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Daring Kitchen December 2011: Char sui bao

Posted by Jeanne on December 18, 2011

Blog-checking lines: Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles! Sara chose awesome Char Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!

I am a day (actually several days) late and a dollar short on this one, as it was supposed to be posted on the 14th.  But I did make it before the posting date – just couldn’t get it together enough to actually write the post.

Char Sui (Cantonese BBQ Pork)


1 pork fillet/tenderloin (roughly 1-1.5 pounds)
4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 TB peanut oil
3 TB honey

2 TB hoisin sauce
1 TB light soy sauce
1 TB dark soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 TB shaoxing cooking wine
½ tsp ground white pepper
pinch of salt
½ tsp five spice powder
½ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp red food colouring


Trim the pork loin to remove fat and tendon and slice lengthways so you have two long pieces, then cut in half to make four pieces total.  Place in a non-reactive container for marinating.

Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine.  Cover pork well with ⅔ of the marinade mixture. Marinate for a minimum of 4 hours, I did overnight. Place the reserved ⅓ portion of the marinade covered in the fridge to use as a baste when cooking the pork.

The next day, pre-heat oven to moderate 350°F.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Place a rack in the pan to elevate the pork, and place the pork on the rack.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes, basting with the remaining marinade and turning every 2 to 3 minutes.

Turn the heat up to 400°F and cook until cooked through.  If you want, you can run under the broiler at the end of the cooking process to get some nice charring on the ends/edges.

Baked Char Sui Bao (Cantonese BBQ Pork Bun)

Makes 12

Dough Ingredients

1 TB yeast
0.25 C sugar
0.5 C warm water
2 C plain flour
1 egg
3 TB oil
0.5 tsp salt

Dough Directions:

Place the sugar and warm water in a bowl, mix until the sugar has dissolved. Add yeast and leave it for 10 – 15 minutes until it becomes all frothy.

Measure flour into a large bowl.  Add yeast mixture, egg, oil and salt and stir. Bring the flour mixture together with your hands.  Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and slightly elastic.  (I actually did this in our stand mixer.  I’m lazy about doughs).

Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise until it has doubled in size. This will take from 1 – 2 hours depending on weather conditions.

While the dough rises, make your filling.

Filling Ingredients

12 oz. char sui, finely chopped
2 green onions, finely sliced
1 TB hoisin
1 TB dark soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
0.25 C chicken stock
1 tsp cornstarch
0.5 TB vegetable oil

 Filling Directions:

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or pan over medium high heat.  Add diced char sui and spring onions, and cook for 1 minute.

Add hoisin, dark soy sauce and sesame oil to the pork mixture and stir fry for one minute.

Mix cornstarch and stock together and then add to the pork mixture.  Stir well and cook until the mixture thickens, about a minute or two.  Set aside until ready to use.


Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with a dash of water

Preheat oven to 400º F.  Grease a baking sheet, or line with a baking mat or parchment paper.  Once dough has doubled in size, knock back and divide in to 12 portions.  Shape each portion into a round ball.

Roll and stretch each ball of dough to a circle approximately 3 inches in diameter.

Keep the dough slightly thicker in the center, so that when the buns cook they do not split on top.

Place about two tablespoons of filling on the dough circle.

Then gather the edges and seal your bun.

Place the bun seal side down on your baking sheet. Continue with rest of dough.

Once all buns are complete brush with the egg wash.

Bake in your preheated oven of for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Verdict:  delicious!  The meat was a pain to make because of all the steps, but the dough was SUPER easy to work with, and stuffing them goes quickly (much faster than making tamales or dumplings/empanadas if you’ve done those).  We have quite a bit of char sui left, and I think sometime before the spawn arrives I’m going to make a whole ton of these and freeze them.


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