Saturday, 16 March 2013

Char Siu Bao/ Chinese BBQ Pork Bun

Char Siu Bao is a Cantonese bbq pork filled steamed bun and is the most popular street food in China. Char Siu is bbq pork and Bao is covered or wrapped. Pork meat is marinated in a maltose-hoisin-rose wine sauce and then grilled over the bbq to a charred, savoury, sweet perfection. Then are then chopped and filled inside a yeast-dough, shaped into buns and steamed. They are served hot, straight from the steamer.

The recipe followed here is a Modern Chinese recipe (from a tv show in SBS Channel I saw a few years back), substituting maltose with honey and rose wine with rice wine vinegar. Also the stuffing is really sweet for some of us and it will be better to play around with the marination and the sauces. I have also served it with a spicy and hot sauce to compensate for its sweetness, which may not be acceptable to person who enjoys true Chinese cuisine. But is it not always for us to find out tastes to suit our palates better.

Makes: 12 buns
Preparation Time: 15 - 20 minutes + 2 hrs for marination
Cooking Time: 15 - 20 minutes + time to grill/bbq meat

For BBQ Pork
  • 1 kg pork, diced
  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp Chinese 5-spice
  • 2 tsp pepper powder
  • 3 - 4 drops of red colouring (optional)
Remaining ingredients for Filling
  • 4 tsp ginger, finely grated
  • 2 tsp garlic, finely crushed
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 6 - 8 tbsp hoisin sauce, adjust to taste
  • 2 - 4 tbsp oyster, adjust to taste
  • 1 - 2 tsp honey, optional, adjust to taste
  • 1 cup spring onions, chopped
For yeast bun dough
  • 1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 250 ml lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 400g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
Shrimp Chilly Sauce (optional) (rough measurements here)
  • 4 tbsp Chinese shrimp chilly paste
  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine
  • 2 - 4 tbsp water, adjust to taste
  • a handful of chopped spring onions
For BBQ Pork
1. Mix all sauces and spices for bbq pork and marinate diced pork in it for at least 2 hrs in the refrigerator. Use the an open bbq to bbq the pork till it is cooked and slightly charred on the outside, basting with the marinating sauces in between. (You can also an oven-grill; heat grill to the maximum temperature and grill meat until charred, basting with the marinating sauces in between). Chop bbqed pork.
2. To make the filling, in a wok, heat 2 tsp sesame oil. Add ginger and garlic and stir until it looses its rawness. Add chopped bbqed pork from step 1 and toss it. Then add the sauces (mentioned under "for the filling' section). Please adjust the sauces to your taste. The filling is quite sweet. Finally remove from fire and add chopped spring onions and mix well. Set aside to cool. Divide it into 12 portions to be used in step 4.
3. In the meantime prepare the yeast bun dough. Dissolve caster sugar in lukewarm water and add dried yeast, mix well. Cover and set aside until it becomes frothy. Add cooking oil to this yeast mixture. Sift plain flour with baking powder. Make a well in the centre and add yeast mixture, a little at a time and incorporate well to form a smooth dough. Cover with a wet muslin cloth and leave it to double in size. Knock it down and knead well. This may be stored in the refrigerator at this stage for up to 12 hrs.
4. To prepare the shrimp chilly sauce, mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate until ready to use.
5. Divide yeast dough into 12 portions. Flatten it with a rolling pin. Place bbq pork filling into each dough portion and close it form a ball. Set aside for 10 minutes. Cook the buns in a steamer for 10 minutes, when the buns doubles in size and is cooked through.

Serve immediately with the shrimp chilly sauce.


  1. I have never tried Char-Sui-Bao. This looks interesting and delicious!!

  2. This is such a new n interesting recipe dear,loved the filling n the bun...Yummy!!
    Thanx a lot for linking to the event!!

  3. this is something new to try. Looks delicious .

  4. lovely too made some red bean baos yesterday...will post it soon...

  5. I always wanted to make bean buns but did n't know how good it will turn, now i know i can make it, my son love Kung fu Panda on TV and he always wanted to eat that, looking Po eats that, so now I am making this for him. Thank you so much. I will take bun recipe from yours if you don't mind.

    1. No problems Linsy. Go ahead. I got it from a show on the television. Recipes are for all of us to share and learn.

  6. looks so delicious,never tried it ,u sound too simple shld try the veg version.

  7. Hi,
    Thank you so much for stopping by my space ,so sweet of you to join me.I did spend some time here,really appreciate the way you have done this blog.

  8. wow, this looks extremely delicious

  9. Wow.. looks awesome.. Now a new recipe to try on :)

  10. perfect looking pao, my favorite...

  11. looks mouthwatering...just delicious!

  12. Wow...looks delicious and wonderful.... :-)

  13. Looks very interesting and tempting...this is new to me.

  14. It gives a look of idli and then get to know its a bun.
    Fab filling and tempting.

  15. The buns look really good and soft! I just went for a simple version for Julie's event - No fillings - lazy me ;)

  16. these r new 2 me n looks soft and delicious...