Recipe: Asado Siopao
Siopao literally means "hot bun". It's the Philippines' take on dimsum buns or char siu buns. Because the Philippines had an influx of Chinese immigrants and merchants, they brought along their cuisine and we obviously embraced this dish and created our own versions - and usually a sweeter version (I really have no idea why Filipinos want everything sweeter - take our Pinoy spaghetti for example). It's a white and fully bun that's filled with a meat mixture, usually pork. The bun itself has also had a ton of variations - airy, super white, fluffy, dense, chewy, mass-produced-texture, etc. As for the filling, the world is your oyster. Filipino siopao variations would either be asado (sweet and fatty pork dish braised in soy sauce, star anise, and sugar) or bola-bola (meatballs made of ground pork, green onions, and even Chinese sausage - and usually marked with a red dot on top of the siopao). The "special siopao" kind usually has salted egg added - what a glorious surprise!
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So in my attempt to make these, I wanted it to be as close to the Ma Mon Luk siopao.
These buns are technically easy (I say this lightly) to make, it just takes a long time. And I was just exhausted after making it because of my back issue, really (lots of standing on my part - even if I had a stool to sit on white forming the buns). But I'm pretty sure you'll do fine making it.
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This recipe will yield around 15-16 pieces, around palm-sized (3.5 inches in diameter - okay, my hands are small). You could have more if you make them smaller.
You'll need some mixing bowls, a wooden spoon, a pastry scraper (if you have one, I don't so I just used a spatula), a pot/dutch oven, chopping boards, a rolling pin, plastic/saran wrap, and a tray or a baking sheet.
Siopao Bun Ingredients
1/2 cup water, warm
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 tbsp vegetable oil
extra flour for dusting your surface
Asado Filling Ingredients
Siopao Bun Procedure
1. Combine the milk, water, yeast, and sugar in a bowl and whisk together. Let this sit for 15-20 mins to let the yeast activate and grow. (Sugar sustains and feeds the yeast. Once you add salt, it will stop the yeast from growing and blooming.)
----While you're waiting, you can make the filling mixture!----
5. Punch/Poke the dough to release the air pockets. Transfer to a well-floured working surface and divide the dough into 4 portions and roll into logs. Divide each log to 4 pieces (Yes, you should have 16 equal portions but I divided 1 portion to add on to 2 smaller portions I had.)
Balling the dough - you do this so you smoothen the dough balls and trap the air inside, the carbon dioxide. This process will also strengthen the protein threads [aka gluten] so it can rise and hold well when you steam it to cook.)
Asado Filling Procedure
1. Heat up the oil in medium heat and sauté onions and garlic until onions are translucent. Add the pork chunks/cubes and cook until it's slightly caramelized.
5. Steam the buns for 15 minutes. (....and just shrivel up and almost die waiting some more 😳😱)