Now that I had the Char Siu ready to go, I could now make the bao! Char Siu Bao are little dumplings that are stuffed with pork, chicken, or eggs. BBQ pork is the most common filing used in the buns, and can be either steamed or baked. I actually tried both ways but I ended up preferring the steaming method. They turned out softer and had a more dumpling-like consistency.
This recipe involves quite a bit of time and work. It takes a little creativity as well if you don’t own a steamer. It was all worth it because they turned out so tasty! John and I were immediately hooked on them. I had never worked with yeast before and that turned out to be a time consuming, but fairly easy part of the process. You just have to wait a while for the yeast to rise, so I made the dough and formed the buns the night before to save time. The buns were great dipped in a little soy and hoisin sauce, and topped with fresh green onions.
As a side dish to the Char Siu, I created this easy and flavorful bok choy recipe. It’s pretty simple since all you do is steam the bok choy and then stir fry it in garlic and the sauce for a few minutes. There are lots of variations and you can use all sorts of seasonings and sauces for baby bok choy. This dish went nicely with the pork and complimented its flavors. Bok choy tastes like a cross between broccoli and cabbage, and would be a great addition to stir-fries.
In order to make Char Siu Bao, or Chinese pork buns, you have to make the barbeque pork first. Making the Char Siu is pretty simple because all it requires is mixing up the sauce, marinating the meat, and roasting it in the oven. I decided to use a pork shoulder roast because tougher cuts work perfectly for slow cooking and results in tender cuts of meat. I cooked the char siu in the oven, but a slow cooker would be perfect for this recipe. The pork was great! The sauce is flavored with hoisin and five spice, and had a wonderful, complex flavor. The sauce is supposed to have a deep reddish color, so I added a drop of red food coloring to the sauce. I served the char siu with rice and the baby bok choy with lemongrass and ginger.