Saturday, 12 November 2011

How to Make: Simple Char Siu Pork Buns (Cheating Version :P)(Nikuman (肉まん)/ Char Siu Bao (叉燒包)/ Jjinppang mandu 찐빵 만두 )

Bar-bq pork buns (Char Siu bao) is one of the most common Chinese food available.   It is sold very commonly in bakeries, dim sum/yum cha restaurants, supermarkets, almost anywhere.  It is also very common in Japan, Korea, Hawaii and Southeast Asia as snacks, however, as expected, the fillings do vary drastically.  Today, I will show you how to make my ''cheating'' version of it that has been handed down from my grandparents.  I have made them with different fillings, but this is by far my favourite.  It tastes just like Char siur bao, but you don't have to make or buy the Char siur.  Char siur is Barb-qued pork butt or shoulder that has been marinated with many different sauces overnight, and char-grilled. The cooking process is very long, smelly and tiring if you choose to make it.  But this recipe, I use ground pork belly, which will be very similar. No one will ever tell that you didn't use it! You will save many hours and a heck of a lot of energy making it this way.  The dough has been a very long adventure for me.  I started making these baos (buns) since I was a little kid, and I've been experimenting with the ratio, the flours, and all sorts of things. It is fluffy and very white. I am glad to share with a very special dough recipe with you today, so please enjoy this delicious bun!

How to Make: Simple Char Siu Pork Buns (Cheating Version :P) (Nikuman (肉まん)/ Char Siu Bao (叉燒包)/ Jjinppang mandu 찐빵 만두 )
Yields: 8 buns
Active Cooking Time: 15 min
Non Active Cooking Time:  1 hr 30 min
Dough :
  • 250 gm of All-purpose flour (2 cups/0.55 lb)
  • 25 gm of sugar (2 tbsp)
  • 7 gm of Instant Yeast (1 generous teaspoon)
  • 7 gm of Baking Powder (1 generous teaspoon)
  • 135 mL of lukewarm water (1/2 cup)
  • 15 mL of toasted sesame oil (1 tbsp)
  • 10 mL of vinegar (2 tsp)
Filling (Meat Mixture):
  • 200 gm of Ground Pork Belly (You can use any turkey, beef or chicken too) (1/2 pound)
  • 2 tbsp of Korean Hot Pepper Paste (Gochuchang)
  • 2 tbsp of Oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp of Hoisin Sauce (optional)
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 2 tsp of potato starch or corn starch
  • 3 tbsp of water

    • Combine all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and baking powder in a mixing bowl.  Add in the luke warm water and stir.  As the dough comes together, add in the sesame oil and rice vinegar.  The dough will look like there is not enough water at first, but there is, the more you knead, the more moist the dough will be.
    • When the dough forms a dough, knead it on a very lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is not sticky or crumbly any more.  Form it into a ball and put it in a large bowl.
    • Put the bowl of dough in a relatively warm place (25-30 degrees C or 80-90 F) for about 1 hour or if the temperature of the room is colder, let it rise a little longer until the dough doubles in size.
    • Punch the dough to remove the build up of gas, and divide the dough into 8 pieces.  Shape each of the 8 pieces into a ball, keeping the surface smooth.  Cover the 8 pieces with a damp towel and let it rest before filling and shaping.

      Meat Filling:
      • Combine in a separate bowl, the honey, Korean Hot pepper paste (Gochuchang), honey, Oyster sauce, Hoisin sauce and 2 tbsp of the water.  This is the sauce.
      • Heat up a frying pan or wok to very-high heat.  Add in 1 tsp of oil, and the ground meat.  Allow the meat to scorch a little bit as you stir.  When the meat is completely cooked, add in the sauce and reduce the heat to medium.  Simmer for 3 minutes.
      • Dissolve the potato starch/corn starch and the remaining 1 tbsp of water in a separate bowl.  Add it to the meat mixture until it thickens and becomes sticky.  Let it cool completely in the fridge.   
      • Take a ball of dough and flatten it with either a rolling pan or with your hands to a diameter of about 10 cm or 4 inches on a NON floured surface.  Put two generous spoonfuls of the meat mixture and crimp the edges, and then finally twisting it to enclose.  Place each bun on a muffin liner.  Do the same with the remaining 8 pieces.
      • Put the buns in a steamer on the lowest possible heat for 15 min.  Then, steam the buns on high heat for 20 min.
      • Serve warm!  They can be frozen after they have been steamed.  Just microwave or re-steam before serving!

      • You can use real Char siur if you want, just cut them into small pieces and use the same sauce.
      • Gochuchang is a hot Korean pepper paste, it doesn't make it very spicy, but it makes it very red and sticky.  It will also give it a unique complex flavour.  If you cannot find it, just use 1 tbsp of oyster sauce and 1 tbsp of honey.  It won't be as vibrant in colour though.
      • You can freeze the buns, but steam them first.
      • Try filling it with red bean paste or sweet taro paste.  It makes a nice sweet dessert.
      • You want to make sure that you scorch the meat just a little (not too much) to give this the signature smokey flavour of a char-grilled char siur.  Just let some of the bits get really dark.


          1. Thanks for sharing. This looks very delicious with using gochuchang. I must get this pepper paste at the Korean store soon.
            Happy weekend :)

          2. I'm currently obsessed with char siu buns. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

          3. Your blog is awesome! I'm very interested in Asian cooking and you share great cooking tips. I'm happy to follow you for more of your cooking :D

            These boas look super yummy!

          4. This comment has been removed by the author.

          5. @Ann@Anncoo Journal Thanks for dropping by! Yes, Gochuchang is very delicious!

          6. @AnonymousYes I am too. Happy Weekend! Thank you for dropping by!

          7. These buns are so delicious! Asian cuisine is the best! but if these Char Siu Pork Buns are "simple", how comlicated is the real version?!


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