12/14/2011

Char Sui Bao, Manapua, Oh Yeah! I can do my own.

Sad to say, this being Hawaii and all,  I really do not know of a good local place to get these yummy Chinese buns, called Manapua here, a type of Dim Sum.  At least not with nicely raised pork inside, which I do realize, eliminates most everyone.   So, I am now happy to do it myself, whenever the Char Sui Bao mood strikes.  Really what being a foodie is supposed to be about, or am I wrong?

Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles! Sara chose awesome Char Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!


As usual, it just being the two of us, well except for the occasional grandchild, I cut the recipe in half, which gave us ten fat dumplings, filled with Char Sui pork, green onions and fragrant seasoning.   I made the oven, rather than BBQ method of Char Sui, the weather being solid rain for the last few weeks.  Not exactly anything you want to go out and grill in.



The dough was so easy to work with, and after watching a short video clip on the proper way of enfolding dough circles around  filling, that was a cinch too.  No problems.  I also liked the ratio of bread to filling.  Just right.  When I have bought them in the past it always seemed more a question of where is that stuffing anyway??  For vegetarians, an alternative mushroom filling recipe was provided, which I think would be delicious for any of us omnivores as well.

Basically, you first marinate, then cook your Char Sui pork (or other), and set aside while you prepare the dough.   As that is rising, it is simple to throw the rest of the filling ingredients together.  Punch down dough, roll out your circles; stuff; then steam or bake.  It seemed to me as though the baked ones, though they do gain beautiful color, would be too dry.  Also our Hawaiian manapua is steamed.  I used both baskets of my bamboo steamer as well as a metal steamer basket.


See the above link for the alternate recipes, helpful links, tips, etc.  I was thrilled with this whole process, it worked so well, and was just delicious, the bun light and fluffy, the filling nice and moist.  Bob says, it's "better than the kind you buy."  In future my cravings for this little treat will not go unfulfilled. 


These buns are traditionally an afternoon snack served with tea.  In Hawaii that might actually be beer, but in any case, they also make a decent lunch, dinner accompaniment, or appetizer.  We had them for an afternoon taste test, then later as a side with chicken stir-fry and rice.

 Char Sui (Cantonese BBQ Pork)
From the Daring Cooks Challenge

Ingredients

1 pork fillet/tenderloin (roughly 1-1.5 pounds) hopefully sustainably, kindly raised
4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon (3 gm) ginger, grated
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 ½ tablespoons maltose (you can substitute honey)
1 ½ tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon shaoxing cooking wine
½ teaspoon (2 gm) ground white pepper
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon (2 gm) five spice powder
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon pillar box red food colouring  (note - I did not use this)
(1 tablespoon=15 ml, 1 teaspoon=5 ml)

Directions:

   1. Trim the pork loin to remove fat and tendon and slice lengthways so you have two long pieces, then cut in half. By cutting the pork in to smaller pieces to marinate you will end up with more flavoursome char sui. If you want to leave the pork in one piece you can do this as well. Place in container that you will be marinating them in.

2. Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine. I placed my maltose in the microwave for a few seconds to make it easier to work with. Maltose is quite a solid hard sticky substance.

Cover pork well with ⅔ of the marinade mixture. Marinate for a minimum of 4 hours, I find it is best left to marinate overnight. Place the reserved ⅓ portion of the marinade covered in the fridge. You will use this as a baste when cooking the pork.

Cooking Method 1 - Oven

   1. Pre-heat oven to moderate 180˚C/350°F/gas mark 4.
   2. Cover a baking tray with foil or baking paper. Place on top of this a rack on which to cook the pork

   3. Place pork on the rack and place in oven.
   4. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, basting and turning.
   5. Turn the heat up to moderately hot 200˚C/400°F/gas mark 6 for the final 20 minutes as this will aid the charring. Cook until cooked through.

Cooking Method  2 - BBQ

This method I feel gave the best result. If you have access to a BBQ use it. The pork had a better BBQ flavour and was also very moist.
 1. Place marinated pork loin on the grill of your BBQ
  2. Cook on a medium heat, approximately 15 minutes, until cooked through.   Be careful to watch that you don't burn the pork.

Baked Char Sui Bao (Cantonese BBQ Pork Bun)

Servings: 12

Filling Ingredients:

350 gm (12 oz) char sui (finely diced)
2 green onions/spring onions (finely sliced)
1 tablespoon hoisin
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
¼ cup (60 ml) chicken stock
1 teaspoon (2 gm) cornflour
½ tablespoon vegetable oil
(1 tablespoon=15 ml, 1 teaspoon=5 ml)
 
Dough Ingredients

2½ teaspoons (8 gm/1 satchel) of dried yeast
¼ cup (55 gm/2 oz) sugar
½ cup warm water
2 cups (280 gm/10 oz) plain flour
1 egg (medium size - slightly beaten)
3 tablespoons oil
½ teaspoon (3 gm) salt
Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with a dash of water
(1 cup=240 ml, 1 tablespoon=15 ml, 1 teaspoon=5 ml)

Filling Directions:

   1. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or pan.
   2. Add diced char sui to the wok/pan and stir then add spring onions, cook for 1 minute.
   3. Add hoisin, dark soy sauce and sesame oil to the pork mixture, stir fry for one minute.
   4. Mix cornflour and stock together and then add to the pork mixture.
   5. Stir well and keep cooking until the mixture thickens, 1 or 2 minutes.
   6. Remove mixture from wok/pan and place in a bowl to cool. Set aside until ready to use.

