We call it "siopao" in Filipino, and "bao zi " in Mandarin. We eat it anytime as a meal or a snack. This recipe is with a soft, chewy dough that can be eaten even without filling as you would with other bread.
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
- 3 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup refined white sugar
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup cooking oil
- 3 cups cooked meat filling ( chicken adobo, meatball, as you like)
- 12 squares cut out wax paper
- Disolve 1 TBSP sugar in a bowl with lukewarm water. Add the yeast and let the mixture stand for 10 minutes until frothy.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and the remaining sugar. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture. Add the oil.
- With a dough hook, mix until soft dough forms. It can also be done by using a wooden spoon.
- Knead the dough on a flat surface until soft and elastic. Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover with damp towel. Let it rise until it doubles the size (1 1/2 hours).
- Punch the dough in the middle to release air. Flatten the dough on a flat surface and cut into 12 equal portions.
- Form each into a ball by pulling down edge to the bottom.
- Flatten the balls again and spoon over prepared filling in the middle of flattened dough.
- Close the dough by gathering the edges towards the center. Twist the gathered edges to seal.
- Put wax paper at the bottom and let the buns stand to rise until double in size (30 minutes).
- Steam buns over boiling water for about 20 minutes. Make space between them. Dough will again double its size.The dough should turn off-white when cooked.
Note: Yeast is made of live micro-organisms. Too-warm water kills them and this is one common reason why dough doesn't rise. I learned it the hard way, haha!