If you have never experienced the Siao Pao then you are missing out on a truly wonderful snack. I first experienced these steamed buns filled with meat while living in Dallas, Texas and eating Dim Sum. An order of these buns came to the table, and let me tell you, they rocked. Having been thinking about dim sum in general for some time now, I thought it would be best to give the chinese bun a run for its money.
For nearly the last eight years, I have been buying frozen siao pao from the asian market. You can buy these with chicken or pork inside, and both are really yummy. The thing about the siao pao is that it needs no sauce, and really delicious as a snack, and ultimately fills you up. What more needs to be said.
This past week gave me a good opportunity to get away from making breads and allowed me to move onto another yeast product, the siao pao. The process is not uncommon from making any kind of dough, it simply takes time to make, primarily due to the rise process.
Yields nearly 14 steamed buns.
- 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3/4 teaspoon white sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons warm water
- 1 cup and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons white sugar
- 2-1/4 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- Meat of your choice, I used a slow cooked barbecue pulled pork
Start by mixing together the yeast, the 3/4 tsp sugar, 3 tbs flour, and the 3 tbs of warm water. Let this stand for roughly 30-45 minutes. Then mix in the 1/4 cup and 2 tbs of warm water, the 1 cup and 2 tbs of flour, salt, 1 tbs and 1 1/2 tsp of sugar, and vegetable oil. Mix to form a dough, then take it out and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. In a large bowl, drizzle in some olive oil, and roll the dough ball in the oil. Cover and let stand until tripled in size, roughly 3 hours.
Punch down the dough, and spread out on a large board, sprinkled with flour. Sprinkle the baking powder evenly on your surface, and knead the dough for 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 2 parts, and place the piece you are not working with in the covered bowl. Divide each half into 6 parts and roll into a ball. Flatten the dough and roll out, much like a won ton wrapper. Place a tablespoon of the meat mixture into the center and wrap the dough around the meat to form a ball. Place each ball on some wax paper, large enough to fit the ball and shaped into a square.
Let these stand covered until double, for nearly another 30 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil,then reduce to a medium-low heat (keeping in mind that the water should be at a low boil). Get your steamer ready and transfer the buns, as many as you can fit onto the steamer, including the wax paper, leaving a couple inches apart. Cover and let steam for roughly 20 minutes.
Remove the lid before you turn off heat and continue steaming batches of buns until all are cooked.
Let cool, and enjoy. Trust me, these are worth the wait.