Char Siu (叉燒) Barbecue Style Buns with Cucumber Salad


DSC03189Char Siu 叉燒 Barbecue Style Buns with Cucumber Salad

This is a labor intensive recipe that takes time to prepare, but it is well worth the effort. These bao little sandwiches are stuffed with everything imaginable: sweet and tangy and hot chili spiced sauces and lacquered, sticky, Chinese-style roasted meat, char siu pork. These barbecued Chinese pork baos can be served with the perfect accompaniment of rice and a Thai style cucumber and peanut salad.

For the Pulled Pork:
2 Onions (sliced)
4 cloves Garlic , smashed
1 4-5 pound Pork Shoulder
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon cumin
3 Tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 cups water

1. In a slow cooker, create a bed of onions and garlic. Season the pork shoulder generously with salt and pepper. In a large cast iron skillet, sear the pork on all sides and transfer to slow cooker. Deglaze the pan with water, scraping up brown bits. Pour contents of the skillet into the slow cooker. Add the sugar, chili powder, cumin, fish sauce and water and cover. Cook the pork on low for 4 to 6 hours. Shred the pork and transfer to a clean container with some of the cooking liquid. Set aside.

For the Char Siu Sauce:
1teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 Tablespoons light soy sauce
1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce
1/2 Tablespoon bean paste
3 Tablespoons honey
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 fresh chili pepper, minced (optional)
1 green onion, chopped

1. In a large bowl, whisk together rice wine vinegar, sugar, Chinese 5 spice powder, white pepper, soy sauce, bean paste, and honey.

2. Heat a wok or large saute pan over medium low heat. Add the garlic, ginger, chiles (if using) and green onion. Saute for 30 seconds until fragrant. Pour the char siu sauce into the pan. Add the pulled pork to the wok and let simmer for 10 minutes.

For the Chili Sauce:
1 stalk green onion, minced
1 fresh chili, minced or sliced very thinly
1 teaspoon rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cooking oil
3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
Kimchi, optional
3 cups steamed rice, for serving

Place the green onion, chili, vinegar and salt in a small heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cooking oil until smoking, remove from heat and immediately pour on top of the green onion mixture. Use caution, the oil will bubble and crackle.

For the Quick and Easy Chinese Steamed Buns:
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour for dusting work surface
2 cans Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuit dough
1/4 cup canola oil
20 parchment squares (about 4?x4?)

Yields 20 Buns

1. Dust the work surface with the flour. Open the can of dough. There are 10 biscuits in each can. Separate out the biscuits. Keep the dough covered loosely with plastic wrap or a towel. Lightly dusting the work surface, your hands, and rolling pin, roll out one (1) piece of dough into an oval. Pat oval between your palms to remove excess flour, then brush half of oval lightly with oil and fold in half crosswise (do not pinch). Place bun on a square of parchment paper on a large baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap.Keep covered until ready to steam. Repeat the process with the second can of dough.

2. Prepare steamer. Place five to six buns on a heat proof plate.You will need to steam the buns in batches, to avoid overcrowding the plate while steaming and preventing the buns from sticking to each other. Steam the buns for 12 minutes.

For the Cucumber Salad:
2 English Cucumbers
2 Tablespoons peanuts
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 Tablespoon sugar
Salt, to taste

Rinse cucumber and thinly slice. Roughly chop the peanuts. In a medium bowl, toss cucumber with rive wine vinegar, sugar and salt. Set aside to marinate at room temperature.

To serve, carefully open each bun, spread a bit of hoisin sauce on the bottom of the bun. Add pulled pork and top with the chili sauce. For bit Vietnamese flair, add a bit of kimchi if desired. Drain cucumber and top with peanuts and serve a bowl of steamed rice on the side.

For another flavorful version of Char Siu, check out this link:


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