These soft, white, fluffy Char Siu Bao (Steamed Barbecue Pork Buns) are a perennial favorite. They are the perfect snack any time of the day.
When you need a Chinese snack in a kopitiam setting, nothing fits the bill like warm delicious Char Siu Bao (Steamed Barbecue Pork Buns). One or two of these self contained buns with sweet barbecue pork filling will surely satisfy any hunger or craving you may have. They are comfort food perfect for any time of the day!
Soft Fluffy Char Siu Bao
Freshly made Char Siu Bao (Steamed Barbecue Pork Buns) are to die for. Their texture cannot be beat. They are super soft and fluffy straight out of the steamer. The filling is moist and tasty. I know you will agree there is nothing quite like the satisfaction of having made something so delicious in your own kitchen.
Low Gluten Flour
These delectable buns are really not all that difficult to make. I highly recommend using low gluten bao flour, also known as Hongkong flour to make the dough. I much prefer the texture and color of Hongkong flour baos as compared to other types of flour used. You can read about my previous attempts using different flours here.
Hongkong or bao flour can be found at bakery supply stores in Malaysia and Singapore. I usually bring home one to two kilograms whenever I visit my parents in Kuala Lumpur. Recently, I found this low gluten wheat flour at my local Asian grocery store. It says on the packaging that it is a special bun flour. I can’t wait to give it a try.
Super Soft Steamed Barbecue Pork Buns
This time round, I am using a slightly different method of preparing the dough. The baking powder is only added after proofing which allows the dough to rise quickly when steamed. The texture of the baos produced in this method are soft, fluffy, and light. They appeared to be more spread out and are not as “high”. Please use all-purpose flour if you prefer a slightly firmer and “higher” bao.
Homemade Char Siu
I used home made Char Siu (Chinese Barbecue Pork) for the filling. Recipe and video will be coming up next here on the blog and on the Malaysian Chinese Kitchen Youtube Channel. You don’t want to miss it!
Similar Tools Used in Making These Char Siu Bao
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Char Siu Bao (Steamed Barbecue Pork Buns)
- 3½ cups Hongkong flour / bao flour or all-purpose flour (450g)
- ¼ cup powdered sugar / icing sugar (35g)
- ½ tsp salt
- 1¼ cups warm water (about 110°F / 43°C) (300ml)
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion (finely diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 lb char siu (diced) (450g)
- 1/3 cup char siu glaze (80ml)
- 1 tsp corn starch + 2 tbsp water
- 3 green onions (thinly sliced)
- Combine Hongkong/bao flour, powdered/icing sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Then sift into a separate large bowl.
- Make a well in the center. Pour lukewarm water into the well. Add dry yeast granules and let it dissolve, about 2 minutes.
- Stir to mix. Add vegetable oil and continue mixing to form a soft dough.
- Remove dough from the bowl and continue to knead on a lightly floured surface for 5 to 6 minutes until a soft, smooth, non-sticky dough forms.
- Put dough back into the bowl and cover with a damp towel. Allow dough to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until double in size.
- Heat vegetable oil in a medium size pan. Saute onion and garlic for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add char siu and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add char siu glaze. Cover and allow liquid to come to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove lid. Pour in corn starch mixture and allow sauce to thicken. Turn off stove. Stir in green onions. Set aside and allow filling to cool completely.
Preparing Dough Wrappers
- When dough has more or less doubled in size, gently punch down and remove dough from the bowl. Sprinkle baking powder over the dough.
- Knead until all baking powder is incorporated. Moisten your hands with water and continue to knead if the dough appears to be a little dry. Return dough to the bowl. Cover with damp towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- When dough is ready, remove from bowl. Cut dough into two. Roll a portion of the dough into a cylinder. Cut into 8 equal pieces. Do the same for the other portion of dough.
- Shape a piece of dough into a ball. Then, flatten it into a disk.
- Using a small rolling pin, roll out the edges to form a wrapper of about 3 inches in diameter with a slightly thicker center and tapered edges.
- Prepare a few dough wrappers at a time. Wrap baos with filling before preparing more dough wrappers. Keep dough in the bowl covered with damp towel to prevent it from drying out.
- Prepare 16 pieces of 2-in x 2-in parchment paper.
- Place a piece of dough wrapper on your palm and a rounded tablespoon of filling in the middle of wrapper. Gather and pleat the edges.
- Then pinch and twist to seal.
- Place seam side up onto parchment paper in a steaming rack. Repeat with remaining dough.
Steaming the Boas
- Prepare a steamer and allow water to come to a boil. Place steaming rack onto the steamer. If you are using a metal rack and lid, place a towel over the rack. Omit towel if you are using a bamboo rack. Cover with lid and steam over rapidly boiling water for 12 minutes. Steam in batches if necessary.
- Remove and serve immediately.
NOTE: The original publication of this post was on January 19th, 2016. This republication comes with minor changes to the writeup. The recipe remains unchanged.