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The Hirshon Cantonese Cha Siu Bao (Steamed BBQ Pork Buns) - 叉烧包

The Hirshon Cantonese Cha Siu Bao (Steamed BBQ Pork Buns) – 叉烧包

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  • Author: The Generalissimo


Units Scale
  • Roasted BBQ pork filling:
  • About 5 1/2 oz. cha siu roasted BBQ pork, very finely diced
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Peanut oil or neutral oil
  • 1/2 onion, very finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. red miso or Fujianese hong zao paste (HIGHLY optional TFD addition that is not used in classic recipe)
  • 4 1/2 oz. chicken stock
  • 3 Tbsp. Megachef brand oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Pearl River brand dark soy sauce (use 1 tsp. If not using miso)
  • 1/2 tsp. 5-spice powder (use 1 tsp. if not using curry ketchup)
  • 1/2 tsp. Chinese rose wine (strongly preferred), shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Koon Chun brand hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp. Judge Casey’s brand curry ketchup (optional TFD change to original recipe, Heinz ketchup can be substituted)
  • 1/2 tsp. Heinz ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp. Kadoya brand sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp. tapioca starch (or cornstarch), mixed with 4 Tbsp. water
  • ***
  • Dough Starter:
  • 113 g bleached cake flour – do not use unbleached!
  • 2 g active dry yeast
  • 15 g granulated sugar
  • 62 g room temperature bottled water
  • ***
  • Dough:
  • starter dough from above
  • 2 g baking ammonia dissolved in 2 tsp. bottled water
  • 1 ml lye water
  • 60 g granulated sugar
  • 75 g bleached cake flour – do not use unbleached!
  • 40 g wheat starch
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 20 ml whole milk
  • 27 ml neutral vegetable oil
  • 15 ml white vinegar
  • ***
  • For steaming:
  • water
  • 1 Tbsp. white vinegar


  1. Make the dough starter (the night before): In a small bowl, add in 113g cake flour, 2g active dry yeast, 15g sugar and 62g water. Knead together until it forms a dough. (It will be on the dry side). Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature overnight.
  2. Make the filling (the night before): In a large frying pan, sauté the onions and garlic until translucent, about 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Add in the diced BBQ pork and continue to sauté until the pork is heated through. Add in chicken stock, then add in 5-spice powder, Chinese rose wine, hoisin sauce, and ketchups, stir in a little sesame oil. then add oyster sauce and dark soy sauce. Leave it to boil for 30 seconds.
  3. Turn the heat to the lowest setting. Mix the starch water very well, then pour in. Stir constantly until the liquid turns into jelly. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Mix well and refrigerate the pork filling for at least 4-6 hours, or overnight.
  4. Make the dough: Transfer the starter mixture from the night before in to a larger bowl. Add 2g baking ammonia dissolved in 2 teaspoon of water + 1 ml lye water. (Be careful, it will smell!) Knead in the 60g granulated sugar, until it dissolves a little. Add in the cake flour, wheat starch and baking powder. Add in the milk, oil, and vinegar. Knead until the dough comes together. Cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap and leave it to rest for about 30 minutes in a warm location.
  5. Divide the BBQ pork mixture into 10 portions, about 1 oz. each. Place the scoops onto a plate and chill in the fridge until just about ready to assemble. (Don’t keep it at room temperature).
  6. When the dough shows some bubbles and has risen a little, lightly dust the work surface with some wheat starch and divide the dough into 10 equal portions. (About 45-50g each). Roll the portioned dough into a flat disc and place a scoop of cha siu BBQ pork filling in the center. Gather the dough up in 3 places, forming a triangular shape (like a samosa). Gently press the center down, and gather the sides up, forming a bulb shape. Pinch the 3 seams together on the sides.
  7. Place the bun onto a piece of parchment paper or muffin liner. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Cover the buns with some plastic wrap and leave to rest in a warm location for about 20-30 minutes.
  8. Steam the buns: Fill a large wok or pot (that can fit a steaming rack) with water and add 1 Tbsp white vinegar to it to prevent the dough from turning yellowish. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once the water is vigorously boiling, place 3-4 buns onto the steaming rack and transfer it to the pot or wok. Cover with a lid and ensure that any steam vents are covered (I used a wet cloth), and place a kitchen towel over the rim of the lid, to help trap in as much steam as possible.
  9. Steam the buns for 12-13 minutes, until buns have formed cracks. Remove the buns and repeat with the remaining buns, then serve immediately.
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