Chef and Palestine on a Plate app creator Joudie Kalla shares her recipe for Char Sui Bao Buns
Steamed buns are all the rage now and though places such as Flesh and Buns and Bao London are certainly the hotspots where you can enjoy them in London, there is no reason why you can’t make them at home.
Perfect for a treat with friends, they’re great to have on a summer’s day in the garden with some sake or wine. You can fill them with anything but my favourite choice is pork belly. Try them with some crispy salad and a sesame dressing. I’m sure you’ll agree: They’re simply divine.
Ingredients for the buns:
7g yeast (fast-acting).
50ml vegetable oil.
1 tablespoon baking powder.
200ml warm water.
Ingredients for the filling:
200g pork belly.
300g pork loin.
3 tablespoons of sesame oil.
3 tablespoons of ketchup.
5 tablespoons of soya sauce.
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce.
2 garlic cloves.
1 knob of ginger.
1 tablespoon salt.
– Make the pastry first and as it is rising make the mixture.
– Mix the water and sugar together and when the sugar has dissolved mix in the yeast.
– Set it aside and in another bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt together and add the yeast mix.
– Add the oil and using a kitchen aid mix the combined ingredients till you have a firm smooth ball. It should take about 5-7 minutes and this will help activate the gluten in the dough and help it rise.
– When you have achieved this, place in a nicely oiled bowl and set it someplace warm and cover it with cling film and let it rise. This should take about an hour.
– Mix all the sauces together and add the water. Cut the pork into small cubes and add to the marinade. Place in a pot and bring to the boil.
– Let this simmer for about 30-40 minutes, and top up the water so as not to catch and burn.
– Add a teaspoon of flour at this point to thicken the sauce a little.
– Then, when it has finished cooking, take off the heat and set aside to cool.
– Place it by a window and let it cool then put it in the fridge to harden with the sauce.
– Roll the dough out into a long strip and cut into about 12 equal sized pieces and then flatten them to make discs and place your filling in the middle.
– Pleat the disc around the filling and then twist the top over so you seal it all in. Repeat this with all the other pieces and place on a tray to rise again for about 30-40 minutes.
– When they have risen, get your bamboo steamer and fill a wok or pan with water just enough to create steam but not enough to touch the base of the bamboo.
– Place your char siu on parchment paper or greaseproof paper and steam for about 12-15 minutes.
– You will know when the buns are ready by touching them and also the aroma that will fill your kitchen will be irresistible.
Serve with soya sauce, diced chilli, and sesame oil but be sure to eat as soon they are cooked as Char Sui Bao Buns do sadly quickly lose their quality and fluffiness.
Joudie Kalla is a Palestinian chef and a lover of Middle Eastern food. She runs Baity Kitchen Catering and recently launched an app named Palestine on a Plate to share Palestinian recipes and personal stories. Follow her on Twitter at @BaityKitchen.
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