Our Daring Cooks’ December 2012 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!
Char Sui is a Cantonese dish and nothing else than barbecued (pork) meat. Char Sui Bao is a bread bun with a Char Sui filling - Char Sui to go if you like ...
I didn't feel like blogging lately. I guess my annual winter depression (especially because of the lack of light) is around the corner, and my other new (excessive) hobby - knitting - are the two main reasons. My work is exhausting me, and even the joy of cooking and baking isn't enough to compensate. I didn't skip the last challenges because I didn't like them but because I couldn't get myself motivated to stand in the kitchen and concentrate for at least an hour or two.
Today, against all odds like bad time, terrible photo conditions because of the artificial light and another tiring round of overtimes, I found my way to my favourite place (besides the couch) in my appartment. I'm glad I did because now it smells ridiciously good. The buns are just ouf of the oven and I haven't had such a good outcome in a while. The marinade is similar to the one for BBQ chicken I discovered into a cooking book years ago and have used in lot of variations since. Well, I think this one wan't invented by the author of that book, wasn't it? There were lot's of variations given for cooking the meat, but I decided for the oven method (simple & easy). The result was incredible, the meat was soft and tasty (I marinated over 10 hours), and some of it dissappeared somewhere during the filling-preparing process. Must have been the occasionally occuring black hole which crossed my kitchen from time to time (although my man isn't present right now). I think the buns with their soft texture and moist & spicy filling won't last any longer ...
Char Sui (Cantonese BBQ Pork)
marinade without red food colouring or maltose
- 1 teaspoon (6 gm) salt
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon (3 gm) ground white pepper
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz) sugar
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon shaoxing cooking wine
- 1 teaspoon (3 gm) five spice
Trim the pork loin to remove fat and tendon and slice lengthways so you have two long pieces, then cut in half. Place in container that you will be marinating them in. 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, best overnight. Place the reserved ⅓ portion of the marinade covered in the fridge. You will use this as a baste when cooking the pork.
Pre-heat oven to moderate 180˚C/350°F/gas mark 4. Cover a baking tray with foil or baking paper. Place on top of this a rack on which to cook the pork. Place pork on the rack and place in oven. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, basting and turning. Turn the heat up to moderately hot 200˚C/400°F/gas mark 6 for the final 20 minutes as this will aid the charring. Cook until cooked through. The meat will shrink a lot, but with this method it's still moist inside.
Baked Char Sui Bao (Cantonese BBQ Pork Bun)
- 350 gm (12 oz) char sui (finely diced)
- 2 green onions/spring onions (finely sliced)
- 1 tablespoon hoisin
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ cup (60 ml) chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon (2 gm) cornflour
- ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2½ teaspoons (8 gm/1 satchel) of dried yeast
- ¼ cup (55 gm/2 oz) sugar
- ½ cup warm water
- 2 cups (280 gm/10 oz) plain flour
- 1 egg (medium size - slightly beaten)
- 3 tablespoons oil
- ½ teaspoon (3 gm) salt
- Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with a dash of water
Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or pan. Add diced char sui to the wok/pan and stir then add spring onions, cook for 1 minute. Add hoisin, dark soy sauce and sesame oil to the pork mixture, stir fry for one minute. Mix cornflour and stock together and then add to the pork mixture. Stir well and keep cooking until the mixture thickens, 1 or 2 minutes. Remove mixture from wok/pan and place in a bowl to cool. Set aside until ready to use.
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. Sift flour in to 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. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise until it is double in size. This will take from 1 - 2 hours depending on weather conditions.
Once dough has doubled in size knock back and divide in to 12 portions and shape in to round balls. Use a rolling pin to roll out to approximately 5cm (2 inches) in diameter. Then pick the piece of dough up and gently pull the edges to enlarge to about 8cm (3 inches) in diameter. By doing this it keeps the dough slightly thicker in the centre. This means when your buns are cooking they won't split on the tops.
Place a good sized tablespoon of filling on the dough circle. Then gather the edges and seal your bun. Place the bun seal side down on your baking tray. Continue with rest of dough. Once all buns are complete brush surface with egg wash. Place in a preheated oven of 200º C/392º F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.