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How to Make Chinese Steam Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao)
My love affair with Chinese steam buns began back in Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles is very diversified when it comes to dining out. No matter what your food preference, you are very likely to find a restaurant to suit your pallet. When I was living there my family and I loved to go to a restaurant called Boa Wow, it was owned by the amazingly funny Weird Al Yankovic. They specialized in Cantonese cuisine and had the greatest variety of dim sum one could ever imagine. When I went there I always loved to order a couple of their steamed buns also known as boas. Traditionally boas are made with pork, but they can include all types of fillings.
History of the Chinese Steamed Bun
Steamed buns go back thousands of years and can be traced back to the Jin Dynasty. The legend has it that Zhu Giliang in the period of the Three Kingdoms replaced real human heads with head shaped objects made of flour and beef or mutton in the memorial ceremony of LushuiRiver. This offering was known as the “steamed bun head”. These steamed buns were large in size and usually filled with meat.
In the Tang and Song dynasty steam buns were smaller and made with or without meat. The steamed bun, also known as boas has been called referred to by other names, because of variations in how it is stuffed and ingredients used. Steam buns are a part of what is known as Chinese dim sum.
Video YouTube by Akhnaten
Recipe for Meat and Vegetable bun (Char Sui Boa)
1 Lb Ground Pork
1 tsp Garlic, minced
3 ea Tbsp Onion or leek, Chopped
5 dried mushrooms, soaked in water and chopped
1 Lbs spinach or cabbage; boiled, drained, chopped
3 Tbsp Sesame oil
4 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Wine
½ tsp MSG (optional)
8 Cups Water
2 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp oil
8 tsp Dry Yeast
4 Cups Flour
- Mix all the filling ingredients in a bowl.
- Mix dry yeast with water and add to flour
- Mix in other ingredients for pastry mixture in bowl
- Kneed pastry into soft dough
- After dough is well kneaded place in floured bowl and cover
- Allow dough to rise for an hour in a warm place
- Knead dough again after it has risen
- Knead dough on a floured board and roll it into a long sausage.
- Cut dough sausage into 1 inch lengths.
- flatten each piece of dough
- and roll each one to the size of a saucer to form wrapping
- Put a Tbsp of filling in the center of each wrapping
- Flute of wrapping, bring edges together forming a sack and seal by giving a slight twist and pinching with your thumb and forefinger.
- Place buns in steamer rack on a wet cloth
- Steam for 15 to 20 minutes
- Leftover buns may be served after reheating either by steaming or frying
Here you have a dish that you can serve at parties or just for your family or friends. Your children will love these and you can even have them help you in making them. This dish is a great way to get children introduced to the wonders of oriental cuisine.