Most of my student life was spent in a Catholic all girls school. The nuns, along with the able staff cooked and baked all the food served in the canteen. The food that I like most was the asado bun, next to the siopao. They were practically the same except the buns were baked and the pao were steamed.
I clearly remembered how small they were, even when held by my little hands.
Asado buns are of Chinese origin. They are the Filipino version of the char siu buns served in Chinese bakeries and dimsum restaurants. Asado is the name of the filling which is a type of pork stew.
The buns may be filled with anything, sweet or savoury. I also made some
custard buns from the same bread dough which proved to be more popular with the kids.
Yield: about 20 buns
1 1/4 c. milk
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. melted butter
2 tsps. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 - 4 c. plain flour
1 egg yolk for glazing
Heat the milk until lukewarm. Pour into a large mixing bowl and mix in the melted butter, sugar and yeast. Leave for 15 minutes.
Stir in the egg and salt to the yeast mixture. Gradually add the flour while mixing until a medium soft dough is obtained. You may not need to add the full amount of flour. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, cover and leave to rise in a warm place until double in bulk (about 1 1/2 hours).
Prepare the filling.
Punch down the dough and make approximately 50 gm. balls. Flatten each piece and fill with a heaping tablespoonful of filling. Gather the edges and seal well. Put on a cupcake case, sealed side down. Arrange on a baking tray and cover loosely. Leave to rise until again double in bulk.
Glaze the tops with egg yolk and bake in a preheated 350° F / 180° C oven for 15 to 20 minutes until puffed up and browned.
For the Char Siu Filling:
1 1/4 c. water
2 1/2 tbsps. sherry
5 tbsps. brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. oyster sauce
1 1/2 tsps. sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsps. corn flour plus 2 tbsps. water
Put the diced char siu and the water in a pan and bring to a boil. Add the sherry, sugar and oyster sauce. Simmer for five minutes. Mix the corn flour with the water and add to the pan while stirring to thicken the sauce. Add the sesame oil. Simmer for 2 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl, leave to cool at room temperature, then refrigerate to cool and set. Use to fill the buns.
Note: You can also use asado filling by following this asado recipe. Just chop the cooked pork, add some sauce and thicken with corn flour slurry.
For the custard recipe, see here.
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