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Char Siu Bao Recipe

Simon Rimmer demonstrates how to make these classic Chinese barbecue pork-filled buns on Sunday Brunch

Makes 8 or serves 4 as part of a dim sum meal


For the char siu

  • 30g honey
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 100ml hoi sin sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 heaped tbsp yellow bean sauce
  • 600g pork fillet

For the bun dough

  • 250ml warm water
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 450g plain flour

To serve

  • Sweet chilli sauce


1. For the char siu, put the honey, rice wine, hoi sin, soy and yellow bean sauces in a food bag. Add the meat, rub the marinade in well then seal the bag and refrigerate overnight to marinate. Give the bag a little shake every now and again to work in the flavours.

2. The next day preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Put about 2cm of water in the bottom of a roasting tray. Put a rack on top and sit the meat on it. Roast for 25 minutes, brushing on more marinade and turning every now and again. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and set the remaining marinade aside.

3. For the dough, in a jug mix the water, yeast, sugar, baking powder and salt, and whisk for about 3-4 minutes until foaming.

4. Put the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the liquid to the flour, mix until it comes together then knead until it forms a smooth dough. Cover and leave to prove for 1 hour.

5. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and knead again for 5 minutes. Divide into 8 pieces then roll each piece into an 8cm disc.

6. Finely chop the char siu and mix with the remaining marinade. Place a tablespoon of the mixture in the middle of each disc then wrap the dough up around the meat and seal with a pinch.

7. Place the buns sealed-side down on a piece of parchment in a steamer. Make a cross on top with a knife, cover and steam for 10 minutes.

8. Serve immediately with sweet chilli sauce.