Have you ever been out to a restaurant and wondered how easy it would be to make something you're eating yourself? I constantly do! We were out with friends a couple of months back eating dim sum and had a discussion about how easy it would be to make the delicious Chinese Pork Buns we were enjoying at the time. And I committed to have a go myself :)
Shall I now let you into a little secret? Having thought they would be completely tricky to make, they're actually pretty simple. And yummy. And the satisfaction from making them yourself... I did cheat a little though. I was chatting to our local butcher the other day about how to make the meat filling and he convinced me that I should invest in a jar of ready-made Char Siu Sauce (I used the Lee Kum Kee brand as it was available in my local supermarket). I um'd and ah'd about not making it myself, but I wanted to see how successful the process was first - and actually the sauce is so delicious that I would definitely use it again!
The start of the process is preparing the meat. I used 300g pork loins and marinaded them with the sauce for an hour (a lot of recipes suggest overnight so you could also do this if you prefer). Then I popped them in the oven and cooked them for around 25 mins. When they were cooked I smothered them in more of the marinade (I swear if you try this stuff, you'll want to use as much as possible!) and left it to cool down. Then cut it into cubes. You can do this the day before. When I came to use the meat, I felt it still a little chunky so I blitzed it in the food processor for 30 seconds to break it down a little more and the texture was perfect for these buns.
The making of the dough is pretty simple. There are recipes with yeast but I decided to work with one from taste.com.au which makes the dough from flour, baking powder, caster sugar, salt, water and vegetable oil. All very simple and after mixing together the dry ingredients, you add the water and oil and stir them together until you have a sticky dough. Knead this for around 5 mins on a lightly floured surface and you have your lovely bun dough. It needs to be refrigerated for an hour and then it's ready to use.
When you come to make your buns, the dough should make around 10 average size buns so I worked out the total weight and then calculated how much dough each required to make 10 of them. Then you want to lightly flour the surface and roll each dough portion out to a 12cm round. The dough of the first buns I steamed were a little thick so do try to roll them out as thinly as possible. The buns also dry out quickly so cover them with cling film whilst you roll out the others. Place a dollop of meat in the middle of the circle and then pull up the sides to make the bun, pinching the dough at the top.
I steamed my pork buns with a bamboo steamer. One of these over a pan filled with 1/3 boiling water and cook them for around 15 mins. As my meat was pre-cooked I didn't have to worry about it being cooked properly, but you want to ensure that the buns are fully cooked by inserting a bamboo skewer in the middle which should come out clean.
These buns take a little more effort than buying them ready-made, but they really are delicious and you can flavour them however you like. I used a lot of the Char Sui Sauce as I really loved the flavour of it and of course, you can use any meat or vegetables you like in them.
So next time, you're thinking of a chinese meal, these will go perfectly with your stir fry, beef in black bean sauce or egg fried rice! They are also very filling so would be great for a family meal too. A little more preparation required but well worth the effort and I think pretty impressive too :)
Chinese Pork Buns Make 10 (adapted from taste.com.au)
- 300G PORK LOIN
- 1 JAR OF CHAR SUI SAUCE
- 250G PLAIN FLOUR
- 2½ TSP BAKING POWDER
- 55G CASTER SUGAR
- PINCH OF SALT
- 1 TSP SALT
- 118 ML WARM WATER
- 2 TBSP VEGETABLE OIL
- Prepare the pork loin by marinating it in 3 tbsp of the Char Sui Sauce from 1 hour to 24 hours (at your discretion) and then cooking it according to its weight
- When it's cooked, chop it into small pieces and mix through another 2 tbsp Char Sui Sauce (if you want finer pieces of meat, which I recommend, blitz it for 30 seconds in the food processor)
- To make the dough, sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar and salt) in a bowl
- Gradually add the oil mixed with warm water, stirring it until you have a soft dough
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth
- Wrap in cling film for at least an hour
- When you're ready to make the pork buns, divide the dough into 10 portions
- Roll each portion out to a 12cam round, making sure to roll this as thinly as possible
- Place a heaped teaspoon of meat into the centre of the round
- Pull up the sides of the round until you have formed a little bun and then pinch the dough on top to seal the bun
- Fill a saucepan with 1/3 water and bring this to the boil
- Place the buns in a bamboo steamer lined with baking paper over the saucepan of boiling water (make sure the water doesn't touch the steamer)
- Cook for 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean
- Keep warm whilst you make the other buns and then enjoy them fresh, warm and tasty :)