Sunday, February 26, 2017

siopao. see-yoh-pao. chicken filled, steamed buns.

A Siopao is a filled, steam bun. It is considered a "dumpling"-a big one. Famous in the Philippines as a snack or lunch food, it is originally a Chinese invention eaten for breakfast.

Thru Chinese trading from all parts of Asia, different versions of these steamed, filled buns popped up all over Asia like the mashed adzuki (sweet red) beans or mashed sweet potato. In China, Hong Kong, Taiwan-it is more called a 'Zhūròu xiàn xiǎo yuán miànbāo' which means "pork-filled buns".

Here I used chicken adobo as filling with added grated ginger, shallots, hoisin sauce and oyster sauce to make the original restaurant-style filling called "siopao asado". The Filipino-style Siopao USUALLY  has a small (or half of a large) hard boil egg inside which is what sets it apart from all the other filled steam buns of Asia. Some uses hard-boiled quail eggs. You can incorporate them if you wish. I just omitted it altogether since I did not have eggs at the time.

Filled buns can be found all over the world: the BAKED ones are considered a "pastry" like the 'bierocks' from Germany and 'runza' of Russia. There's also the 'klobasnek' of Czechoslovakia and the list goes on. I haven't had them but the Filipino siopao for me is the best. It's a birthplace food thing.

Special equipment:

Pieces of clean square paper, 2" x 2"


1 cup warm water (100° F or 38° C)
¼ cup & 1 Tbsp sugar
1 pouch active dry yeast
2½ c all-purpose flour
½ Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp lard or veg. oil)
1 tsp vegetable oil
Chicken Asado Filling


Make your Chicken Asado filling using your favorite adobo recipe but omitting the salt and added with:

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger and
1 finely chopped shallot or 1 bunch of finely chopped green onion-white bottom included
3 T Hoisin sauce
3 T oyster sauce

Remove from heat to cool at room temperature. Mince or chop at least 2 cups of it. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the warm water, 1 Tbsp of sugar and yeast. Cover and let it seat in a warm place or area of your house. I made this last month and was still winter. So I boiled a kettle of water and place it in the oven together with the covered yeast mixture until ready to use and when I mean "ready to use" like within the next 10 minutes.

In a big bowl, combine the flour, 1/4 cup of sugar and baking powder. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and the 3 Tbsp lard or oil. Mix well until a dough forms.

Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Form into a big ball and lightly rub the dough with oil and place in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for an hour or until it doubled in size. I placed it in the oven with the same boiled water in a kettle earlier.

Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead for at least 30 seconds if the dough feels 'wet and limp'.

Roll into a log and divide into 8-10 equal portions.

Don't forget to have a clean, damp kitchen towel to always cover the balls of dough.

Form one into a ball and then using hand of rolling pin flatten it into about 4-5 inch circle leaving a small bulge in the middle.

Scoop a tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of filling and place it in the middle.

Gather the ends towards the middle from one side until you reach the other end closing the filling in. Pinch and twist to seal the ends together. Place the filled dough on the prepared sheet of paper with the twisted ends side down. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. Let them rest for 5-10 minutes.

Place the buns in the steamer 1" apart to avoid sticking together when they start to heat up, rise and spread. Steam for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let it stay closed for 5 minutes before removing the cover.

Let it cool to warm before eating.

Dough recipe adapted from a Filipino food blogger in Germany: