This fried char siu bao (叉烧餐包) is different from the steamed Chinese pork sandwich.

Traditionally, Char Siu Bao is a steamed meat bun served for breakfast especially in dim sum restaurants. The baked version is popular as a hybrid of buns and steamed pork buns.

There is no authentic recipe for these rolls, so I decided to formulate one based on my recipe for Japanese milk rolls and steamed pork buns, with a few modifications.

Since this soft bun is called Char Siu Bao, whether it is made with BBQ pork or other meat, I will call it Char Siu Bao in this article.

Message: The word 包, meaning sandwich, is translated as bao or pao. Both translations are used in various recipes and menus.

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Preparation of boiled Char Siu Bao

This recipe for fried char siu bao has two main steps. You have to make bread dough first, not pao. Both require yeast as a leavening agent, but pao dough also requires a second leavening agent – either baking soda or ammonium bicarbonate. See my recipe for steamed char siu bao. Yeast is the only leavening agent in this char siu bao, as in most bread recipes.

1. Making Char Siu Bao

The dough is mainly a bread dough enriched with egg and butter, with a small amount of cooked flour (TangZhong 汤种) to make the texture of the dough softer. It’s pretty easy to do if you know how to make bread.

Here are the steps:

  • Add a teaspoon of sugar to the water and sprinkle with active dried yeast. Stir the mixture gently to dissolve the yeast and let it rest for ten minutes before using.
  • Mix the bread flour with the cold water in a small saucepan. Heat gently, stirring, until the flour begins to thicken and you can draw lines on it. The starch should have become cooked and opaque. Remove from heat and allow to cool before using.
  • Put the bread flour, milk powder, yeast mixture, sugar, salt, egg and tangzhong in a bowl. Mix the ingredients with a spatula. Stir gently until blended.  The dough is very sticky at first, but becomes more manageable after setting aside for ten minutes.
  • After ten minutes, the dough becomes more elastic and comes loose from the mixing bowl.
  • Sprinkle the flour on the work surface. You can use a marble table or a baking mat like I did. Knead the dough for five minutes and it will gradually become more elastic. When the surface of the dough begins to shine, roll out the dough thinly and place the softened butter in the center. Fold the sides of the dough toward the center to cover the butter.
  • Gently knead the dough to mix the butter with the dough. Some of the butter will separate from the dough and be a little messy at this point. Knead for a few more minutes until the dough has absorbed all the butter. The dough is now softer, very smooth and not sticky. The surface is now smooth and shiny.
  • Transfer the dough into a container. Cover with a damp cloth or lid. Let it rest at room temperature for the first fermentation.  After forty-five minutes, the dough will eventually have doubled in size, but the actual time depends on the yeast and the temperature.

2. Prepared Siu ball with stuffing

As the name suggests, the filling for this sandwich is Char Siu (Chinese barbecue pork).  See this recipe if you want to make it from scratch. You can also use store-bought char siu as a topping to save time.

In this recipe, I want to introduce you to another way to prepare the filling. You can recreate the flavor of a Char Sioux stuffing with any meat. The most common meat is pork, but where I live, chicken has become a popular alternative. The taste is almost identical to Char Siu, except for the barbecue taste.

Here are the steps:

  • Heat a little oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Fry diced onions until they begin to take on flavor and become translucent.
  • Fry the pork fat in a pan over low heat until the oil begins to solidify.
  • Put the onions back in the pan.
  • Add the lean meat and cook until cooked through.
  • Mix all the spices from the recipe with the meat.
  • Thicken the sauce with a little cornstarch.  The amount of cornstarch should be enough to form a thick sauce. If it is too diluted, it will leak out of the dressing during packing.

Advice:

  • The texture and mouthfeel are better with lean pork and a little fat. I prefer a ratio of about 1 part fat to 5 parts lean meat. It is easier to cut the meat into small cubes, cutting the lean meat and pork fat separately. It is also easier to cut when it is semi-frozen.
  • If you are using grilled pork for the filling, cut it into small cubes and mix it with the onion sauce and spices. It’s time to chop and fry the meat.
  • Much of the filling is gravy, also known as Char Sioux sauce, which is versatile and allows for a wide variety of fries.
  • The different spices I use are mostly used to prepare Char Siu sauce. The main ingredients are light soy sauce and oyster sauce, with a little sugar to balance out the salty taste. Add to this the dark soy sauce, which gives the whole a dark caramelised colour, and a little powder from five Chinese beans.  You can adjust the amount of these ingredients to suit your taste.

