This recipe is a must for when you are camping in the colder months. Not only will these warm your soul, but you’ll be sure to make new friends with little beauties around the campfire.
Don’t be put off by the amount of prep work to get these ready. The filling is easily prepared prior to your adventure and, once made up, travels well – refrigerated properly, of course. All you’re left to do is place your bamboo steamer into your cooking pot, pour some water into the base, and in 15 to 20 minutes you’ll be cracking open the wonderfully soft and fluffy sweet bread filled with the aromas of the sticky pork filling.
Pass the beer…stat.
What you need…
A Dutch oven (camp oven)
Bamboo steamer – that fits in the oven
You can also place the steamer over a wok using the burner on your barbeque or gas stove
For the dough
2.5 tsp dried yeast
2 tbsp caster sugar
2.5 cups plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
For the pork filling
300g finely diced pork
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornflour
2 tbsp tomato sauce
What to do with it
Place the sauces, wine, and sugar In a saucepan/camp oven/frypan – depending on whether you’re making at home or at your destination – and mix well. Bring it to a simmer over a medium heat source for approximately 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce has slightly thickened.
Whisk the cornflour with about a tbsp of water. Once combined, add this to the sauce and stir for a further few mins until the sauce is thick and smooth.
Remove it from the heat, add the sesame oil and chopped pork, and you’re done.
Cover the mixture and set aside in the fridge (or esky) until required.
Okay, this can be a little bit tricky, but it’s definitely worth the time and effort.
Mix together the yeast with 3/4 cup of warm (not hot) water to kick start the activation process.
Add 2 tsp of the caster sugar, mix well and place it to the side in a warm place for 10-15 mins. It should start to show signs of bubbling or foaming.
Mix the remaining caster sugar, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and stir until it is all well combined. Pour into the yeast mixture and add the oil. Continue to mix until a stiff dough is formed. You might need to add a little more warm water if the dough becomes too stiff.
Continue to mix until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky. Take the dough out and lightly knead before covering in plastic and placing it in a warm spot to rest for an hour or so.
Once rested, take the dough and knead it lightly on a slightly floured bench.
Roll the dough into a thick log – approximately 5 cm thick – and cut into about 15 equal pieces of dough.
Putting it all together
Take a piece of the prepared dough and roll it out until you have about a 10cm diameter circle.
Place the dough into your opened hand and spoon into the centre about a tbsp of the filling.
Fold the dough over the filling and bring it together at the top. Twist the top to seal. Don’t worry about how pretty (or otherwise) it looks.
Place the bun on a piece of baking paper and cut to be slightly larger than the bun. Cut enough paper for all your remaining buns and repeat.
Place all buns (including the baking paper) into a bamboo steamer spacing them about 5cms apart, and cover with the steamer lid.
Place the bamboo steamer into your camp oven/pot/wok, add water – to just below the first layer of buns – and steam over a high heat source for 15 to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on your water level so it does not completely evaporate.