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