It has been very difficult to buy baking ammonia (臭粉) here recently, in fact the past two years or so. I have looked around most larger Asian supermarkets, but none of them seems to be carrying it as stock anymore. So it is now impossible to make any snacks that require baking ammonia like char siew pau.
I have used the Vietnamese pre-mixed pau flour (see picture below) to make char siew paus and other paus before, although soft and slightly glutinous in taste, but because no yeast is used, the paus are not as fluffy. However, one good thing about using that pre-mixed flour is that the paus are all snowy white, so there’s no need to go around searching for the Hong Kong flour (sold here in Australia as super white flour but always in large quantity). In searching for an alternative, I decided to try adding a yeast dough to the pre-mixed flour and see if it can be done.
So here they are, my trial version of the Chicken Char Siew Paus. Since I used plain flour to make my yeast starter dough, the resultant paus are slightly yellowish in colour. Next time, I might try using cake flour to make the yeast starter dough and see if there will be any improvement.
I’m actually quite happy with the result, the paus were fluffy and soft, although they didn’t split as much as desired. This could be due to my adding a bit too much water during the mixing of the main dough. The dough was quite sticky to knead, so I should be more careful in not over adding the water next time, hopefully a dryer dough should allow for a more distinct split in the pastry.