Siopao – Steamed Buns with Pork Filling

Filipino food culture is an amalgam of several different nationalities with siopao being happily adopted from China. Siopao is something that I always associated to my Lola (Grandma) who was able to whisk together this special treat of steamed buns with a savory pork filling. The following recipe consists of two parts, the filling and the pastry which is then wrapped up in one neat package.

Siopao – Chinese Steamed Buns with Pork Filling

Filling

  • 2 tbsp | 30 ml of vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp | 30 g of garlic, diced
  • 2.2 lbs |1 kg of pork shoulder, diced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 tbsp | 60 ml of soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp | 45 g of granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp | 30 ml of oyster sauce
  • 3 eggs, hard-boiled, finely chopped
  1. In a large non-stick skillet, heat the vegetable oil in medium-high heat until shimmering. Add garlic to the oil and sauté  for two minutes.
  2. Add pork shoulder and lightly browned on all sides.
  3. Add the onions, soy sauce, sugar, and oyster sauce to the pan, mix well and cook for about 15 minutes or until tender.
  4. Remove the filling from the heat and allow to cool.

Pastry

  • 1 pkg of active yeast
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp | 115 g of sugar
  • ½ cup | 120 ml of lukewarm water
  • 4½ cup | 540 g of flour
  • 1 cup | 240 ml of lukewarm milk
  • 1 tbsp | 15 g of baking powder
  • 2 tbsp | 30 ml of vegetable shortening
  • 24 pieces of waxed paper cut into 3 inch squares

Preparation

  1. Mix the yeast and 1 tbsp | 15 g of sugar into the lukewarm water (Note: Do not use hot water as it will kill the yeast which results in a very flat dough mixture.)
  2. Stir yeast mixture until dissolved completely and let stand for 10 minutes. (If no foam forms on the top, the yeast is not active, discard and start a new package of yeast.)
  3. Sift flour into a large mixing bowl to eliminate any clumps.
  4. Slowly pour in the yeast mixture, lukewarm milk, baking powder, sugar, and vegetable shortening and stir with a rubber spatula, then mix with hands until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  5. Place the dough mixture on a lightly floured surface and knead it for 5 minutes.
  6. Place the dough in a lighly oiled large bowl, cover the dough with a damp towel and allow it to rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until the volume of the dough doubles in size.
  7. Punch down the dough and cover again with a damp towel allowing it to rest for an additional 30 minutes, or until it doubles in volume again.

Assembling

  1. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the mixture for 5 – 7 minutes until it is a smooth and satiny texture.
  2. Roll the dough into a 2 inch cylinder in diameter and about 24 – 26 inches in length.
  3. Cut into 1 inch rounds which will then be flattened into 5 inch rounds.
  4. Assemble the siopao by placing 1 heaping tablespoon of the filling and a few pieces of the chopped egg into the center of each pastry round.
  5. Gather the edges of the dough to form a pouch, then press the edges together to seal.
  6. Place each siapao bun on a 3 inch square of waxed paper, covering the finished buns with a dry kitchen towel and let rise in place for 30 minutes. (The buns will almost double in volume)

Cooking

  1. Arrange the buns in a steamer leaving 1 inch space between each bun, cover and steam for 10 – 15 minutes.
  2. Serve hot with a side of oyster sauce, or eat plain out of hand.

Tips

  • The recipe makes 24 siopao, one serving is 2 buns per person.
  • Leftover siopao can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge, to reheat take a wet paper towel, wrap the siopao in the middle and microwave for approximately a minute until warmed.

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