Celebrating the delights of good healthy everyday food and special treats! Sharing recipes, information, and experiences.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Recipe for Char Sui Bao - Daring Cooks

Do you love dim sum?  We do and always try to go to our favorite dim sum restaurant when we get back to San Francisco (Yank Sing-a top 100 SF Restaurant in 2011).  They call it deem sum...they probably know better than I do, but I've always seen it written as dim sum, except on their website.  Anyone know the correct spelling?  Anyway, I digress.  I love the steamed pork buns-Char Sui Bao-but never gave a thought to trying to prepare them at home.

Turns out they are a challenge to make, but not an insurmountable one.  That's why I really enjoy participating in The Daring Kitchen challenges.  The challenges so far have pushed me in to culinary experiences I wouldn't have picked on my own and are presented with very detailed instructions, priming the pathway to success.  Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from BellyRumbles! Sara chose awesome Char Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!

Pork for the filling
Filling for the buns
Three stages of buns:  front-dough balls after rising; middle-dough patted out; back-filled buns
Buns ready for steaming
Before I go any further I will admit that one area of this challenge that I didn't feel much success in was the bun making.  They tasted great but are sort of ugly-Char Sui Bow Wow.  I did try. I even watched some U-Tube videos but, meh, just not pretty.  Now, this lady-she knows how to make buns!

Yield: 20 buns
Time: 3+ hours including rising time for the buns; does not include overnight marinading time for the pork

Char Sui (pork)

  • 1 pork tenderloin (1-1.5 lbs)
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 TBSP peanut oil
  • 3 TBSP honey
  • 2 TBSP hoisin sauce
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP oyster sauce
  • 1 TBSP sherry
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 TBSP sesame oil

Pork filling
  • 12 oz char sui, finely diced
  • 2 green onions, finely diced
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 3 TBSP oyster sauce
  • 1 TBSP sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 TBSP vegetable oil

(The original recipe was for 1 TBSP soy sauce, 2 TBSP oyster sauce, 1/4 cup chicken stock and 1 tsp cornstarch but I felt the filling was too dry so I added additional quantities as per the list above)

Bun Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cup of milk, scalded
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp dried yeast
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • Parchment paper
  • Steamer (original recipe called for bamboo but I used metal in my wok)

(The original recipe called for 1 cup of milk but my dough would not come together so I added another 1/2 cup as per the list above)

Char Sui (Pork)
  • Trim tenderloin of fat and silver skin.
  • Cut into 4-5 equal pieces.
  • Mix remaining ingredients together.  Reserve 1/3 of mixture-place in fridge.
  • Marinate pork in remaining mixture overnight or at least 4 hours.
  • When ready to cook, preheat grill to med-high and clean and oil grates.
  • While grill heats, remove pork from marinade and pat excess marinade off with paper towels. 
  • Remove reserved marinade from fridge.
  • Grill for 2 minutes each side to get a slight char and then reduce heat to medium, baste with reserved marinade.
  • Grill for an additional 10-12 minutes until center is just barely still pink.
  • Remove and rest/cool while preparing dough and filling.

Pork filling

  • Heat vegetable oil in skillet over med-high heat.
  • Saute the green onion for 2 minutes until soft.
  • Add diced char sui and stir to combine.
  • Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil; cooking stirring constantly for one minute.
  • Mix cornstarch and stock together and add to the meat mixture, stirring well until mixture thickens, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove from pan and allow to cool.

  • Stir sugar, oil and salt in to scalded milk and allow to cool to lukewarm.
  • Once cooled, add yeast.  Set aside until frothy, about 10 minutes.
  • While yeast develops, sift flour into a large bowl then add milk/yeast mixture.
  • Mix together briefly with hands and turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and cover with damp cloth.
  • Let dough rise until doubled (1-2 hours).
  • Punch dough down and divide in to 20 equal pieces.
  • Roll or press with hands each piece in to 2-3 inch circles.
  • Drop 1 TBSP of cooled filling in center of a dough circle, gather the edges together and twist to seal. Repeat with all dough pieces.
  • Cover and let rise for 15 minutes.
  • Place each bun on a piece of parchment paper slightly larger than bun (buns will enlarge as steamed) and place a few at a time in steamer over boiling water in wok (don't crowd them).
  • Cover wok and steam for 12 minutes.
  • Serve warm.  They keep well in fridge and freezer.  To reheat thawed buns, steam for 5 minutes (or as Mr. ELEB did-nuke in microwave for 15 seconds).

The filling is delightful and the buns have just the right hint of sweetness and a good texture.  Even though they were ugly when I made them, the steaming sort of softened everything up so they didn't look so bad. Once we bit into them, we didn't really care what they looked like!  Do you like dim (deem) sum?

Printable recipe