Bun Directions:

   1. Place the sugar and warm water in a bowl, mix until the sugar has dissolved. Add yeast and leave it for     10 - 15 minutes until it becomes all frothy.
   2. Sift flour in to a large bowl.
   3. Add yeast mixture, egg, oil and salt and stir. Bring the flour mixture together with your hands.
   4. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and slightly elastic.
   5. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise until it is double in size. This will take from 1 - 2 hours depending on weather conditions.
   6. Once dough has doubled in size knock back and divide into 12 portions and shape into round balls.
   7. Use a rolling pin to roll out to approximately 5cm (2 inches) in diameter. Then pick the piece of dough up and gently pull the edges to enlarge to about 8cm (3 inches) in diameter.  By doing this it keeps the dough slightly thicker in the centre. This means when your buns are cooking they won't split on the tops.

 8. Place a good sized tablespoon of filling on the dough circle. Then gather the edges and seal your bun.
 Place the bun seal side down on your baking tray. Continue with rest of dough.
 Once all buns are complete brush surface with egg wash.

 9. Place in a preheated oven of 200º C/392º F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Steamed Char Sui Bao (Cantonese BBQ Pork Bun)

Bun Ingredients

1 cup milk, scalded
¼ cup (60 gm/2 oz) sugar
1 tablespoon oil
¼ teaspoon (2 gm) salt
2½ teaspoons (8 gm/1 satchel) of dried yeast
3 cups (420 gm/15 oz) plain flour
(1 cup=240 ml, 1 tablespoon=15 ml, 1 teaspoon=5 ml)

Filling Directions:

   1. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or pan. Sauté the shallots for one or two minutes until soft.
   2. Add diced char sui to the wok/pan and stir.
   3. Add oyster sauce, dark soy sauce and sesame oil to the pork mixture, stir fry for one minute.
   4. Mix cornflour and stock together and then add to the pork mixture.
   5. Stir well and keep cooking until the mixture thickens, 1 or 2 minutes.
   6. Remove mixture from wok/pan and place in a bowl to cool. Set aside until ready to use.

Bun Directions:

   1. Scald milk and then stir in sugar, oil and salt, leave to cool until it is lukewarm. Once it is the right temperature add yeast, leave until yeast is activated and it becomes frothy, about 10 - 15 minutes.
   2. Sift flour in to a large bowl.
   3. Add milk/yeast mixture to the flour. Bring the flour mixture together with your hands.
   4. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and slightly elastic.
   5. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Leave to rise until it is double in size. This will take from 1 - 2 hours depending on weather conditions.
   6. Punch down dough and divide in to 20 equal portions.
   7. Roll each dough portion in to a 7 – 8cm (2¾ - 3 ¼ inches) round.
   8. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of the round, gather the edges together at the top and place on a 8cm (3 inch) square of baking paper. Repeat until all dough has been used.
   9. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.
 10.  Place buns in bamboo steamer, leaving space between the buns.
 11.  Heat water in a wok until it is simmering and place steamers one on top of each other in the wok.
 12.  Place lid on top bamboo steamer and steam for approximately 12 minutes.

11 comments:

SeattleDee said...

Lovely post and your Manapus look delicious! Bao and beer? well, why not? LOL

Sara - Belly Rumbles said...

Glad you had fun with the challenge. Your buns look fantastic.

Rhonda said...

I think its funny that you needed to use the oven while, myself up North in Montana got a chance in winter to use the grill. Your buns look great.

Lisa said...

I was going to say being within 20 minutes of Chinatwown, NYC, should afford me great pork buns, but somehow, getting them in Hawaii just seems SO much bettr! Your buns look amazing! That first photo is drool inducing with all that moist pork!

Cher said...

They look beautiful. Nice work.
It's funny how many things you can make at home when the take out version isnt there.

Monkeyshines in the Kitchen said...

Your manapua look fantastic! Isn't it nice that you know you can make these anytime you want! I can't wait to make them again!

Audax said...

Yes I agree with you this recipe is fabulous so easy and quick and the results are stunning. And it is always great to hear about different foodie cultures from around the world. Manapua=steam buns. Your photo is so delicious looking great job on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Mary said...

Your bao look fantastic and I think they would be great with a beer. If I had any left, I'd try it!

bermvipreal said...

Thank you for sharing this.
It is very interesting.

Joanne said...

I LOVE dim sum...can't really imagine life without it. I've always wanted to make these at home but haven't attempted it yet. Yours look great!

Swathi said...

Delicious stuffed bun.