I bet you have never seen bun with such an unique shape. It is another type of lotus leaves bun. I have been holding this recipe for quite a while. The time when I was given the recipe, I have tried once but it was not as satisfactory and I do not have all the ingredients to make the recipe complete.
This is a Zhaoan (诏安） aka Chawan auspicious dessert. I did not know that it is in existence until recently. Sarawak Chawan members are asking me for the recipe. I thought it is the normal lotus leaves bun but they said it is not. They disclosed that it is a sweet treat usually served at Chawan weddings in East Malaysia. I have never tasted or heard of it before, therefore this cuisine must be have been disappear for at least 50 years. Now, if you want to try it, you must have a bit luck at functions hosted by the Chawan Association.
Somehow, certain Chawan members in Miri and Kuching has a chance to share the recipe with some newspapers and TV stations and that made it possible for me to locate the recipe and blog here today for record purposes.
This is a special shaped bun. There is an external sweet fillings that comes with the bun. The name of the bun is Ho Hup Bao （和合包）or literally translated as “harmonious bun” and it was usually served during weddings in the olden days. Such practise has been confirmed in the China Zhaoan website.
This traditional bun also come with a story. Once a chef had misunderstood that her wife had had an affair with some third party and chased her away from the house. Her wife, madam Sim was very upset and swore that she would never return to the house unless the lotus leaves at her house were higher than the fence of the house. Subsequently, the chef realised that he had misunderstood her wife and become very apologetic wanted his wife to come back to the house. To show his apology, he prepared some lotus leave shape buns with some sweet fillings and placed it on the window of her wife with the hope that her wife would accept her apology. Her wife knew that it was his husband’s apology but refuse to accept the apology. She threw the buns away. From that day onwards, her husband prepared same buns everyday and placed the buns on the window. His wife kept throwing the buns until the accumulated buns was higher than the wall and she was convinced that the husband is apologetic of his wrong doing. She agreed to reconcile and followed the chef back to the house. As such, the buns implied an auspicious meaning of reconciliation and harmony.
This recipe was prepared based on two sources, one is Ms. Patricia Ho’s appearance in the Astro Hua Hee station (Channel 333) when she introduced Chawan smoked duck and ho hup bao to the audience.
Another sources is the Mr. 诏安’s demonstration of how to make the buns in a special edition of Sin Chew Jit Poh dated January 27, 2016 and I want to take this opportunity to thank both of them of sharing the recipe.
I am not very satisfy with my shaping and I think it can be further improved. I think my version is a bit too small and thick and I will prepare again and upload new pictures.
As for the fillings, this is the traditional sweet fillings but for readers, you can always used savoury fillings such as in the picture below. If you need a recipe for these savoury sweet filling, you can refer to this post: Taiwanese Traditional Mung Meat Minced Meat Moon Cake (台湾古早味月饼：绿豆椪）
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: About 20-30 Ho Hup Bao depending on size
Candied Pork Belly
- 400 grams of pork belly
- Some wine with alcoholic content of more than 40%
- 100 grams of sugar
* You can always prepare more of the the above candied pork belly. It is a preserved item and can be keep very long in the fridge.
* Some recipe called for the use of pork neck meat in the fresh form and therefore, you can just use 400 grams of pork neck meat and ignore other ingredients
Buns Sweet Fillings
- 500 grams of candied pork belly (晶肉， 糖白肉 or 冰肉） – refer to the above
- 80 grams of candied orange peel (桔饼）
- 100 grams of toasted white sesame seeds (白芝麻）
- 80 grams of candied winter melon (糖冬瓜）
- 500 grams of plain flour or pao flour
- 8 grams of instant yeast
- 400 grams of plain water
- 100 grams of white sugar
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Cook the pork belly in a pot of hot boiling water for about 5-10 minutes. Timing will depend on the thickness of the pork belly. Drain and let it cool. Once completely cooled, cut the cooked belly into 0.5mm – 1 mm cubes. Put adequate rice wine to cover it and about 50 grams of sugar. Marinate the cooked pork belly in the chiller for at least 24 hours. If it is too wet, just put everything in a hot wok, stir fry for a few minutes for the syrup to thicken. The meat will become transparent and once it cools, sugar will recrystallize.
- Note: You can also use pork neck meat, cut into small pieces, water blanched until cooked if you do not prefer the pork belly version.
- In a hot wok, add the candied pork belly, orange peel and candied winter melon. Give it a quick stir of 2-3 minutes until the ingredients are well incorporated. Add the sesame seeds before dishing up.
- If you are not using candied pork belly and using the fresh pork neck meat, you will have to add 1-2 tablespoons in the stir frying.
- In a big mixing bowl, put the flour and instant yeast. Stir until well mixed and make a well in the centre. Add the water gradually and use a pair of chopstick to stir it until it forms a sticky dough. Lightly dust your hand with some flour, use you hand to knead the dough until it become a smooth dough. It is considered as done if the dough looks smooth and does not stick to your hand and the bowl. Cover with a clingy wrap and let it proof until double in size.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, punch out the air and pinch dough of about 30-40 grams. Lightly shape the dough ball and let it rest for 5 minutes before proceeding.
- After 5 minutes, take a dough ball, lightly flatten it, use a rolling pin to roll it to about 8 cm diameter circle. Brush the surface with some cooking oil. Put the dough on your hand, fold half and become a semi circle. Let the dough falls through your finger and tighten it. It should come out with an oyster shaped dough.
- Transfer the shaped dough to a small piece of baking paper and placed on the steaming tray. Let it proof for about 10-15 minutes before steaming at high heat for 10 minutes. Once the steaming is done, lightly open the steamer lid to let the hot air escape. Let the buns rest in the steamer for at least 5 minutes before fully open the lid and transfer to a rack for cooling.
- For serving, put the filling in the bowl surrounded by the buns. Guest will put their desired quantity of filling into the buns.
For shaping, you can use your own way of shaping such as by folding using your fingers. Experience shows that the thinner and the bigger it is , the easier it facilitate filling.
I knew not many people will try this recipe and I purely blog for records. Remember if you are interested in the shaped buns you can always have savoury filling. Thanks for taking your time to understand Zhao an culture .
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