Char Siu Bao (Steamed Pork Buns)

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These buns are a grab-and-go street food in China. Use a multi-tray bamboo steamer can cook all the buns at one time. To make them up to two months ahead, fill the dough, and freeze unsteamed buns on a tray in the freezer before placing them in a freezer-safe zip-top plastic bag. Steam directly from the freezer for an additional five minutes. Serve these for a meal or as a fantastic appetizer for entertaining.

Steamed Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao)
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr
Active Time:
1 hrs 35 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 5 mins
Servings:
10

Ingredients

Filling

  • ½ teaspoon five-spice powder

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions

  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1 ½ teaspoons honey

  • 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Dough

  • 1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)

  • 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (about 14 2/3 ounces)

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

Directions

  1. To prepare the filling, rub five-spice powder evenly over pork. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 18 minutes or until a thermometer registers 155°, turning pork occasionally. Remove pork from pan, and let stand 15 minutes.

  2. Cut pork crosswise into thin slices; cut slices into thin strips. Place pork in a medium bowl. Add onions, hoisin sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate.

  3. To prepare dough, combine 1 cup warm water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes.

  4. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add flour, oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°F), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

  5. Punch dough down; let rest 5 minutes. Turn dough out onto a clean surface; knead in baking powder. Let dough rest 5 minutes.

  6. Divide dough into 10 equal portions, forming each into a ball. Working with one dough ball at a time (cover remaining dough balls to keep from drying), roll ball into a 5-inch circle. Place 1/4 cup filling in center of dough circle. Bring up sides to cover filling and meet on top. Pinch and seal closed with a twist. Repeat procedure with remaining dough balls and filling.

  7. Arrange 5 buns seam side down, 1 inch apart, in each tier of a 2-tiered bamboo steamer. Stack tiers; cover with lid.

  8. Add water to a large skillet to a depth of 1 inch; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Place steamer in pan; steam 15 minutes or until puffed and set. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Tip

Kick up the spice level with some red chili peppers, cilantro, or jalapeños. Tiny cubed cucumbers make a fresh, crunchy addition. Hint: The beauty of this recipe is that you don't have to stick with pork. Make it a veggie, bean or even seafood bun.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

259 Calories
6g Fat
36g Carbs
14g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 259
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Protein 14g 28%
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 27mg 9%
Sodium 343mg 15%
Calcium 54mg 4%
Iron 3mg 17%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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