Cheater’s Siopao Bola Bola made easy using refrigerated biscuits, meatballs, and quail eggs. These steamed buns are so fluffy and delicious with so little effort and in under 30 minutes!
Who doesn’t love a hearty piece of siopao smothered in a sweet and savory brown sauce? Left to my own devices, I’ll have these steamed meat buns breakfast, lunch and dinner and all the snacks in between!
But as deep as love for siopao is my dislike for their labor. The making of the dough, the filling, and the sauce all translate to a good day’s hard work and not one I am willing to tackle. My solution? Refrigerated biscuits, frozen fully-cooked meatballs, and canned boiled quail eggs!
In thirty minutes tops, I can have a dozen or so of stored siopao bola-bola in the freezer to zap in the microwave when craving hits
But if you’re looking for a quick fix, this cheater’s siopao bola-bola shortcut method is the perfect answer. The refrigerated biscuits steam into soft and pillowy buns in a tenth of the time it takes to make from-scratch yeast dough.
I use frozen pre-cooked meatballs and hard-boiled quail eggs from the can to keep with the quick and easy theme but feel free to experiment with your favorite fillings and make the steamed buns extra special. Here are a few suggestions below.
Steamed bun fillings
- shredded adobo chicken
- shredded pork asado (follow my macao-style recipe; just swap pork butt for the spare ribs and thicken the sauce with cornstarch slurry)
- chopped Chinese BBQ/char sui pork
- custard, ube halaya or sweetened red bean paste
- Peking duck slices with hoisin sauce
Steamed buns the cheater’s way
This cheater’s bola-bola is so easy to make, the most work involved is making the homemade sauce!
- Open the tube of refrigerated biscuits and separate each dough. With hands or a rolling pin, flatten the dough to about 3-inch diameter.
- Place a fully-thawed meatball and a quail egg on the center of each flattened dough. Pull edges to the center and twist to fully enclose filling.
- Place each dough balls seam side down on 3 x 3-inch cut parchment paper and arrange in a single layer on a steamer basket. Make sure to leave 1 to 2 inches of space between each as the dough will expand during steaming.
- In the bottom part of the steamer, add water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar for every liter of water. The vinegar will help whiten the buns.
- Place the steamer basket over the pot of water, cover, and steam for about 10 to 15 minutes or until buns are puffed and tops are shiny.
- Remove the steamed siopao from steamer and serve hot with the sauce.
Make the sauce by combining water, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, oil, and salt to taste. Stir until well-blended and bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue to cook, whisking regularly to prevent lumps, until thickened. To boost flavor, you can also add one or two pieces of star anise.
How to store
- Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for a few minutes or until firm. Transfer to airtight containers or resealable bags and freeze for up to 3 months.
- To reheat, warm in the microwave for 30 to 40 seconds or steam for about 2 to 3 minutes.