Same thing as Char Siu pork but chopped into small pieces and cooked on the stove, not skewered and roasted as done traditionally.
It only means that I have availed a faster way to cook the pork using some common char siu ingredients, such as soy sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, Chinese Shaoxing wine, and Chinese five-spice powder.
SWEET, SALTY, AND STICKY PORK
The pork is packed with complex flavours owing to these ingredients. It is aromatic, sweet, salty, and sticky – a distinct taste I love about Chinese BBQ pork.
And this is what I’ve used to recreate the famous Tim Ho Wan pork buns, a dish not to be missed from this Michelin star dim sum restaurant.
FLUFFY, CRUMBLY, AND SWEET BUN
As far as my memory takes me, I immediately got curious about the look, texture, and taste of these baked buns. The tasty pork was wrapped inside the soft, fluffy bun with a slightly crumbly and sweet exterior. It was like no other. And it was one thing that sets it apart from other pork buns.
Thanks to my mother-in-law, a foodie herself, who took us to Tim Ho Wan restaurant in Manila some years back and had us wowed by these spectacular pork buns. It was impossible to forget.
Enough said. Let’s make it!
THREE THINGS TO DO
You need to do three things: The dough, the filling, and the topping. Yes, there are three parts to it, and it will be great to plan and make it when you have time to burn.
It will be worth it and you have all the reason to be excited!
I found a recipe hack by Pepper.Ph and used that to make the dough and the topping, and I got great results!
Although, there was a slight adjustment to the dough since mine turned out very sticky. To correct that, I gradually added more flour, about 2 tbsp, during the kneading process.
- 1 tsp yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp milk
- 2 cups flour (plus 2 tbsp flour or more, if the dough is too sticky)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp butter, softened
For the instructions, go to Tim Ho Wan-Inspired Pork Buns Recipe by Pepper.Ph
The recipe below is more than enough for 16 pieces of pork buns. So, you might ask what to do with the extra. And I’ll say make another batch of pork buns! Or have it with bread or as a rice topping. It tastes so good you can have it with anything you like.
- Pork belly – a tender cut of pork and best for a short cooking time
- Soy sauce – provides moderate umami to the dish
- Hoisin sauce – dark in colour and thick in consistency and has a salty and slightly sweet flavour
- Oyster sauce – has a syrupy texture, earthy, slightly sweet, and salty
- Chinese Shaoxing wine – adds depth and complexity; can sub with sherry or rice wine
- Sugar – adds balance and helps in caramelisation
- Chinese five-spice powder – intense but has sweet and warming flavours; usually consists of cinnamon, fennel seed, star anise, cloves, and peppers
For the topping, you will need the following ingredients (as written on pepper.ph).
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup plain flour (all-purpose flour)
- 2 tbsp cornstarch (cornflour)
- 2 eggs
- 4 tbsp water
To make it, whisk the butter and powdered sugar together until pale and fluffy. Then, add the remaining ingredients and whisk again until well combined.
For detailed instructions, please see Pepper.Ph (link provided above).
Just a quick note, you might not consume all the topping and if you’ll ask me what to do with it, I suggest baking it as it is!
Here’s what I did with mine: I spread it thinly on a sheet pan using a piping bag and baked it until the edges turned golden. It tasted like butter biscuits and reminded me of Lengua de Gato. What a happy surprise!
AT A GLANCE – How To Make Tim Ho Wan-Style Pork Buns
There you have it. I hope these sensational pork buns will delight you, too. I know it’s not easy to make but it’s doable!
How To Make Chinese BBQ Pork
Chinese BBQ Pork
- 750 grams pork belly, sliced into small pieces
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp Chinese Shaoxing wine Can sub with sherry or rice wine
- 2 tbsp sugar (white or brown)
- ¼ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp cornstarch (cornflour)
- 2 tbsp water
- Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook until its colour changes from pink to light brown.
- Add soy sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine, sugar, and five-spice powder. Stir and mix to combine. Then add one cup of water.
- Cover and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until pork is tender. Stir occasionally and check if it needs a little bit more water. Meanwhile, make the slurry by mixing 1 tbsp of cornstarch and 2 tbsp of water.
- Add the slurry, stir well, and cook until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and let it cool.