Saturday, 12 April 2014

Liu Sha Bao aka salted egg custard bun

Ever since I had this in Singapore 2 years ago, I have been wanting to make this. So bought my salted eggs from the Chinese supermarket and here goes....

Trolled the internet for recipes and for the custard, it all seems the same, except for the buns. There were 2 recipes that caught my eye end decided to make both just to see what the difference was.

So here is my experiment and the results.

80g salted egg yolk (6 yolks)
110g caster sugar (I used icing sugar)
55g custard powder
55g full cream milk powder (I used 50 gm coconut paste)

60g coconut milk

20g corn starch (1 tablespoon)

110g butter, room temperature

Note: While getting all my ingredient ready to make the custard, I realised that I had run out of milk powder. How, how? While out shopping, I saw a new product (to me, that is). It said coconut powder (satchets of 50gms each). So I bought a packet to try and was I lucky to have it on hand. 

1. Some recipes call for steaming the salted eggs, but I just cooked them like you do for hard boiled eggs. Left the eggs in hot water for 10 mins.

2. Let the eggs cool and then separate the yolks from the whites and mash the yolks.
3. Next, In a mixing bowl, cream the butter slightly and mix in the rest of the ingredients.
Refrigerate the mixture until firm. Portion into balls and freeze till solid. 

Steam on high heat for 10 mins.

Recipe 1 - adapted from

Water Roux
Using water roux makes a difference to the texture of the bao.
25 gms flour
125 ml water

Whisk the water and flour together, sieve and gently cook (stirring all the time) till thicken like pouring custard. Cover and leave to cool.

0.75 tsp quick (instant) yeast
75 - 100ml water

1 portion of water roux as above
300g plain flour, all purpose or HK flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
15g cooking oil or melted lard
50 - 60g sugar
0.5 tsp salt

extra flour for dusting

  1. Mix the yeast with water and leave aside for about 10 - 15 minutes while the roux is cooling.
  2. Mix the water roux with yeast liquid, sugar, salt and oil.
  3. Sieve the flour and baking powder together.
  4. Either using a bread machine or mix by hand, mix the liquid with the dry ingredients together till combined. Add the last few tbsp of the liquid bit by bit, stop when a soft but not sticky dough is formed. Do not knead. Leave for 10 - 15 minutes. Then give it a quick knead till the dough is smooth, do not over knead. If the dough is very sticky add a bit more extra flour.
  5. Cover and leave to rise for about 1.5 - 2 hours at room temperature till dough is about 1.5 in size.
Recipe 2  - adapted from

Dough starter
300g hong kong flour
1 packet instant yeast = 2¼ teaspoons
2½ tablespoon sugar
125 mL full cream milk

1 portion of water roux

Add flour, yeast, sugar and water roux into a mixing bowl and pour the milk. Roughly incorporate water roux into the flour and set aside covered with damp tea towel for 15 mins to let the flour absorb the water.

Mix the flour mixture to a dough, add more milk or flour if required. The dough will be a bit sticky at first, knead until it's soft and smooth. It takes approximately 20-25 minutes depend on how you knead it. Coat a mixing bowl with oil. Place dough in a mixing bowl, cover the bowl with wet cloth or cling wrap and let the dough rest for 45 minutes or until it double in size.

When dough is double in size about 45 minutes, punch air out and knead into a ball. To maximize the flavor. Proof a second time round in the fridge left overnight.

Ingredients for bao
Dough starter (recipe above)
80g Hong Kong flour or plain flour
40g corn starch
3 tablespoon lard (I used butter)
½ teaspoon ammonium bicarbonate (I omitted as I did not have)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon white vinegar

1. Add all the ingredients to the dough starter. Knead well for 10 mins to form dough. 
2. When the dough is ready, divide into 10 portions. Meanwhile, set water to boil in a steamer.
3. You can either flatten the dough pieces with your hands or roll out the dough and use a cutter to cut rounds , and place a frozen custard filling ball in the center. Pinch up the sides of the dough to completely enclose the filling.
4. Place each bao on each paper cup liner or a small piece of baking paper with its seam sides down. Rest the bao in warm mist for 10-15 mins.
5. Steam baos for about 8-15 mins until done. The steam timing varies if you have multiple layers of baos to steam. The layer that is closest to the direct steam will take 8 mins to cook.

Beware! Please DO NOT over-steam!!! Otherwise, the custard filling will explode out of the bao.

Serve immediately but beware that the molten filling is steaming hot!

You can keep any unused filling in the freezer and use them anytime when you make any bao dough.

**Both recipes worked well for making the liu sha bao but recipe one was a bit soft. I had left over dough and made char siu baos and for that, recipe 1 did not work as it was soft and I could not get the pleats. Recipe 2 is a longer and more time consuming recipe but works well if you want to make char siu baos.

Liu sha baos before steaming

Liu Sha Baos cut with 2 doughs 

Char Siu baos with 2 doughs. The dough at 1 o'clock is mishappen as it was too soft to pleat

Cross section of char siu bao. Nice and fluffy

No comments: