Sunday, May 18, 2008

Char Siu Bao (Steamed Pork Buns)

I was asked to make sure that food subjects be included in my blog with a special request to post a weekly recipe. Hopefully my posting a recipe here and there will help spread happiness to many bellies! So this week I made these amazing Steamed Pork Buns (a Cooking Light Recipe) using my nifty new steamer from Crate and Barrel.

Even if you don't have a steamer, you should still make this recipe (you can use a collander over a pan of boiling hot water with a lid on top) because it was AMAZING! Graham actually introduced me to this kind of steamed bun at Folk Life Festival just after we started dating, but this is the first time I've tried making them on my own. SO GOOD! I made the bun dough in my bread machine to speed up the hands-on process but you can make it the old fashioned way with a bowl and spoon if you don't have a bread machine. Anyway, they are sort of a little labor intensive but well worth it. I used ground turkey instead of the pork and it tasted just as good. Enjoy!

Steamed Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao)
(adapted from Cooking Light Magazine)

2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 pound ground pork or turkey
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 14 2/3 ounces)
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

To prepare the filling, heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground meat and five-spice powder to pan and saute, breaking up meat with a spoon until cooked through (~8-10 minutes). Remove meat from pan and place in medium bowl and let stand 15 minutes. Add onions and next 7 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon salt); stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate.

To prepare dough, combine 1 cup warm water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. 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°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

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

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

Yield: 10 servings (serving size: 1 bun)

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posted by kelsie