3. Shape the dough and pack the filling

  • Once the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the container and place it on a floured work surface.
  • Let all the air out of the dough, then knead it for a minute.
  • Divide the dough into ten equal parts. I made ten servings of this recipe and each serving is 50 grams.  You can make smaller rolls to suit your taste. The amount of filling for 50 g of dough is about 30 g. Adjust the amount in the same proportion if the size of your Char Siu Bao differs from this recipe.
  • Roll each portion into a round ball, then flatten it with the palm of your hand.  Let the dough rest for five minutes to relax before wrapping in the filling.
  • Roll out some of the dough with a small rolling pin into a circle 8-10 cm in diameter. Try to keep the pan round so that all the filling is in the dough. Leave the middle part of the dough slightly thicker, as we will be flipping the bun after wrapping and this part will be the top of the bun.
  • Weigh 30g of filling and place in the centre, leaving the edges at least 1cm from the filling.  The cornstarch in the filling will hold the sauce together and should not run down the edges. If you find that the sauce is too thin, heat the filling to thicken it before wrapping it in the dough.
  • Lay the dough on its side to cover the entire filling in the middle. Press firmly on the fold so the sauce and meat don’t spill out while cooking.

4. Fried Bao

  • Turn the bun over, seam side down.
  • Place the rolls on a greased baking sheet lined with baking paper, about 2 inches apart.  Leave this proof until the size is 1.5 times larger than the original.
  • Meet the egg. Spread a thin layer of eggnog on each sandwich.
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F, top and bottom heat. Bake the scones on the middle rack for twenty minutes or until golden brown.
  • Take the buns out of the oven. Brush each bun with a little melted butter. Serve it up.

If you like this recipe, chances are you’ll like other Chinese dim sum too. These are my choices:

Har Gow (or Chinese crab dumplings) is a traditional Cantonese dim sum served hot for breakfast. This recipe explains in detail how to make it.

Shumai is the famous dim sum, as well as grilled pork sandwich and shrimp dumplings. Made of ground beef and shrimp wrapped in a shumai (or wonton) wrap. Try it, because it’s one of the easiest dim sum to make.

The beet cake is crispy on the outside, but also tender on the inside, almost melt-in-your-mouth. This cake is delicious and even tastier if you bake it just before serving.

Preparation time
30 minutes

Cooking time
20 minutes

Overtime
1 hour 15 minutes

Total time
2 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients

Ingredients A (Tangzhong)

Ingredients B (bread dough)

Ingredients C (filling)

Instructions

For test

  1. Yeast mixture : Add a teaspoon of sugar to 55 ml of water and sprinkle the yeast over it. Gently stir the mixture to dissolve.
  2. Tangzhong: Mix the bread flour with the cold water in a small saucepan. Heat gently, stirring, until the flour begins to thicken and you can draw lines on it.
  3. Put the bread flour, milk powder, yeast mixture, sugar, salt, egg and tangzhong in a mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients with a spatula. Stir gently until blended.
  4. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, roll it out thinly and put the soft butter in the middle. Fold and knead until the dough has absorbed all the butter.
  5. Transfer the dough into a container and wait for it to double in volume.

To be completed

  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Eat chopped onions until they are spicy.
  2. Fry the pork fat in a pan over low heat until the oil begins to solidify.
  3. Put the onions back in the pan.
  4. Add lean meat and cook until done.
  5. Combine all remaining ingredients in C and cook until thickened.

Packaging and cooking

  1. When the dough has doubled in size, squeeze out all the air and knead for one minute.
  2. Divide the dough into 10 equal parts. Roll each portion into a round ball, then flatten it with the palm of your hand.
  3. Roll out a piece of dough into a circle of about 8-10 cm.
  4. Place 30 g of the filling directly in the centre. Wrap the filling in the dough.
  5. Place the buns seam side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. There is evidence until the size increases to 1.5 times the original size.
  7. Spread a thin layer of eggnog on each roll.
  8. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F, top and bottom heat. Bake the scones on the middle rack for twenty minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Brush each bun with a little melted butter. Serve it up.

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Performance information:

Performance:

10

Power size:

1

The amount for the deposit :

Calories : 248Total fat: 10gSaturated fat: 4gOverfat: 0gSaturated fat: 5gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 627mgCarbons: 27gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 12g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on April 25, 2021.

frequently asked questions

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