Can you think of an all-time Filipino favourite snack that is easy to grab and comforting to eat? Is siopao on your list? It should be for good reasons.
Remember the soft and fluffy siopao dough that has an enjoyable chew to it and is filled with tasty and saucy meat asado? We are making that right now.
For some, that mouthwatering steamed bun paired with beef or chicken noodle soup might just be the meal they look forward to for lunch or dinner. Me, included.
Tell me more about this siopao recipe.
The softness and chewiness of the bun and the taste of the filling were pretty much like the ones I have had in the Philippines. Back then, I would have a dilemma of choosing between two varieties of siopao – the Asado and Bola-bola. They were simply sold everywhere. Even the 24/7 convenient stores spread across the country sell those delightful steamed buns.
These steamed buns remain soft even after they are left at room temperature for a few hours. I only see the need to re-heat them if they have just been taken out from the fridge.
Siopao asado buns are in some ways similar to the Chinese steamed buns you can have at Yum Cha. Both are savoury with a touch of sweetness. The buns are soft and fluffy, tasty, and quite addictive – you can easily scarf down more than one in no time!
Check out this Chicken Asado Filling recipe I made for the siopao. You might want to prepare the filling ahead before you make the siopao dough. Or cook it while waiting for the dough to rise. Your choice.
Now, let’s make siopao, shall we? Here we go.
Step 1 – Activate the yeast. If using instant dry yeast, you can either sprinkle it directly into the flour or proof it by mixing it with warm water and sugar. (Check the video).
Step 2 – Make the dough. You can either make the dough using a stand mixer or knead it by hand. You only have to knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. It will take about 5 mins in a stand mixer and a bit longer if kneading by hand.
Step 3 – Leave the dough to ferment (also known as the first rise). Cover the bowl with a cloth or cling wrap and leave it in a warm area for 50 min to 1 hr.
Step 4 – Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Deflate the dough (you can weigh it at this point and divide the total by 8). Roll it up like a log and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Mine weighs between 70-72 grams each.
Step 5 – Shape the dough and add the filling. This might look like a bit of work to you but breaking down the process will help. Think of it as 4 mini-steps and it starts after you have divided the dough into 8 pieces. Here they are:
- Form the dough into a ball.
- Flatten it into a disc about 10-11cm in diameter; leaving it thicker at the centre and pressing it thinner around the edges.
- Add 2 tbsp of filling at the centre.
- Pleat the edges to seal and twist if necessary to close entirely.
If you can’t be bothered to pleat, then don’t. Simply fold the edges towards the centre and pinch to close completely. Then place the bun on a parchment paper seam side down.
Step 6 – Leave to proof for 15 mins or until almost doubled in size (final rise). Cover the buns with a cloth or cling wrap and leave them in a warm area to rise for the last time.
Step 7 – Steam for 15 minutes. Transfer the buns into the steamer at least 1-inch apart and cook. Serve and enjoy with loved ones.
Let me know if you try it and if it satisfies your cravings for siopao. For me, it certainly has.
How To Make Siopao (Steamed Buns)
Chicken Asado Siopao
- ¾ cup warm water
- 2 tsp instant dry yeast
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 2 ½ cups (312 g) all-purpose flour, and more for adjusting the dough and dusting
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp oil vegetable or canola
- In a small bowl with ¾ cup of warm water, add 2 tbsp instant dry yeast and 1 tbsp sugar. Stir. Let it sit for 5 mins until frothy. Note 1
- In a bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine. Pour in the yeast mixture and the oil. Stir until most of the flour is moistened. (It’s okay if there is a bit of dry flour at the bottom).
- Using a dough hook, beat at low speed to combine together, 1 min. Then increase the speed to medium and continue kneading, 4 mins. If the dough is too wet, add 1 tbsp of flour one at a time. If the dough is too dry, add 1 tsp of water or as needed. You can also knead by hand, if preferred.
- Remove dough from the hook and shape it into a ball. Place it inside the bowl, cover with a cloth or cling wrap, and leave it in a warm area. Let it rise for 50 mins - 1 hr.
- Deflate the dough using your knuckle. Transfer onto a lightly floured worktop and gently pat and stretch. Roll out it out into a rectangle (roughly) shape, then roll it up similar to a log. Cut into 8 pieces. Note 2
- Take one dough and form it into a ball by folding the edges. Using a rolling pin, flatten and shape it into a disc, leaving the centre thicker and rolling it thinner towards the edges. A good size would be between 10-11cm in diameter. Make sure the other dough pieces are covered so they will not dry out while you work on each one.
- Lay the disc on your palm and add 2 tbsp of filling at the centre. Pleat the edges to seal, and twist as needed, to close completely. Place it on top of a pre-cut parchment or baking paper. Repeat until the last bun is done. Note 3
- Cover the buns and leave to rest for 15-30 mins or until doubled in size. Place the buns at least 1 inch apart in the steamer and cook for 15 mins. Turn the heat off when done and leave the buns in the steamer for 3-5 mins before taking them out. Serve and enjoy.