I do not know where these tasty meat pockets have been all my life! When I first saw this challenge at the beginning of the month I was a little bummed since I much prefer sweet to savory when doing a Daring Bakers challenge. But I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome and I encourage you to try these. You won’t be disappointed. Especially with the meat! I would’ve eaten it plain from the pot and not even have made the dough if I didn’t have a post to write! It is very, very good.
The February Daring Bakers’ challenge is hosted by Julie of One-Wall Kitchen. She challenged us to an easy, simple filled bun using no-knead dough.
These siopao make a great meal. You can make them ahead of time and all you need is a side of veggies and you’re good to go. While these are traditionally steamed, this version is baked.
As I said before, the meat is to die for. So good. For real. My house smelled heavenly while it baked. DO NOT leave out the star anise! It’s subtle but adds so much. I scored 2 in the bulk section of my grocery store for $0.20!
After a slow roast, chop it up and return it to the juice for an overnight mingling of flavor. This may not be totally necessary, but I think it made the meat more flavorful and juicy. Lots of fat will harden on top if you chill it, so remove what you can (this was tricky and disgusting for me so I gave up quickly) then slowly heat it just to get everything back to a nice juicy state. Drain the meat and onion and reserve the juice. It makes for a crazy good sauce later. Also, a nice layer of fat will form on top of the reserved juice. Remove it or pour the juice slowly into your saucepan and the fat should stay in the container. Sorry for all the fat talk.
The dough is super simple to make. No kneading necessary and it was easy to handle.
After dividing it up into 12 pieces…try to make them more equally sized than mine!
Flatten them out to a size a little larger than your palm.
Fill with some filling. This particular one could’ve used just a bit more.
Arrange on a baking sheet, then cover with a clean towel and let rise for an hour.
Brush with egg and bake.
Reduce the sauce and thicken and you’ve got some tasty goodness on your hands.
I made the full 3 pounds of meat and 2 batches of dough for a total of 2 dozen siopao. I had just a little meat leftover, which really I should have used in some of the less meaty buns. So 3 pounds is just about perfect for 2 batches. 1 1/2 pounds would be a good amount for 1 batch of buns, but all the roasts I saw at my grocery store were no smaller than 3 pounds. You may have better luck at your market. But even if I was going to just make a dozen buns I’d probably make extra meat. I’m thinking it would be good served with some white rice, mixed in fried rice, served on baguette kind of like a bahn mi, or maybe even in a quesadilla or on a pizza. Am I getting too ambitious? I need to go make another roast now…
I baked these early in the day and reheated them for dinner. They are best eaten freshly baked since reheating them makes the buns crunchier, but they are still delicious. I froze some of the ones I baked for later. In hindsight I wish I’d frozen them unbaked and thawed and baked them later. But again, I am sure they will still taste great. The thing I really worry about is not having the sauce for those leftover buns! I’ll have to experiment to make another sauce. I think hoisin mixed with a little soy sauce would be good in a pinch.
Pork (makes enough for 2 batches/24 siopao)
- 3 pounds pork shoulder
- salt and pepper
- 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup soy sauce, use reduced sodium if you have it
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 star anise
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch for sauce
Dough (for 12 siopao)
- 1/4 ounce (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 1-1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, whisked, for egg-wash for the buns
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Season pork with salt and pepper and place in a dutch oven.
- Add in onion, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, star anise and garlic.
- Cover and cook for 2 and 1/2 hours. Let cool before chopping up the meat. Return to the pot and set sit for at least an hour and up to overnight.
- Strain the meat and onions, remove the star anise, and reserve the sauce.
- Combine yeast, sugar, salt, water and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix together. Let sit for about 5 minutes until foamy.
- Add in 4 cups of flour and mix on low until combined, then on medium for 30-45 seconds. Add a little more flour if dough seems especially sticky.
- Transfer to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about an hour.
- On a lightly floured surface turn out the dough.
- Divide into 12 pieces. Shape a piece into a circle about the size of your hand.
- Fill with a spoonful of the meat, gather the edges and pinch shut.
- Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment and repeat. Cover and let rise for an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Brush with a beaten egg before baking for 20-25 minutes.
- Heat sauce over medium heat in a small saucepan.
- In a small bowl whisk cornstarch and a little water to a smooth consistency.
- Once sauce reaches a simmer, let cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly. If sauce isn’t as thick as you’d like return to low heat and whisk a little longer.
- Serve sauce with the buns.