The Kiwi Cook

Illusions and delusions of a foodie from Down Under


Siopao (Asian Filled Buns)

February 27, 2015

Asian Filled Buns_site

The February Daring Bakers’ challenge is hosted by Julie of One-Wall Kitchen. She challenged us to an easy, simple filled bun using no-knead dough.

What I love about The Daring Kitchen is that you get to make stuff that wouldn’t ordinarily be on your ‘must make’ list. You are challenged to explore national dishes from around the world, methods unknown to you, unfamiliar tastes. These buns definitely fall into that category for me. Take a bite into this beautifully soft bread bun and you find a delicious, still warm Asian-inspired meat and gravy filling.

Asian Filled Buns 2_site

This challenge proved enjoyable from start to finish – not too easy that it was a walk in the park, nor too daunting. The biggest challenge, of course, is keeping that pesky filling inside the bun. You wait anxiously by the oven as they cook, nervously looking for signs that the contents are finding tiny holes in the dough that you’ve overlooked and spilling out over the oven tray. When you get past that first 10 minutes of baking without a spill in sight, you feel ridiculously triumphant!

I’m so glad I tried these. While I generally avoid gluten-based products these days, they were a nice change to the usual lunch fare.

Asian Filled Buns Close-up_site


Servings: 12 large buns


  • 1/4 ounce (7g) (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1-1/2 cups (360 ml) warm water
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) salt
  • 4 to 5 cups (20 oz-25 oz) (560g-700g) all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 1 egg (for egg-wash)


  1. Mix yeast, water, sugar, melted butter, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Slowly mix in flour until it’s fully incorporated and you have a shaggy, very tacky dough, but not wet and sticky.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for up to an hour in warm place until doubled in volume.
  3. While dough is rising, you can make your filling (see directions below).
  4. When risen, punch down dough and turn out onto a floured surface. Depending on how much flour you added, it will be somewhat tacky to pretty tacky. Fold it over several times and shape it into a smooth ball, then divide into 12 equal pieces.
  5. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it into a disc about 6 inches (15 cm) wide.
  6. Place a heaping tablespoonful of filling into the center of the disc, wrap the dough around the filling, and firmly pinch it closed over the top of the filling.
  7. Place filled buns (pinched side down) on a baking sheet and loosely cover them with plastic wrap. Let them rest for 1 hour.
  8. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. Beat 1 egg in a small bowl for egg wash and brush on top of each bun.
  9. Bake buns for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.


12 servings


  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 lb (½ kg) ground pork or pork shoulder, cubed
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oyster sauce (or hoisin sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) sugar (optional)
  • 1 star anise
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon (10g) cornstarch (cornflour)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) cold water


  1. Heat oil in skillet (frypan). Saute yellow onion, then add garlic and cook for a minute.
  2. Add pork and brown it.
  3. Add soy sauce, oyster or hoisin sauce, sugar, and star anise and cook filling until pork is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  4. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Take out the star anise, wash and reuse.
  5. Place cornstarch and water into a small bowl and stir with fork or small whisk until cornstarch is dissolved.
  6. Stir cornstarch mixture into filling and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Then remove from heat and cool before making the filled buns.

Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting

Double Chocolate Madeleines

February 26, 2015


From the first moment I chanced upon the ever-so-cute cake tin with 12 tiny sea-shell molds, I just knew I had to make some Madeleines. Hailing from north-eastern France, Madeleines are pint-sized genoise sponges famously shaped like scallops. Soft and moist on the inside; ever so slightly crisp on the outside, these miniature cakes are a perfect tea-time treat served with, or dunked in, your favourite beverage.

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Cherry Clafoutis

February 17, 2015

Cherry clafoutis_site

I said to myself I’d had my fill of cherries this season but I just couldn’t resist buying one of the last remaining boxes. Which is just as well, because Cherry Clafoutis has been on my recipe hit-list for the longest time.

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Warm Duck Salad with Grilled Pear, Walnuts & Red Wine Vinaigrette

February 10, 2015

Duck Salad_site

Duck is a fairly new culinary experience for me. I think the first time I ate it was in Melbourne a couple of years ago – a confited (con-feed) duck leg which was slow cooked in its own fat. I savoured every mouthful of that dish I can tell you! Since then, I’ve wanted to try cooking duck myself, but have never really had the chance, a: because it’s so hard to find where I live and, b: because it’s so darned expensive.

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Burnt Honey & Yoghurt Panna Cotta with Apricots in Orange Blossom Syrup

February 8, 2015

Burnt Honey Panna Cotta_site

There’s something rather glorious about the flavours you find in Mediterranean cuisine. To those of us brought up on the standard ‘meat and three veg’ type meals, such flavours can truly be an eye-opener (or tastebud-opener, as the case may be).

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