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Monday, February 21, 2011


Siopao is another food of Chinese origin that became a favorite snack in the Philippines. It refers to steamed buns with meat filling. There are two common siopao varieties in the Philippines: Asado and Bola-Bola. Asado can be chicken or pork with sweet thick sauce while bola-bola or meatball can be beef or pork.

Siopao is one my husband’s favorite snacks. He said he loves siopao because his mom ate a lot of it when she was pregnant with him and he even has a white birthmark near his right knee which looks like a siopao. He has been asking me to cook siopao for him, so I’ve been trying to find the perfect recipe. Finally, I found one at Panlasang Pinoy which seems good, and I got the chance to try it last Friday. I made adjustments to the recipe though! Instead of all-purpose flour, I use bread flour. I was thinking that bread flour would make it fluffier, and I was right! I also added some ingredients to the filling so it would taste like the siopao I remember from Ma Mon Luk and Kowloon House. 

This is my first time to make siopao…and I am so happy that it turned out almost perfect. I said “almost” for 2 reasons. First, I am not satisfied with how they look. It looks ok compared to other siopao I’ve seen here in the US but not as good as the ones from the Philippines. It’s my first time so I guess I just have to practice how to beautifully lock the dough after filling it. I like the twisting way of locking it and I just have to learn to do that perfectly. Second, I didn't have parchment paper so I used wax paper. I don't know why but we had a hard time taking it off from the siopao. But the siopao tasted really good and the texture of the buns was awesome!
I’m so excited to share this recipe with you! It takes time to prepare but I’m telling you, it’s all worth it!

*I shared this on Let's Break Bread Together, and Made It On Monday.


  • 5 cups bread flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 ½ tbsp sugar (for yeast mixture)
  • 1 pouch dry yeast (0.25 oz)
  • 1 ¼ Tbsp baking powder
  • 6 tbsp shortening
Bola-Bola Filling:
  • 1 1/2cups ground pork
  • 1/4 cup shrimps, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onions
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Blackpepper
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 raw egg
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 3 pcs chorizo, cut into 1 inch length
  • 3pcs. hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered crosswise
Asado Filling:
  • 2 cups pork, chopped into small pieces
  • 3 Tbsp shortening
  • 1/8 cup garlic, minced
  • ½ cup onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch, dissolved in 3 Tbsp water
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
  • ¼ tsp blackpepper
  • 3 pcs. hard boiled egg, peeled and quartered crosswise

Siopao Sauce:
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup onions, minced
  • 1/8 cup garlic, minced
  • 5 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp water
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 pcs star anise
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
For the dough:
1. In a bowl, mix yeast and sugar in warm water.  Leave the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes. Bubbles should have formed on top by then.
2. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, shortening and the yeast mixture to form the dough.
3. Knead the dough until you attain a smooth texture. Shape in a ball, put back  in the mixing bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside and allow to rise for about 1½ hrs. The dough will rise to about double the original size.
4. While waiting for the dough to rise, cook the filling.
For Bola-Bola: 
1. Put all ingredients in a bowl except chorizo and hard boiled eggs . Mix well. 
2. Flatten 1½ Tbsp of the meat mixture on a plate then put a piece of chorizo and egg in the middle. Put 1 Tbsp of the meat mixture on top.
3. Shape into a ball.
4. In a pot of boling water, cook the meat balls. About 2 minutes after they float, remove from pot and transfer to a plate with paper towel. Set aside until the dough is ready for filling.

Note: In all the recipes I've seen, they don't cook the meatballs. They fill the dough with uncooked meatballs and just let it cook during steaming. I opted to cook them first in boiling water.
For Asado:
1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the shortening.
2. Saute the garlic and onions until the onion is almost translucent.
3. Add the pork and stir-fry until light brown. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, and sugar then mix well. Simmer until pork is tender, about 30 minutes depending on the toughness of the pork. Add water if necessary. 
4. Add the cornstarch and mix until the sauce thickens.
5. Remove from heat and allow to cool down. Remove excess oil by straining. Set aside until the dough is ready for filling.

5. Continue making the dough. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Knead the dough again. Form a 2-inch diameter log.

6. Cut into 1 inch thick slices. Flatten each dough with a rolling pin to form a flat round shape dough.
7. Put the filling on the middle of the flattened dough. For asado, I used 2 Tbsp filling for each bun.

8. Gather and pull the edges up.

9. Twist the top to fully cover the filling. Cut 2½-inch square parchment or wax paper and use this to line the bottom of each bun. Place the siopao in a steamer. Make sure that there’s 1 to 2-inch space in between bun. Steam for 15 minutes. Be sure to put a cloth under the cover to avoid water from dripping to the buns.

Note: I was able to make 12 asado and 12 bola-bola siopao for the amount of ingredients above. If you are to make all asado or all bola-bola siopao for the same amount of dough, double the amount of filling ingredients. If you are making both asado and bola-bola, you might want to put colored dots on top so you'll know which is which. I used red for asado and yellow for bola-bola.

10. Transfer siopao to a plate and serve hot with sauce!

For the sauce: 
1.In a saucepan over medium heat, mix water, garlic and onions. 
2. Add soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, and star anise. Simmer for 10 minutes. 3. Remove from heat. Remove star anise, garlic and onions using a strainer. 
4. Return sauce to pan over medium low heat and bring to a boil again. Add the vegetable oil and the dissolved cornstarch and keep on stirring until sauce becomes thick. 
5. Remove from heat and allow to cool down before transferring to a bowl or a sauce container.
Note: If you want to store left-over siopao, wrap each bun with a cling plastic wrap. Put in a freezer bag and freeze. Cover with wet paper towel and heat in microwave before serving.