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Chris Amirault

Char Siu Bao--Cook-Off 2

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I've a question on steamed baos. :huh:

I've made this a couple of times before, but each time, it's for a big group, so all's finished. This time I'll be making a batch for ourselves, which means there'll be leftovers for later consumption. What's the best keeping method? Freeze after or before steaming? Or is freezing not a good idea?

Edited by Tepee (log)

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I've a question on steamed baos.  :huh:

I've made this a couple of times before, but each time, it's for a big group, so all's finished. This time I'll be making a batch for ourselves, which means there'll be leftovers for later consumption. What's the best keeping method? Freeze after or before steaming? Or is freezing not a good idea?

I have made large batches (3 dozens)to keep in the freezer for unexpected quick lunches. The baos have been steamed, cooled, frozen and stored in large tupperware cake carriers. When needed, just put them into the steamer in the frozen state. Steam for 15 minutes and they are just like freshly made baos.

For lunch at school, I take them out of the freezer and let them thaw at work. At noon, I just zap them in the microwave for acouple minutes. Drives my Chinese students crazy. Then I'd feel bad and take the rest to school next day! :laugh:

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:smile: Thanks, Sue-On! And, I'm going to use your cupcake liner tip too. Yay! no more cutting parchment paper to size.

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Baos hot from the steamer! Bao dough recipe is from Ellen Leong Blonder's Dim Sum book. It's excellent! I made a simple chicken filling with onions and fresh water chestnut. Made some bigger ones too with a wedge of boiled egg.

Before steaming


Lunch is served


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That looks really good TP! A steaming hot bao would would definitely cheer up my rumbly stomach right now :wink:. Could you post the dough recipe please?

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Sure, Shiewie <---- tongue twister, that! :biggrin:


2 teasp active dry yeast

1 C lukewarm water

1/2 C sugar (I used only 1/3 C)

1 1/2 C cake flour (I used unbleached organic cake flour)


1/2 teasp salt

1 tablesp rice vinegar

2 C cake flour, plus about 1/4 C for dusting (but I used the mixer and added it in)

1 tablesp baking powder

1/4 teasp baking soda

1 tablesp veg shortening

What I did this morning:

9.00 Mix yeast with warm water and sugar

Went out to hang laundry

9.15 Mix in the cake flour, cover.

Surf the net....actually, I was hard at work figuring out how to transfer my

files to my new domain.

10.15 Mixture is nice and bubbly.

Add salt and vinegar. Stir.

Add sifted flour and rising agents.

Combine with wooden spoon.

Grease the Kenwood dough hook and knead for 5 minutes, adding the\

additional flour. Actually, you're asked to knead this on a board.

Cover. Meantime, I made the filling.

11.15 It has more than doubled in volume. Lightly punch down and use for baos.

After you've formed the baos, let them rest for half an hour before steaming.

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I had a big bowl of bao filling leftover, so I made yau mei fun (cantonese) for dinner. Translated: tasty rice. I parsteamed rice (you can parboil too) with less water than usual because there's some liquid in the filling. At the partially-cooked stage, add the bao filling and walnuts or chinese sausages or whatever you fancy. Stir. Continue boiling or steaming till the rice is fully cooked. Stir till thoroughly mixed. Add chopped spring onion or chinese parsley.


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Teepee...what was your filing recipe for your buns? Is it posted somewhere here? Thanks! Am going to make up a huge batch and freeze them for a party next month.

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Teepee..also, the 1 tblspoon of shortening...did you melt the shortening and add to the recipe?

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A thousand apologies, Joni! I didn't hear you...do pm me if I don't respond for a day because I practically reside in the china forum.

No hard and fast rules for my bao filling; feel free to add mushrooms and water chestnuts if you like, I think I didn't for that one, or did I? :blink: I don't remember how many baos it can fill. Do like I did, make a rice with the leftovers. :rolleyes:

Chicken Filling

1 lb chicken thigh meat, diced

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp sesame oil

2 T vegetable oil

2 large onions, chopped

1 T sesame seeds (optional)

5 big chinese mushrooms, soaked and diced (optional)

10 water chestnuts, roughly chopped (I used fresh ones) (optional)

Combine the following sauce ingredients:

1 T hoisin sauce

2 T oyster sauce

1 T light soya sauce

1 T thick dark soya sauce

1 T sugar

If you can get hold of rose wine jelly (mui kwai loh), a tablespoon adds a nice sweet taste to the filling.

1 T cornflour, combined with 2 T water


Season chicken with pepper and sesame oil. Saute chopped onions in vegetable oil till lightly browned. Add chicken and mushroom; cook till chicken changes color. Stir in sesame seeds.

Add combined sauce ingredients and stir 1 minute. For more oomph, grind in some black pepper. Thicken with cornflour solution. Cool before using.

As for the shortening, there's no need to melt it. In fact, I just used it to grease my hook.

