Jo Anne's StoryThis chinese bun that is filled with char siu or seasoned red pork, evokes and fills my mind with so much sweet memories of my grammom and grampa, my mom and dad, my childhood and growing up, having my own children and now my grandchildren.
It has withstood the test of time, now generations later, it is still a strong staple in my family. But no one in my family thought of trying to take on the great task of creating and making it at home, until now.
It was a "Sunday kinda thing" to travel into Chinatown and buy it, come home and have breakfast with the family. My mom made Manapua, as I recall, only twice. It was just too time consuming and too much work. It was more convenient and tasty to just purchase it.
It was difficult to capture that essence, that certain "taste" on your palate of chinese "char siu bao".
In the photo which is not mine, the steamed manapua is on the left, the white one. The brown manapua on the right is the baked manapua. This is also a request for someone that is just "homesick" for local food. So I hope that this will comfort her, even just a little. Enjoy, LY!!!
char siu, finely chopped (seasoned
mirin (japanese sweet cooking wine)
light brown sugar, lightly packed
chinese five spice powder
onion, finely minced
drops, red food coloring (optional)
THE BAO (BUN)
rapid rise yeast
1 1/2 c
milk, room temperature
butter, unsalted, melted, cooled
1 1/2 tsp
4 1/2 c
egg, beaten, for brushing tops of bao (buns)
1PROCEDURE FOR THE FILLING:
2Heat 1/2 Tbsp. oil in a small saucepan, saute onions until softened and almost transparent. Remove from heat and set aside.
3Heat remaining Tbsp. of oil in a large skillet, stir fry finely chopped char siu (seasoned pork) till tender.
4Combine the remaining filling ingredients in a bowl and stir till well blended, then add the filling mixture and the sauteed onions to the stir fried char siu. Heat and stir until it is bubbling.
5Combine the chicken broth and the cornstarch in a small bowl and mix till well blended, add to the hot meat mixture, stirring constantly until it thickens.
6Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
7NOTE: FILL THE BAO (BUN) WHEN THE FILLING IS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE, NOT HOT, NOT REFRIGERATOR COLD.
8PROCEDURE FOR THE BAO (BUN):
9Mix together in a bowl, the yeast packet, lukewarm water and a pinch of salt. Set aside until it's foamy.
10In a large bowl, combine sugar and room temperature milk, whisk until sugar dissolves. Add the 2 cups of the cake flour and mix well. In 3 increments, slowly add the 4 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and combine well, but do not over mix.
11Place the dough in a large bowl, and in a warm place, allow for the dough to rise till it doubles in size (approximately 2 1/2 hours, if enclosed in a microwave oven with a jar of boiling water on the side of the bowl).
12Remove the dough from the microwave oven and discard the water.
13Punch down the dough and cut the dough into 24 equal pieces. Form into dough balls and allow the dough balls to rest for about 15 minutes.
14Roll out each ball into 4-inch disks, place a heaping Tbsp. of room temperature filling onto the center of the disk, gather the edges together and pinch it close with a twist.
15With a cookie sheet, prepped with parchment paper, set the bao (bun), twisted side down and spaced evenly apart.
16Put the cookie sheet of bao in a warm, moist area so that it can rise for about 30 minutes.
17Brush the tops of the bao with the beaten egg and bake for 22 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
18Remove the bao from oven onto a cooling rack. Serve hot or warm.
19To retain freshness, bao may be frozen. To reheat a frozen bao, let stand for about 5 minutes, then wrap with a damp paper towel and microwave in the oven for about 1 minute, more if needed.