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    Steamed Buns With Barbecued Pork (Char Siu Hum Bao)

    Tuesday, May 06, 2008

    Makes 20 buns, 6 to 8 dim sum servings

    Traditional hum bao is made by marinating and barbecuing pork loin and making a homemade yeasted dough. To expedite the buns, we use frozen dinner roll dough and ready-to-eat Chinese barbecued pork, available at grocery stores. The buns are steamed in a two-level bamboo steamer, available at kitchenware stores; the bamboo absorbs some of the steam, allowing the buns to cook to fluffy perfection without being doused in condensation. If you don't have a steamer, then immediately before serving you can bake the buns on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in a 350-degree oven until golden brown and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.

    • 20 frozen dough balls (we used Rhodes Bake-N-Serve white dinner rolls)
    • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
    • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
    • 4 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
    • 11/2 teaspoons cornstarch
    • 1/4 cup chicken broth or water
    • 11/2 cups finely chopped Chinese barbecued pork (char siu; 7 ounces)

    Four hours before making the buns, spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; place the balls of dough at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Spray one side of a piece of plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray and place it loosely over the baking sheet with the ungreased side facing up. Allow the rolls to defrost and rise until doubled in size, about 4 hours. (Alternately, place the frozen rolls on the prepared baking sheet, cover with the greased plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Proceed as directed when ready to fill.)

    In a small saucepan combine the hoisin sauce, soy sauce and rice wine. Place the cornstarch in a small measuring cup and gradually whisk in the chicken broth; add to saucepan. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat and cook until bubbly and thick, 2 minutes. Chop the barbecued pork and combine with hoisin mixture. (The recipe can be prepared up to this point up to 3 days ahead of time. Cool, cover and refrigerate.)

    Cut 20 (3-inch) squares of parchment paper. Spray the rack of the bamboo steamer with nonstick cooking spray. Take one roll and flatten, forcing out any large gas bubbles. Make a slight indentation in the center and fill with 1 tablespoon of the pork filling. Create a small purse by bringing the edges of the roll up and over the filling and pinching them together at the top of the bun. Place seam side down on a square of parchment paper and put in the bamboo steamer, leaving at least 1 inch of space between each roll. Repeat with remaining rolls and filling. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes if dough was defrosted at room temperature, 30 minutes if defrosted overnight in the refrigerator.

    Place the top of the steamer over the rack and place over boiling water in a wok, making sure that the bottom of the steamer is not resting in the water. Steam buns for 20 to 25 minutes, until they are fluffy and a skewer inserted into the dough comes out clean. Remove steamer from wok and transfer the buns to a serving platter. (The buns can be steamed up to 24 hours in advance. Cool completely and wrap buns individually in plastic wrap. To reheat, remove plastic wrap and place on a serving plate; cover with a moist white paper towel and microwave until heated through, about 2 minutes.)

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