Edited by Tepee (log)

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Try adding some slivers of Chinese sausage (lapcheung) and fresh ginger to the chicken and mushroom filling. It adds another layer of flavour.

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Teepee & Dejah...many, many thanks..no need to apologize, you were so quick. I have a "Chinese" party I am doing the end of August...and no previous experience with Chinese food ...for about 40 people. So..I might be calling on your expertise! I appreiciate all hints, and thank you both for your quick response!

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OHH....now that sounds absolutely fantastic! It never occured to me to deep fry them although, working in a restaurant we've thrown all sorts of things in the deep fat fryer at the end of a long night to see what happens. Mostly inedible unspeakable things happen, although we did fry the order bell one night......(note to self---drop some bao in deep fryer Thursday night).....Thank you for the idea!

The latest craze in Indonesia is to deep fry freshly steamed bao -- the bao develops a thin, crisp shattering-upon-bite shell with fluffy steamed pastry and luscious meat/veg filling within. I haven't found anything like it here in the States.

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Here's scoop on bao dough. I've made (an eaten) way more of these tasty Asian versions of the American Sloppy Joe than I care to admit. Many Asian bao doughs use rice flour or a rice flour/all purpose flour blend. I find the all rice flour doughs rather difficult to work with but the lack of gluten in the flour gives the dough it's fluffy texture we enjoy.

In my restaurant experience, we've found that just about ANY all purpose white bread all-purpose flour dough with a little extra added white sugar works perfectly when about 1/4 cup of the all-purpose flour is replaced with the same amount of corn starch in a standard 1-2 loaf recipe. Using a bread machine on the dough setting works like a charm.....the sky's the limit on your choice of fillings, just keep the juiciness of your filling to a minimum to reduce the "blow-out" factor from the escaping steam.

You can steam or bake any bao...and parchment paper circles are the best surafce to avoid sticking...waxed paper tends to stick and lettuce leaves, while practicle, can impart an aroma to the steamed dough.

We consistantly had a hard time not running out of the curried chicken bao by the end of our night service. Just a basic curried ground chicken filling--with a mango chutney thinned with sherry dipping sauce.

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A couple months late to the party, but I finally managed to make some baked bao using Eileen Yin Fei Lo's recipe. I used her filling recipe, but I used my own char siu recipe. The dough was incredibly easy to work, but the following day my upperbody/arms were so sore. I'm going to have to figure out a way to mix this in my kitchenaid next time.

The filling


The buns


Interior shot


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They look great, Ellen! Do you have any binding ingredients in the char siu? It looks a bit more liquidy than I try for with mine.

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They look great, Ellen! Do you have any binding ingredients in the char siu? It looks a bit more liquidy than I try for with mine.

I didn't have the tapioca starch that EYFL recommended so I used cornstarch instead to thicken it a bit. And then to be extra safe I put the filling in the fridge overnight and let it gel up before stuffing the bao. The pic you see is of the gelled pork filling.

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Also bumping an old thread. I tried this over the weekend, using a recipe from Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's Dim Sum Dumpling Book. It turned out well, although perhaps I could have used a little more filling in the buns, and an ever-so-slightly-bit saucier filling.

The Char Siu:


The filling:


Baked bao:



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They look fantastic! What is in the filling besides the char siu?

Thanks! Just the char siu, some minced and browned onions, and the sauce ingredients (dark soy, oyster sauce, ketchup, sugar, chicken broth and sesame oil). This is territory I was completely unfamiliar with, so I followed the recipe as written.

Edited by kiteless (log)

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Also late to the party. Made these up last night using a recipe from Ellen Leong Blonder's Dim Sum : The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch . The bao itself was light and springy with a hint of sweetness. The filling was a little on the wet side, but the flavors worked well together. I made the char siu from the same book and had a very hard time keeping enough for the filling - it's a delicious and very easy recipe. All in all, very pleased.

Lone bao:


Money shot:


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Stumbled on this thread today, having made bao last weekend. For the filling, I use an old recipe I copied down from Craig Claiborne & someone; it has oyster sauce and soysauce, scallions and garlic. Very tasty. The most interesting thing about it is that it calls for a mixture of cornstarch and flour as thickeners, and that produces a consistency which is indeed very similar to what I've had from tea houses.

But my dough--ugh. I'm a very experienced bread baker, and everything looked like it was going along fine. When I started steaming the bao, the dough rose and puffed and looked lovely, but by the end of the steaming, it had collapsed, become semi translucent and tough. Is it possible to have either too much steam or too high a heat? Was my flour too high in gluten? I did not use cake flour.

Tejon, if you are paying attention, could you post your dough recipe? Your bao look just right. Thanks.

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I used the same dough Teepee posted above. It's from "Dim Sum", the cookbook I mentioned. The bao came out almost exactly like I've had at dim sum restaurants - light, airy, yet with just the right amount of chew and a bit of sweetness as well. The dough is easy to make up and the finished bao freeze well.

Edited by tejon (log)

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