Siopao (Steamed meat bun)

My kids absolutely LOVE it when I come home from the Asian market with siopao!  The only problem is that they devour them in a day and to keep my freezer stocked with siopao would be rather pricey at the rate they eat them.  So I have begun making them myself!
At first this seemed like a daunting task.  I didn’t have a steamer.  Which kind should I img_2658buy?  A traditional bamboo steamer?  Or maybe an all in one electronic steamer?  In the end I decided to go with the traditional bamboo steamer because the bamboo steamer infuses the food with an authentic flavor you can’t get with a plastic electric steamer.
To make the siopao the traditional way is with pork.  I decided to use chicken breast instead since I can get it cheaper and it’s healthier, and honestly once the chicken is mixed with the sauce you can’t really tell the difference anyway!
Ingredients
Dough:
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 cup water
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
4 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3 cups flour
Chicken Filling
3 Tbsp Oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 sweet yellow onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
4 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
2-3 lbs chicken, cut into small pieces
Directions:
1.  You can use a mixer or bread maker to mix the dough.  If you don’t have either you can also make it old school. For a bread maker add the ingredients according to your manual and select the dough option.
a. First dissolve sugar in water.
b. Add yeast to sugar water and wait about 10-15 minutes.
c. Combine in a separate bowl flour and baking powder.
d. Add yeast mixture and oil to the flour mixture.
e. Mix until it becomes a dough.
f. Turn dough out onto a lightly, very lightly, floured surface and kneed a few minutes until it becomes elastic.
g. Place dough in a well greased bowl and cover and allow to rise for 1 hour.
2.  While the dough rises make the chicken filling.
3.  Add oil to a sauce pan and allow to heat.
4.  Add garlic and onion and saute for a few minutes until fragrant.
5.  Add chicken to the garlic and onion and cook until browned.  Remember the larger the chicken pieces the longer it will take to fully cook.
6.  Add soy sauce, sugar, and hoisin sauce and cook for about 5 minutes.
7.  Use a potato masher to break the chicken down into even smaller pieces if you would rather your filling not be large chunks of meat.
8.  Add the water and cornstarch mixture and cook only for a minutes while it thickens.  Remove from heat.
Now comes the part where the siopao are assembled!  It is actually rather simple although it seems tricky!
1.  You will want to take your dough and divide it into 8 even portions.
2.  Take one portion at a time and flatten it in your hand.
3.  Next you will take some of the chicken mixture and spoon it into the center of the dough in your hand.  Be careful not to over fill because it will be difficult to close if there is too much filling.
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4.  Next you will take ends on the opposite side of each other of the dough and bring them together. When I do this I twist the dough in a slight clockwise direction to help it stay sealed. At this point take bits of the dough and twist it in slightly to the top of the dough that is already closed.
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5.  Now you will want to place your siopao in your steamer.  If using a bamboo steamer remember to put down your parchment first so the siopao do not stick to the bamboo.
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6.  Steam for 15-20 minutes
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