Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Daring Cooks, December 2011- Cha Sui & Cha Sui Bao

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!

My first Daring Cooks challenge! When I joined The Daring Kitchen I figured at some point I would end up participating in both the Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers challenges, but I also figured I should start small and make sure I could handle doing challenges. So of course, I decided to join the Daring Cooks at a fairly stress-free part of the year.... oh. Wait.

I don't know what I was thinking with the timing of starting this, but I am really glad I did. When I saw that the challenge was for Cantonese BBQ pork I didn't really know what to expect, sure I was willing to give it a try, but I wasn't crazy excited like I was for the chocolates in my first Daring Bakers challenge. The second I tried a bit of the cha sui and subsequently the cha sui bao, I knew it was totally worth every minute marinating and baking. The dough for the cha sui bao was surprisingly light and really delicious. The pork was full of flavor and nice and moist. All in all a successful first challenge and a recipe that will be filed away as a "do this again" when we are looking for something a little different from our usual menus.

I didn't really want to try to track down the maltose called for in the recipe, so I was glad to see that honey could be substituted for that. I also have to put in a word here for my amazing husband who is always willing to run down the street to the store when I have an "oh crap, we're out of eggs" moment. I should really plan better, but it is certainly nice to know that in the time it takes me to have a mini-breakdown over not having enough eggs, flour or whatever other staple ingredient, he always has his shoes and coat on and car keys in hand ready to pick up whatever I didn't plan for.

Char Sui (Cantonese BBQ Pork)

1 pork fillet/ tenderloin, about 1- 1.5 pounds
4 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons maltose (I substituted honey here)
1 1/2 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
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring

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 into smaller pieces to marinate you will end up with more flavorsome char sui. Place in a dish (I used a rectangular baking dish) for marinating.
2. Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine.
3. Cover pork well with 2/3 of the marinade mixture. Marinate for a minimum of 4 hours, best if left overnight. Place the reserved portion of the marinade covered int the fridge. This will be used to baste the pork later.

To Cook:
1. pre-heat oven to 350.
2. Cover a baking tray with foil or parchment paper. Place on top of this a roasting rack.
3. Place pork in a hot frying pan or wok, sear it quickly so it is well browned.
4. Remove from pan and place pork on the rack and place into oven.
5. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, basting and turning until cooked through. (For whatever reason the baking time ended up being about twice as long when I did this. Don't know why, but it did!)

Baked Char Sui Bao (Cantonese BBQ Pork Bun)
Filling Ingredients
12 oz char sui (finely diced)
2 green onions (finely sliced)
1 tablespoon hoisin
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil

Dough Ingredients
2 1/2 teaspoons dried yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups plain flour
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with a dash of water

Filling Directions
1. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or pan
2. Add diced char sui to the wok and stir. Then add green onions, cook for 1 minute.
3. Add hoisin, dark soy sauce and sesame oil to the pork mixture, stir fry for 1 minute.
4. Mix cornstarch and stock together and then add to the pork mixture.
5. Stir well and keep cooking until the mixture thickens, 1-2 minutes.
6. Remove mixture from wok 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 become all frothy.
2. Sift flour in a large bowl
3. Add yeast mixture, egg, oil 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 approximately 2 inches in diameter. Then pick the piece of dough up and gently pull the edges to enlarge it to about 3 inches in diameter.
8. Place a good sized tablespoon of filling on the dough circle. Then gather the edges and seal your bun.
9. Place the bun seal side down on your baking tray. Continue with the rest of the dough.
10. Once all the buns are complete brush surface with egg wash.

11. Place in a preheated oven of about 390 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.


  1. You didn't tell me you had joined the Daring Cooks!!! Great job on the char sui and bao! They both look great! :) And you do have a pretty good husband! I'm glad you found him!

  2. I am so glad you ended up enjoying your first challenge. Both pork and buns look awesome.