BBQ pork buns almost seem like the quintessential item to have at yum cha. It is an item that almost everyone recognize, both in looks and taste. They're a perfect little bun, filled with tasty BBQ pork and encased in fluffy soft dough. So there is no surprise when I say that my two boys are completely obsessed with them, and they are a must have item when we go out for yum cha at the local Chinese restaurant. Lucas can easily demolish two or three steamers of these bun without a blink of an eye.
The only downside with having these buns in local restaurants (as is the peril with most items at a Chinese restaurant) is that you don't know what goes into them, especially with their liberal use of MSG to add flavour. Don't get me wrong, I'm not exactly a food nazi and preventing them from having treats here and there, but let's face it, if there are definitely alternatives to the their favourite foods that don't have any chemical nasties, then why wouldn't you try provide that option for them right?
What is MSG? It is short for monosodium glutamate - basically it enhances the savoury flavour in your dishes. Although generally recognized as safe, there has also been known side effects of having too much of it. It is in many pre-packaged foods in the market - 2 minute noodles, crackers, soups, frozen dinners, etc. It is an additive which effectively creates flavours for food that don't have any. Too much MSG can cause headaches, tingling sensations, nausea and heart palpitations to name a few. It's not a good substance to ingest on a regular basis so of course it is something I am aware of!
So back to these buns. They are easy peasy to make, great to store in the freezer and a fantastic lunch or snack option. Just think also of the money you can save by making these at home. Buns can cost up to $8AUD for a pack of four! Then all you need to do is steam for 15 minutes and you have restaurant quality BBQ pork buns with none of the nasties!
For dough recipe, please refer to my post on steamed bun recipe
500g lean pork, diced them into small little cubes
300g turnips, diced them into small little cubes
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
1 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of Chinese five spice powder
dash of pepper
Combine the oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper and five spice powder in a medium bowl. Add pork in and marinate for at least 30 mins but as per usual, the longer you leave it, the better it is. In fact, you can marinate overnight to give you even more intense flavour.
In a pan, put the pork and turnips in and fry until they are caramalised. Cook until the sauce has reduced down to a thick consistency.
Let it cool down completely before wrapping the mixture in bao dough.
You can wrap the buns the same way as in the chicken buns. Sadly I can't show you how to wrap in the above style in particular as I only have two hands and no one else to help me take the photos. Maybe one day when I can hire a professional eh!? But no matter how you wrap it, as long as the filling is secure in the bao dough, it will still taste delicious!
Steam over high heat for 15 mins. Leave untouched for 5 mins before you opening up the lid.
I could say make sure you let these cool down before eating, but we all know buns are best eaten piping hot, straight out of the steamer! Just don't burn yourself hey! Happy steaming, friends :)