Siopao Bola-Bola

Siopao Bola Bola are a delicious and filling treats you’d want to keep on hand! Soft, fluffy, and stuffed with a meaty and flavorful pork meatball filling, salted eggs, and Chinese sausage, these Filipino-style steamed buns are sure to satisfy appetites.

Hi everyone! I’m Sanna, and I’m back again with another special recipe for you.

If you love Lalaine’s Siopao Asado, you’ll fall for this Siopao bola-bola just as much. The recipe uses her trusted and tested siopao dough, but we’re kicking things up with super juicy and tasty meatball filling that’s sure to hit the spot.

These steamed buns are hearty, tasty, and portable for any time you need a power boost. Plus, they’re perfectly freezable for anytime cravings!

Bola-bola filling

Steamed buns can be made with various fillings ranging from sweet to savory, but the two most popular in Filipino cuisine are shredded pork Asado and bola-bola which we’ll be using in this recipe.

  • The minced pork filling is made extra flavorful with chopped shrimp and green onions as well as sesame oil and oyster sauce for a delicious kick of Asian flavor. To make the bola-bola even more special, we’re also adding slices of Chinese sausage and salted eggs. Truly delicious!
  • In a medium bowl, combine ground pork, chopped shrimp, green onions, green onions, sesame oil, salt, and pepper. Stir until well-distributed.
  • In a small bowl, stir the cornstarch and water to make a slurry and add to the pork mixture. The cornstarch not only binds the minced meat but also helps keep it moist and tender.
  • Using a pair of chopsticks or a fork, stir the meat mixture in one direction until well-combined and very sticky. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate until ready to use.

Steamed bun dough

  • For a more consistent product, I suggest using a weighing scale to measure the flour and sugar.
  • In a small bowl, combine the warm milk, yeast, sugar, and salt. Mix well and let stand for about 5 to 10 minutes or until foamy. This step is to “prove” the yeast is alive and active.
  • Make sure the temperature of the milk is at 105 to 115 F . If the milk is not warm enough, it might not activate the yeast. Too hot and it might kill the yeast.
  • If you don’t have a thermometer, use the wrist test. If the milk feels very warm on your wrist, it’s perfect for the yeast.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, the rest of the sugar, and baking powder. Stir until well-incorporated.
  • Add the oil and squeeze a few drops of lime juice into the flour mixture to help whiten the bao.
  • Add the yeast mixture and using a wooden spoon or spatula, combine the ingredients until a soft dough forms.
  • In the bowl, knead the dough for about 10 to 12 minutes or until smooth, elastic, and non-sticky. Make sure to adequately knead the dough to ensure a shiny, smooth steamed bun without wrinkling or dimpling.
  • Shape the dough into a ball, cover with plastic film or a clean kitchen towel and let rest until doubled in size. It might take about 2 to 2 ½ hours depending on the ambient temperature.

Siopao assembly

  • Turn the risen dough out on a clean working board. Shape it into a log and cut into ten equal portions. You can also use a weighing scale for uniform size.
  • Shape each portion into a ball and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes or until puffy.
  • To form into a circle, roll the rolling pin along the edges of the dough going outwards, leaving the center thicker than the sides. The “bulge” in the center will prevent the filling from leaking and help the bao steam into a round, heaped shape.
  • Place about two tablespoons of filling in the center of the dough. Spoon the mixture loosely and do NOT form into a ball as this will make it dense.
  • Add one-quarter of salted egg and a one-inch slice of Chinese sausage (lap cheong) in the center of the filling for extra flavor. You can also use regular hardboiled eggs or quail eggs in place of the itlog na maalat and hot dogs or Vienna sausage instead of the lap cheong.
  • Gather the edges of the dough and make pleats around the filling. Twist and press the ends together at the top of the siopao bun to seal. Repeat the process with the rest of the portions.
  • Place each assembled bun on pre-cut pieces of parchment or wax paper and arrange them in a single layer on a baking tray. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar to the steaming water to help whiten the steamed buns.
  • Arrange the buns in a single layer, about 1-inch apart in a steamer and steam for about 15 to 20 minutes. Steam on LOW heat to keep the buns from collapsing or deflating.
  • After steaming, keep the lid on for about 3 to 5 minutes to prevent the siopao from deflating.
  • Remove from steamer and serve with the sauce. Be careful as the filling may be too hot!

Asado sauce

Siopao bola-bola are amazing on their own, but this sweet and savory sauce will kick them up a notch!

  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch

In a saucepan, combine water, sugar, soy sauce, minced garlic, star anise, and cornstarch. Stir until well-distributed. Cook over medium heat, whisking regularly until thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool before transferring to an airtight container.

How to store

  • Steamed pork buns will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • To freeze, arrange in a single layer with space in between, cover with plastic film, and place in the freezer until firm. When hard, transfer to a resealable bag or an airtight container. This method will ensure that the buns will not stick together when frozen.
  • To reheat, thaw the siopao and steam for about 3 to 5 minutes or until completely heated through.

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