I was never a big fan of siopao growing up. I would always go for siomai instead. When I was in grade school there was this dimsum/mami place Maxims that my mom loved taking me to for after school merienda, kapag hindi kami sa Sizzling Seafoods or Sugarhouse :D
My mom has this crazy addiction to Maxims jumbo siopao deluxe – looking back, I can understand why now. It’s freaking humongous, for one thing. And then it’s filled with Chinese Barbecue Pork, Sausage, and salted egg. She would always order extra chili-garlic sauce to go. Up to now, if I dig deep enough through my childhood memories, I can still hear the squeak of the square styrofoam containers stacked in a bag in the backseat of the car and the undisguisable smell of the leaking oily chili sauce.
Since we’re in Suisse now, she occasionally bemoans the lack of siopao (among many other things) and I wanted to make a special treat for her. I figure cooking complicated-looking things shouldn’t be scary. Hell, if I can make those @#*&^# macarons I can probably make siopao, right? :D So here it is :)
They turned out just as I had hoped, with very soft bread and delicious filling :3
Pinoy Style Siopao
makes about 12-14 large siopao or a bajillion tiny ones
Dough recipe from pinoyfoodblog.com
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour *
* I used 3 cups AP flour, 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons pork lard **
** 3 tablespoons veg oil
Procedure for Dough
1. Place the sugar and yeast into the lukewarm water.
2. Let stand for 10 minutes. Yeast mixture should be a little frothy and smell yeasty. Otherwise, your yeast may be dead (as I found out my first batch was, yay)
3. Mix together flour, baking powder, remaining sugar and oil.
4. Add the mixture of Number 3 to the yeast mixture in number 1.
5. Knead until smooth, adding flour as you need
6. Let rise for 2 hours in a warm place. (Prepare filling while waiting for the dough to rise)
6a. After 1 hour, punch down dough and knead for 5 mins. Then let rise again for the remaining hour.
Really, it can be anything you want. I improvised some char siu by marinating some pork with hoisin, honey, soy sauce and Chinese 5 spice powder and baking it, covered with foil, for about 1.5 hours :) I also put in some Chinese sausage that I brought from Manila.
Adobo is really yummy too. Roasted duck, roasted pork… Yum.
The fun part!
Take out the risen dough onto a floured work surface and knead it for about 5 minutes to work out all that extra air. Divide the dough into two to make it easier to work with. Roll them into a log like shape and cut into workable pieces, depending on how big you want your final siopao to be. Here I’m making smaller ones with adobo filling (I had extra dough from yesterday).
Roll the dough into a flat circle, maybe about 1/2″ thick or so. Place filling in the middle and then pinch all around to seal it closed. Lay down the seam side on a small piece of parchment paper and into a steamer.
Steam for about 10-15 minutes or until the dough is cooked through. I used a bamboo steamer- make sure the boiling water at the bottom does not touch the siopao and be careful! It’s very hot :P
My siopao are a little brown because I used some whole wheat flour. Anyway, they came out delicious! Serve warm with your condiment of choice (my mom’s is, of course, chili garlic sauce) :D