Corner Café

July 28, 2008

Chicken Char Siew Pau (trial version) 雞肉叉燒包

Filed under: Dim Sum — SeaDragon @ 12:00 am
Tags: , , ,
Chicken_Char_Siew_Paus 03

Chicken_Char_Siew_Paus 05

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.



  1. seadragon

    thank you for sharing this great idea. I will try adding a starter to the premix and let you know how it goes

    Comment by lily ng — July 30, 2008 @ 3:10 am | Reply

  2. Hi SD,

    I’ve tried both the 3-day pau skin and tt’s basic pau skin recipes, but failed. The baos did not “smile”.

    Hope you can perfect yr recipe soon! 🙂

    Comment by Ida — August 3, 2008 @ 8:41 pm | Reply

  3. Lily,
    Oh good, will wait eagerly for your result.

    I’m going to wait a while before I attempt it again, as I’m planning to do more on Chinese pastry before the Autumn Festival. But since Lily is going to try the method also, let’s keep our fingers crossed for a successful result.

    Comment by SeaDragon — August 4, 2008 @ 9:34 pm | Reply

  4. SD:

    Ask your pharmacist to order it for you:

    Food grade ammonium bicarbonate

    Can you buy Red Lotus Special Flour (product of Thailand) from where you live??? This flour is excellent for making paus.

    Good luck


    Comment by PinkPanther — September 19, 2008 @ 3:09 am | Reply

  5. PinkPanther,
    Appreciate the useful info.

    I haven’t seen the Red Lotus Special Flour before, but will keep a lookout for it. Thanks.

    Comment by SeaDragon — September 19, 2008 @ 10:10 pm | Reply

  6. Hi SeaDragon,

    I would like to know if that pre-mixed bao flour is the same as Hong Kong flour? Please advise. Thanks (:

    Comment by Melissa — February 15, 2009 @ 4:40 pm | Reply

  7. Melissa,
    No, Hong Kong flour is pure flour, no other things added. The pre-mixed bao flour has raising agents and other additives added.

    Comment by SeaDragon — February 15, 2009 @ 5:30 pm | Reply

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