside 2 tbsp of this asado sauce in a small bowl, cover with plastic, and store in the fridge. This will be used for basting the meat when roasting.
In a large nonreactive bowl like glass or stainless steel, combine the 3 lbs. of pork chunks and the remaining asado sauce and rub the asado sauce into the pork very well. Cover this with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight for a minimum of 8 hours.
The next day, place your oven rack on the upper third position in your oven and preheat your oven to 475 F (245 C).
Line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil, and pour in 1 1/2 cups of water into the pan. Place a metal rack on top, and place the marinated pork pieces on the metal rack, spacing them out as much as possible.
Roast the pork in the preheated oven at 475 F (245 C) for 10 minutes, then turn down the oven temperature to 375 F (190 C) and continue roasting for another 15 minutes. Take the pork out of the oven, flip the pork pieces over, an additional 1 cup of water to the pan, turn the pan 180 degrees in the oven for even roasting, and continue to roast for another 15 minutes.
While the pork is roasting in the oven, combine the reserved 2 tbsp of asado sauce with 2 tbsp of honey and 1 tbsp of water, whisk together forming a basting liquid.
After a total of 40 minutes of roasting, take the pork out of the oven, baste the pork, flip it and baste the other side of pork. Then continue roasting at 375 F (190 C) for another 10 minutes.
After a total of 50 minutes of roasting, the pork pieces should be done - a meat thermometer should read a minimum of 160 F (70 C) when inserted into the thickest part of each piece. If it is not yet fully cooked (under 160 F / 70 C), continue roasting and keep checking in 10 min increments.
When the pork is done, remove it from the oven. Let it rest for a minimum of 10 minutes before slicing.
Dice enough of the pork asado to make about 1 1/2 cups diced roast pork for the steamed siopao filling recipe (enough for 12 buns). Use more as needed, depending on how many siopao
buns you are making. Save the rest to slice and serve with rice or whatever side you like, or dice and make additional batches of steamed siopao another day. This roast pork asado can be frozen and defrosted as needed - just wrap it tightly in foil before putting in the freezer.
Siopao Dough Part 1:
Take the bowl of your stand mixer, add the 1 cup of lukewarm water (we used warm water from the tap - temp should be around 105 F or 40 C) and sprinkle in 1 tsp of active dry yeast. Whisk until the yeast has dissolved into the water.
Add in 5 tbsp of granulated sugar and whisk this in till dissolved.
Add in 1/4 cup vegetable oil, and mix it in.
In a separate mixing bowl using a sieve, sift together 2 cups of AP flour and 1 cup of cornstarch. Add this mixture of dry ingredients into the yeast-water mixture. With your hands, gently combine the wet and dry ingredients so that all the dry ingredients are moistened.
Fit the mixer with the dough hook attachment, and turn on the mixer to the very lowest setting on your mixer ("stir" setting in our stand mixer), and let it mix until the dough is smooth, about 10 minutes. The dough should not be sticking to the bottom or the sides of the bowl. If kneading by hand, this usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
When the dough has come together, it should look smooth. Turn off the mixer. Leaving the bowl still attached with the dough hook, cover the dough with a damp cloth (or plastic wrap), and let it rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
Pork Siopao Filling:
While the dough is resting, work on the meat filling. In a wok or large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add in 1/3 cup of finely minced red onions, and sauté for 1 minute.
Turn the heat down to medium-low, and add in 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, or 2 tsp sesame oil. Stir the ingredients to combine and let this come to a simmer.
In the meantime, in a small mixing bowl add in 1/2 cup of chicken stock and 2 AP flour, whisk them together till the AP flour is dissolved. Pour the chicken stock/AP flour mixture into the wok while whisking to break up any lumps, and bring this to a boil once more, occasionally whisking. Once it's boiling, let it continue to cook for another 1 minute or less, just until the mixture has thickened.
Turn off the heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups of diced roast pork asado. Then using a tbsp measuring spoon, scoop this siopao filling, 1 heaping tbsp at a time, onto a sheet pan to divide them into 12 portions. Adjust the amounts, judging by eye, so the 12 portions are approximately equal. Set this aside and let it cool to room temperature.
Siopao Dough Part 2:
When the dough has rested for 2 hours, remove the cloth, and sprinkle 2 1/2 tsp baking powder over the dough.
Turn on the mixer with hook attachment back on to the very lowest speed ("stir" on our machine). Let it mix for 3 minutes, or until the baking powder is mixed in and the dough looks smooth again.
Re-cover with the cloth and let it rest for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, cut twelve 3" x 3" squares.
Assembling the Siopao Buns:
Turn the dough onto a smooth clean surface, roll it into a long tube, and divide it into 12 approximately equal pieces, estimating by eye and weight in your hands.
Form the dough into tight spheres by rolling each piece in your palms with cupped hands - do this for all 12 pieces. This ensures that there are no air bubbles in the dough. Then set them aside to rest under a cloth to prevent them from drying out.
Then take 1 sphere at a time, and use a rolling pin to flatten each sphere into a circular disc shape that's about 4 inches in diameter. The thickness of the dough should taper towards the edges of the circle - i.e. the disc should be thicker in the center and thinner around the edges.
Add one portion of filling (about 1 heaping tablespoon) in the center of the circle. Fold the disc together by bringing the opposite sides of the circle together, and then pinching the closed circle together tightly, then twisting the top, to ensure the bun is sealed.
Invert the bun placing it seam-side down on one of the 3" x 3" squares of parchment paper. And shape it with your hands as necessary to create a more even circular shape.
Repeat this with the other 11 pieces of dough and remaining portions of filling. Cover the formed buns with plastic wrap as you're forming the remaining buns, to prevent the formed buns from drying out.
When you're ready to steam the buns, prepare a steamer on medium-high heat, with the pot filled about 1/4 of the way up. Add in an optional 2 tbsp of white vinegar to the water. This creates whiter looking buns when they are cooked.
When the water is boiling and the steamer is preheated, turn down the heat to medium-low, brush the buns you're about to steam with some water immediately before adding them to the steamer, then place them in the steamer. Brushing with water will help the buns maintain a smooth surface during steaming. Close the lid, and steam over medium-low heat for 15 minutes for each batch. Do not open the lid during that time.
Depending on the size of your steamer, steam the buns in batches with a minimum of 1" gap in between the buns and 1/2" from the walls of the steamer, as they will expand while steaming. We're steaming our buns in six batches, with 2 buns in each batch.
You can store uncooked formed buns in the freezer in an airtight container. Cook frozen buns in the same way as described above, with about 5 minutes extra steaming time, for a total of 20 minutes.
Leftover cooked buns should be stored in an airtight container, and will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Reheat by steaming on medium-low heat for 15 minutes.