The February Daring Bakers’ challenge is hosted by Julie of One-Wall Kitchen. She challenged us to an easy, simple filled bun using no-knead dough. Many Asian countries have their own version of yeast-risen, filled buns. These are often sold as street food that can be held and eaten without utensils. In Thailand, they have salapo. And in China, where they originated, they have several names for them, including bao, humbao, mantou and pau.

In the Philippines, these buns are called siopao and while they are sold as street food, they are also a home comfort that every home has its own recipe for, and they are often served with hot noodle soup called mami. The filling may be sweet or savory; anything can work as long as it is not too wet. Since I eat neither pork nor beef, I substituted the meat in the savory filling with chicken along with chopped baby carrots and fresh bean sprouts.

SIOPAO/ ASIAN FILLED BUNS

Ingredients:

For the Dough

1/4 ounce (7 gm) (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast

1-1/2 cups (360 ml) warm water

1 tablespoon (15 ml) sugar

2 tablespoons (30 ml) melted butter

1 teaspoon (5 ml) kitchen salt

4 to 5 cups (560 gm to 700 gm) all purpose flour

1 egg for egg-wash for the buns

For the Savory Filling

1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable or olive oil

1 lb (½ kg) shredded chicken

1 small yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons (45 ml) soy sauce

1 tablespoon (15 ml) oyster sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 star anise, optional

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon (15 ml) cornstarch

1/4 cup (60 ml) cold water

Method:

  • Mix the yeast, water, sugar, melted butter and salt in a large mixing bowl. Slowly mix in the flour.
  • Combine until fully incorporated and you have a shaggy, very tacky dough, but not wet and sticky.

  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for up to an hour in a warm place until it is doubled.
  • While the dough is rising, make the filling by heating oil in skillet. First sauté the yellow onion.

  • Then add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the shredded chicken and brown it in the skillet.
  • Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and star anise. Cook filling until chicken is cooked through.

  • Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the star anise. Place cornstarch and water in a small bowl.
  • Stir with fork or small whisk until cornstarch is dissolved. Stir cornstarch mixture into filling.

  • Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Then remove from heat and cool before making the siopao.
  • Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Fold it over several times.

  • Shape the dough into a smooth ball, then divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.
  • Flatten it into a disc about 6 inches wide. Place a heaping tablespoonful of filling into the center.

  • Wrap the dough around the chicken filling and firmly pinch it closed over the top of the filling.
  • Place filled buns on a baking sheet and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let them rest for 1 hour.

  • Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. Beat 1 egg in a small bowl for egg wash.
  • Brush on top of each bun. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm. Makes 12.

Daring Bakers February Challenge

Start your day with these healthy breakfast muffins from Delicious magazine!

APPLE, PECAN AND RAISIN MUFFINS

Ingredients:

75g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing

300ml skimmed milk

125g natural oat bran

2 eggs, room temperature

75g light muscovado sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

60g whole meal flour

125g self-raising flour

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

2 teaspoon baking powder

2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and chopped

2 tablespoon raisins soaked in 2 tablespoon orange juice

25g pecan nuts, toasted and chopped

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 190°C/ Fan 170°C/ Gas5. Grease a 12-hole muffin tray with a little butter.
  • Put the milk and oat bran in a bowl and set aside. Beat the eggs, butter, sugar and vanilla.

  • In a larger bowl, sift together the flours, salt and baking powder and then stir in the apple.
  • Mix bran into egg mixture, then briefly stir this into the dry ingredients. Divide it into two.

  • Briefly stir the raisins into one half of the muffin batter, and the pecans into the other half.
  • Put a heaped dessertspoonful of each mixture into muffin holes so you get 6 of each flavor.

  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until risen and golden. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
  • Then turn out onto a wire rack. Serve the muffins warm or at room temperature. Makes 12.

Healthy Breakfast Muffins

A refreshing fruit salad is what you need to end a rich and heavy meal if you still want to opt for dessert on Chinese New Year. This easy make-ahead dish from Taste.com.au only requires to be thrown together at the last minute and will definitely delight the palate of those who have never tried thought of combining these simple tropical flavors. Use fresh fruit if u can else you can still make this beautiful salad from frozen mango chunks and tinned lychees.

COCONUT PUDDING WITH LYCHEE & MANGO SALAD

Ingredients:

1/2 cup golden caster sugar

1/2 sachet powdered agar agar

400ml can coconut cream

12 fresh lychees or in syrup

1 large mango, peeled and diced

Fresh mint leaves, to decorate

Method:

  • Place sugar and 1 cup cold water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir for 3 to 4 minutes until sugar dissolves.
  • Gradually add agar agar, stir until combined. Cook for 1-2 minutes until agar agar has completely dissolved.
  • Gradually add the coconut cream, stirring until well combined. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Transfer mixture to a large heatproof bowl. Stir every 15 minutes for 1 hour or until the mixture has cooled.
  • Pour mixture into a greased 4.5cm-deep, 18.5cm square pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, stir occasionally.
  • Refrigerate for 3 hours or until set. Combine lychees, reserved lychee syrup and mango in a mixing bowl.

  • Run a palette knife around edge of pan and invert it onto a chopping board. Press base to release pudding.
  • Cut the coconut pudding into 12 rectangles. Place each on a plate along with the lychee and mango salad.
  • Top the pudding and lychee-mango salad with mint leaves and chill until serving time. Makes 12 servings.

Coconut, Mango & Lychee

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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