Pork Char Siu Buns

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The other day I mentioned that I had seen a recipe for Chinese pork barbecue so I decided to make my own in the slow cooker. Since I wanted the totally not made by someone Chinese  complete Chinese experience, I of course had to go all out and make Pork Char Siu Buns. I’d seen these buns before so I had an idea of the concept. Kung Fu Panda was quite fond of the buns. It’s how he discovered just how nimble he really was if you’ve ever seen the movie.

The Kid and I have also seen them in the quick lunch section at Whole Foods. We’ve eyed them plenty of times, but we’ve never given them a try. I’ve no clue how they are really supposed to taste so I can’t tell you if these came close or not. They were quite the tasty morsel though in their own right. Since I’d never made them, I searched for a recipe to start with.

I found this one on Closet Cooking and it looked simple enough. I did make a few modifications to the recipe and I didn’t use his filling recipe at all. I just modified the bun part and for the most part followed his wrapping and twisting instructions. The buns can be baked or steamed depending on how you like them. Since we had never tried them before, I wasn’t sure which route to take. So I baked 6 and I steamed 6. Best of both worlds right?

In the taste testing, I decided that I liked the baked version best right away. They were crispy, golden and warm. They were still good as leftovers but not as good reheated in the microwave as the first go round. The steamed version paled in comparison right away. They weren’t as crispy and had more of a not quite mushy texture. However I loved the steamed much more as leftovers. So for me I would bake them if I planned to eat them immediately, and I would steam them if I wanted them later.

Pork Char Siu Buns Pork Char Siu Buns

  • 1/3 cup slightly warm (not hot!) water
  • 1/3 cup (41g) all purpose flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup (203g) all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup water, divided
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Shredded pork char siu and sauce, for filling

Mix the 1/3 cup warm water, 1/3 cup flour, yeast, and 2 tsp sugar in a small bowl. Set it aside for about 15 minutes to allow the yeast to activate. The mixture will start to bubble and puff up a bit.

In a large bowl, measure the 1 3/4 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, salt, remaining sugar, and oil. Add the yeast mixture. Slowly add a little bit of water and stir well with a fork. The dough will start to form a ball. You want to add just enough water so that the dough balls up but doesn’t get too sticky to handle. If you’ve ever made bread or biscuits, that’s what you are aiming for.

I used slightly less than 1/2 cup. Knead the dough by hand for a couple minutes until well mixed. Place back into the bowl and cover. Put the bowl in a warm area and let it rise for 3 hours or so. It will rise up and double in size.

Sprinkle the dough with the remaining baking soda and turn it out onto a cutting board. Knead the baking powder into the dough. Break or cut the dough into 12 equal sized pieces. I rolled mine into a ball and then cut the ball in half, then each half into 6 pieces. It made it easier for my brain doing it that way. Your brain may vary. 😉

Roll each piece into a little round, pizza crust shape. Place about 2 Tbsp of the shredded pork in the middle of the crust. Drizzle with a little sauce. Pinch the sides up around it, and give the top a twist to seal it. You’re kind of just gathering the sides at the top and twist. Mine weren’t pretty by the way. Just go with it. Place the bun on a piece of waxed paper, and repeat with the remaining 11 pieces.

If you are baking the buns, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake them for about 12 minutes until they are golden brown. If you are steaming them, steam them for 15 minutes.

Makes 12 buns. The calories and macros per bun for the dough only are approximately 88 calories per bun – 2g protein, 18g carbs, and 1g fat.

Due to the time it takes to whip these bad boys together, it’s definitely not for the average weekday meal. It’s more of a weekend, go do something while the dough rises thing. It was worth the effort to me though and I’ll be making them again at some point. I’m now dying to try the ones at Whole Foods so I can make a comparison. If you try these, let me know what you think and tell me baked or steamed. I need to know! 🙂

PS – I was wondering as I rolled out the dough if maybe you could take the easy way out and use crescent roll dough for these. The baked buns had that same kind of flaky texture so it could be a perfectly viable substitute.

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