Homemade Siopao Asado recipe is easy and fun to make! With a sweet and savory meat filling and soft and fluffy bread, these steamed buns are just as good or even better than store-bought. Plus learn the tips on how to make the buns pearly white!
If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you probably saw the photo I posted of my sorry attempt on siopao making. The buns below? #majorfail. They were so hard and dense they would have put down Goliath to sleep.
I usually use refrigerated biscuits to cheat my way to a delicious siopao treat but I wanted to up my game and learn how to make the dough the “authentic” way. It was easy enough to tweak the asado filling to get the right balance of sweet and salty I wanted but the bun itself proved more difficult.
I tried the many different variations I found online but I just couldn’t find the texture I was looking for. I was ready to throw in my white towel when I found this Vietnamese steamed bun on Youtube and it looked promising enough to get me back on my siopao quest.
And the recipe was indeed spot on. The buns came out soft, fluffy and pearly white; just the way I like it!
Tips on How to Make Siopao
- Please note that the amounts for the flour and sugar in the dough recipe are in weight and not volume (grams vs cups). I suggest using a kitchen scale to ensure accurate measurements and a more consistent product.
- Add a few drops of lime juice into the flour mixture to help whiten the buns.
- Add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar to the steaming water which is again for whiter siopao.
- Wax or parchment paper, cut into 4 x 4-inch squares
For the Asado Filling
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 pound pork butt or shoulder, cut into large chunks
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 star anise
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the Siopao Dough
- 260 ml warm milk (40-60 C)
- 2 teaspoons dry instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 500 grams all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 100 grams sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the Siopao Filling
- In a pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened.
- Add pork and cook, turning as needed, until lightly browned.
- Add 2 cups of the water, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and star anise. Stir until well-dispersed. Bring to a boil, skimming scum that may float on top.
- Lower heat, cover, and continue to cook for about 1 hour or until meat is fork tender. You will have about 1 1/2 cups of liquid left in the pot. With a slotted spoon, remove pork from pot and let cool to touch. Using two forks, shred meat.
- Remove about 1 cup of the braising liquid and set aside. Return shredded meat to pot and bring to a boil.
- In a bowl, combine cornstarch and the remaining 1/4 cup water. Stir until smooth and cornstarch is dissolved. Add half of the cornstarch slurry to the pot of meat and stir to distribute. Continue to cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from pan and allow to cool.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the reserved 1 cup braising liquid and the remaining half of the cornstarch slurry. Bring to a boil, stirring regularly, for about 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened. This well be the siopao sauce.
For the Siopao Dough
- In a bowl, combine milk, yeast, the 2 tablespoons sugar and salt. Stir well until dissolved. Let stand for about 5 to 10 minutes or until mixture is foamy.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, the 100 grams sugar, baking powder, and vegetable oil, Mix well. Add a few drops of lime juice into the flour mixture (to make the buns whiter).
- Add yeast mixture to the flour mixture. Mix together until it forms a dough. Continue to mix and knead until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.
- Cover with a plastic film and allow to rise in a warm place for about 2 hours or until double in size.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a clean work surface, and form into a long log.
- With a knife, cut the dough into 10 equal size pieces and then form each piece into smaller balls. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and allow to rise for about 30 minutes.
To assemble Siopao Buns
- On a clean working surface, place one piece of dough, and with a rolling pin, roll out, making sure to get edges thinner than the center, into a flat disk. Place about a tablespoon of the meat filling in the center.
- Gather the edges of the dough around the filling and gently twist to fully secure filling. Place bun on a piece of parchment or wax paper. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
- Arrange prepared buns in a single layer on a flat baking sheet, cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise again for another 10 minutes.
- In a steamer, place buns in a single layer. Add about 2 tablespoons of vinegar to the steaming water (for whiter buns).
- Steam buns for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove buns from steamer. Serve hot with asado sauce.