Chinese bao are a staple, and fun, dish at most dim sum meals. Ranging between steamed or baked, and from sweet plum filling to savory spicy pork, and everything in between, they’re a very versatile dish. We slap anything between two slices of bread, and almost all European countries have a meat filled dough dish of some kind, and that doesn’t even begin to bring in pastries. Many might argue that Italy is king here, between stromboli’s, calzones, and of course pizza.
This is the Asian, predominantly Chinese, variation on that idea. The meat in this recipe is ideally a mildly seasoned pulled or shredded pork, although shredded chicken will work great and might be easier for some people to make in the correct batch size.
Char Siu Bao Recipe
Soften the yeast in a bowl for 10 minutes;
- 2 teaspoons dry instant yeast
- ¾ cup warm water
- ¼ cup sugar
Add and stir until you have a shaggy dough;
- 1 egg yolk (save the white)
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 3 cups flour
You can use a stand mixture for your kneading process. This batch size is a bit small for some of the machines to get an effective knead cycle. Since it is a small-ish batch you can easily turn on to a well-floured board and knead until smooth. Lightly oil your bowl, put in the dough, and then flip it over so that the top surface has a sheer coating of oil. Let rise in a warm spot for over an hour or until doubled in size.
While it rises build your bao filling. It will benefit from a rest time for the flavors to meld, but if your kitchen is warm put it in the refrigerator after mixing to be safe.
In a bowl stir together;
- 1 ½ cups pulled pork or chicken
- ¼ finely dices sweet onion
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons sweet chili sauce
- 1 teaspoon five spice seasoning
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured board or counter, cut the dough into 12 equally sized pieces and roll to a ball shape. Use a rolling pin or your hand to flatten the balls into small circles. Place a spoonful of the filling on each one and bring the edges together, pinching them to form a seal. Place the sealed side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Whisk together in a small bowl;
- 1 Egg white
- 1 tablespoon warm water
Immediately before putting the oven, brush the top of each sphere with the egg wash. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes until the bao are well browned. Enjoy!