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Firefly Week: Saffron’s Fresh-Made Pork Bao

Saffron's Pork Bao - Firefly Recipe

Saffron’s Fresh-Made Pork Bao

By Jennifer Imhoff-Dousharm

Yolanda/Saffron/Bridget is definitely one of my favorite characters from Firefly, She might be a jianhuo (cheap floozy) some of the time, but most of the time she is Jingcai (brilliant)! A woman who can cook a good meal and kick ass is alright by me. So in honor of her wedding to Mal I’ve prepared some fresh pork buns served with saffron rice, cider, and a moon cake on the side! They are “Damn tasty” as Mal says so to make sure you have enough for your crew here is a recipe for 24 buns.


6 cups Flour
1/4 cup White Sugar
2 cups Warm Water
1 tbsp Active Dry Yeast
1 tbsp Baking Powder
2 tbsp Shortening


1 lb Finely chopped pork
1 1/2 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 1/2 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
1 1/2 tbsp Sweet Soy Sauce


1 1/2 tbsp White Sugar
1 1/2 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 1/2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 cup Water
2 tbsp Cornstarch
2 1/2 tbsp Water
2 tbsp Shortening
1 1/2 tbsp Sesame Oil
1/4 tsp Ground White Pepper


Prepare pork by marinating several hours prior.

// I usually marinate overnight for after-work ease

Cut pork into thick strips and then poke with a fork several times each.

Place in a sealable container with a mixture of soy sauce and hoisin sauce.


This will need two hours at least to rise (can also be made early)

In a small bowl, mix together sugar and warm water until sugar is fully dissolved.

Add yeast to the sugar water and let stand until foamy // should take about 10 minutes

In a large bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder Stir in the shortening and then the yeast mixture.

Allow to rest somewhere warm until dough has tripled in size.


//Prepare pork and sauce while you wait.

In a medium saucepan combine the sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and 1 cup water.

Stirring regularly bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium

In a small bowl combine cornstarch and 2 1/ 2 tbsp water until thoroughly mixed.

Add cornstarch mix to the saucepan and stir until thickened.

Mix in shortening, sesame oil, and white pepper.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a frying pan; grill pork with its marinade sauce until cooked and charred.

Cut pork into smaller strips.

Stir pork into cooling sauce mixture.


Prepare the dough by kneading on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic.

Separate dough into 24 pieces

// Rolling into a long roll is the easiest way to slice dough evenly

Flatten each piece with the palm of your hand; edges should be thinner than the center.

Each dough disc should be about 6 inches in diameter

Place 1 tbsp of pork and sauce in the center of each disc

Wrap the dough to enclose the filling, twisting the edges together to a final pinch.

Allow the buns to rest for several minutes

Steam buns for 10-15 minutes

//Pro Tip: Don’t have a steamer? Poke multiple holes through a one time use pie tin and place upside down in a large pot with water filled below the tin. Place buns on top and cover.

Serve with saffron rice, a moon cake, and the finest tea-like beverage your crew can afford!


Kitchen Overlord’s Minion “Lil Jinni” is a student of informatics and network security, full time mom, and a primary organizer of Vegas 2.0.  When not herding hackers and children or contriving shenanigans, she is a guild leader, a Trekkie, a Whovian, a Brown coat, and an Isis agent.

You can stalk her via twitter at: @lil_jinni


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