Total time: About 15 minutes, plus cooling time
Servings: Makes about 1 1/3 cups filling
Note: For spectacular buns, make this filling with homemade char siu, or barbecue pork. The filling can easily be made using store-bought char siu, available at Chinese restaurants and many Chinese markets, as well as at Trader Joe's (labeled "Chinese-style pork"). Shaoxing rice wine is available at Chinese and most Asian markets. If you use store-bought pork, wait to salt the filling after it is done as the meat is often well seasoned already.
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pinch salt
1 pinch ground white pepper
1 tablespoon light (regular) soy sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons canola or peanut oil
2 scallions, chopped, white and green parts
1/2 pound char siu, homemade or store-bought, diced into 1/4 - to 1/2 -inch pieces
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, salt, pepper, soy sauce, oyster sauce and water. Stir to dissolve the sugar and set aside.
2. In a skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the scallions, and cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic and slightly softened, about 30 seconds. Add the pork and combine well. Add the sauce and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes, until the pork is heated through.
3. Meanwhile, add the Shaoxing rice wine to the dissolved cornstarch. When the pork is warm through, add the wine and cornstarch mixture. Cook for another 30 seconds, stirring constantly, until the mixture has come together into a mass that you can mound. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool at room temperature before using, about 45 minutes. The filling may be prepared up to 2 days in advance, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before using.
Each tablespoon: 41 calories; 2 grams protein; 3 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 2 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 8 mg. cholesterol; 144 mg. sodium.