char siew pauas i revisited all the bookmarks that i’d made for the past years, i found this printed recipe chucked away in my folder… my hubby loves char siew pau… and probably most of my friends do (since majority of them are from hong kong)… i have been procrastinating on this because there was too much work… first the char siew, then the sauce, and the dough… yes, it took me 2 days. but i guarantee, the result is truly satisfying (although my paus were not as smiley…. wakakaka)…. it is thaaatttt goooooodddd… *burp*

Char Siew Recipe adapted from Chef and Sommelier

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

1kg pork (shoulder or collar)
2 tbsp oil
1 cup water

1 tsp salt (to add later)
1tsp light soya sauce
1tsp white pepper
2tbsp maltose
2 cubes red fermented bean curds
2tbsp sugar
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1tbsp chinese wine
1tbsp peanut oil


char siew pau– clean and dry pork
– mix all ingredients for the marinade (except salt) and marinate pork overnight
– add salt to marinated pork 30mins before cooking
– in a medium wok, heat peanut oil over medium heat. Brown pork on all sides and add marinade and water
– simmer over low heat for about 45 mins until marinade thickens to form sauce
– preheat oven to 250 degrees of grill mode. Brush meat with sauce and remove from wok
– remove excess oil and further thicken the sauce if required
– grill pork in oven until the sides are nicely charred about 5-10 mins each side
– remove and let char skew rest before slicing and serving

Velvety Sauce Recipe adapted from Lily’s Wai Sek Hong


3 large thin slices ginger
1 stalk of green onion – cut into 2-3 inches long
1 tbsp oil for frying the above
2 cups water

1tsp chicken powder
1tbsp dark caramel soya sauce
2tbsp light soya sauce
4oz oyster sauce

1 cup sugar (207g fine granulated sugar)
2 tsp gelatine

2tbsp tapioca starch
4 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup water


char siew pau

– mix B till well combined
– mix C with a fork or whisk and mix it thoroughly otherwise the sauce will be lumpy
– make a slurry with D and leave aside
– heat a large skillet or work with 1tbsp oil and fry ginger slices and green onions until aromatic. Add in water, bring to boil and cook until ginger slices and green onions have released their flavour. Remove ginger slices and green onions and discard
– stir in mixed B, lower the heat and continue to stir
– add in C and continue to stir until sugar and gelatine have dissolved
– finally add in the slurry D and cook until sauce thickens. turn off heat and allow sauce to cool before putting into the fridge and let it cool and set for 3 hours before using
– prepare char siew filling by dicing 1/2lb char siew into tiny dices
– mix in above cooled sauce depending on your preference. do not overmix as sauce will become runny. filling is ready for wrapping into paus/baos

Pau/Bao Recipe adapted from Lily’s Wai Sek Hong


4oz starter dough
2oz fine granulated sugar
1tsp double action baking powder
1/2tsp ammonium bicarbonate
a tiny drop of potassium carbonate & sodium bi-carbonate solution a.k.a. kan sui
3tsp water
1tbsp lard/shortening
5tbsp pau flour
4tbsp wheat starch


char siew pau– first prepare starter dough by mixing 8oz pau flour with 1tsp instant yeast, 1tbsp fine granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water for a start. Adjust water little at a time until a slightly wet dough is achieved. Cover with plastic wrap and prick a few holes on the wrap and leave dough to ferment until foamy and yeasty
– weigh 4oz of starter dough and add in 2oz sugar. mix these together until sugar is dissolved
– mix 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp ammonium bicarbonate, a drop of kan sui with 2 tsp of water. mix to dissolve and add in to starter dough mixture. mix well to combine
– add in 5 tbsp pau flour and 4tbsp wheat starch and knead to a soft dough (a little more water might be needed as it depends on how wet the starter dough is)
– add in 1tbsp lard/shortening and knead well. Flatten dough and spread it out
– dissolve 1/2 tsp double action baking powder with 1tsp water, rub this all over the spreaded out dough
– fold the dough in and knead well so that all the baking powder is well spread
– dough is ready to be divided into 8-10 portions depending on how big a pau/bao you want
– flatten one portion and put 1tsp of char siew filling. pick up edges and wrap up the filling, making sure there is more dough on top. it will ensure smiling blossom
– you do not need to pleat. just ensure that the edges are well sealed
– place filled pau/bao on top of a piece of parchment paper and put into steamer and cover with a damp cloth. continue to fill up the other portions
– bring water and 1tbsp vinegar to steamer to high boil
– spray baos with water lightly. Do not drown them and put to steam for 12 mins. Ensure that water is on boiling high and do seal the edges of the cover with wet towels to seal in the heat. the hotter the steam, the better the SMILE
– when paus/baos are ready, remove from steamer and allow to cool. do not serve them as the smell of the ammonium bicarbonate has not dissipate
– before serving, steam the paus/baos for another 12 mins

Personal notes:
– each of my pau is 35g (dough) and i pleated my pau as i was practising… (*^ワ^*)
– you will get alot of velvety sauce, so feel free to half the recipe but the sauce is awesome
– i steamed my paus in the steamer with boiling water and steamed them for 5 mins
– velvety sauce and starter dough were prepared one day in advance. starter dough was left to ferment for 12 hours. char siew was marinated night before but prepared on day on making pau

these are really lovely paus…. if you like to see that “hmmmmmmmm” look on your family members face, go for it…. ☆*・゜゚・*(^O^)/*・゜゚・*☆

Pollution index: quaint little Yufuin (Beppu, Kyushu)


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