Trinidad Pow (recipe)

Trinidad Pow

Pow is something that is familiar and loved by most, if not all, Trinis. They are basically steamed buns filled with a savory filling (usually pork, but chicken and vegetarian variations also exist). I found them impossible to find when I lived in the US, but some of that may have to do with the fact that at the time I didn’t realize that over there they are called ‘bao’ or ‘baozi:) Still, they did not seem to be as commonplace as they are here?

My mother says that when she was a child in Jamaica sweet pows were equally popular and common. I have never seen sweet pows here in Trinidad, and if anyone knows of them (were they ever here? did they die out?) I’d love to know :) From my research it appears that what she remembers is known as ‘doushabao‘.

Although the recipe below is for a meat pow, feel free to replace the meat with assorted vegetables if you are vegetarian or just interested in healthy eating. When I made this batch I didn’t have any meat on hand so that’s what I did :D The quality of the sauce is really what makes (or breaks) the filling :)


Trinidad Pow
Recipe from The Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
Makes 12 pow

Ingredients:

1 pkg dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
about 3 1/4 cup all purpose flour unsifted
melted margarine

Filling:

1 1/2 lbs meat (or veggies) cut into 1/4 – 1/2 inch cubes, season with 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger, 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp soy sauce.

Fry meat and seasoning in 1 tbsp oil over high heat (about 8 minutes), add 1 chopped onion and cook 2 minutes. Stir in Cornstarch mixture (see below) and cook stirring until sauce thickens.

Cornstarch Mixture:

Combine 2 tsp sugar, 1 tbsp cornstarch, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sherry or 1/2 old oak rum and 1/2 water and 1/4 up water

Method:

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water
2. Blend in sugar, oil and salt
3. Let stand in warm place until bubbly (15 min.)
4. Add flour and mix until dough holds together
5. Place on lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic (8-10 min.)
6. Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour or more)

7. Meanwhile prepare filling
8. When risen, turn dough on a lightly floured board and knead for 1 minute
9. Divide into 12 equal pieces

10. Roll each in 4 1/2 diameter, with outer edges slightly thinner
11. Place 2 tbsp filling in centre of each circle. Pull edges around and twist to seal

Trinidad Pow


12. Place each bun on a piece of foil. Cover and let rise until puffy (30 min)

Trinidad Pow

13. Cover and steam for 12-15 minutes. If a steamer is unavailable use a colander over boiling water.

Trinidad Pow

Trinidad Pow

Serve warm or cold.
Freeze if desired.

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About 

Passionate foodie, founder of Trinigourmet and Caribbean Lifestyle Maven. Author of "Glam By Request: 30+ Easy Caribbean Recipes"

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  • http://laurelsfoodwriter.blogspot.com Marsha

    Nikki
    I am so glad you made this!
    You sent me the recipe so long ago but I didn’t have a steamer and i didn’t want to buy one since it would be rare that I used it…so now i see the colander I am happy.
    I may try this soon
    How did you like the taste? Are you on a normal carb diet?

    • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

      Hi Marsha :) That’s not a colander it’s a steamer :) It came out good :) I don’t follow any diet plans that have a name. The glycemic index of a food is of more interest to me than whether or not it is a carb. I try to make wise choices and believe in moderation in all things.

  • http://laurelsfoodwriter.blogspot.com Marsha

    Nikki
    I am so glad you made this!
    You sent me the recipe so long ago but I didn’t have a steamer and i didn’t want to buy one since it would be rare that I used it…so now i see the colander I am happy.
    I may try this soon
    How did you like the taste? Are you on a normal carb diet?

    • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

      Hi Marsha :) That’s not a colander it’s a steamer :) It came out good :) I don’t follow any diet plans that have a name. The glycemic index of a food is of more interest to me than whether or not it is a carb. I try to make wise choices and believe in moderation in all things.

  • http://keifel.journalspace.com keifel

    the closest thing i’ve had to a pow here (in nashville) is a vietnamese dish called Ban Cuon.

    • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

      ooo nashville :) *adopts insta-twang* :) were the ban cuon any good? :)

  • http://keifel.journalspace.com keifel

    the closest thing i’ve had to a pow here (in nashville) is a vietnamese dish called Ban Cuon.

    • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

      ooo nashville :) *adopts insta-twang* :) were the ban cuon any good? :)

  • caribman

    Oh, how I miss POW. What you get here in the States (Farmers Markets) are no good, at least not the same as I remembered.

    Suggestion: It would be wonderful to have a print button to print the recipes only at this website.

    Thanks!

  • caribman

    Oh, how I miss POW. What you get here in the States (Farmers Markets) are no good, at least not the same as I remembered.

    Suggestion: It would be wonderful to have a print button to print the recipes only at this website.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Caribman – thanks for the kind words :) the Print button allows you to print the posts in a printer-friendly format. I am working on a system that will allow one to download the recipes only on particular posts so stay tuned :)

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Caribman – thanks for the kind words :) the Print button allows you to print the posts in a printer-friendly format. I am working on a system that will allow one to download the recipes only on particular posts so stay tuned :)

  • http://TriniGourmet Sanginee

    Hello,

    this is the first time viewing the website. It is very interesting. I am looking for a baking dish, Baked Pastelles. Kindly if you can send that to me.

    Sanginee

  • Tina

    I just came back from a trip to Trinidad and was so enthusiastic about the food that I’m determined to make some of my own! I was browsing through the recipes and when i came across this one I felt I had to comment! This is exactly like Chinese steamed buns, which traditionally have a savory pork filling. Surprise, they are also called “Bao”, which is the chinese word for bread.
    Love this website, btw!

  • Tina

    I just came back from a trip to Trinidad and was so enthusiastic about the food that I’m determined to make some of my own! I was browsing through the recipes and when i came across this one I felt I had to comment! This is exactly like Chinese steamed buns, which traditionally have a savory pork filling. Surprise, they are also called “Bao”, which is the chinese word for bread.
    Love this website, btw!

  • debbie

    My pows always come out flat and more like dumplings in texture than bready – I have used the Naparima recipe for years. Recently on a trip to trinidad, I had lovely, bready, extremely fluffy pows from a shop in St. James. Do you have any alternate recipes for the dough that results in very fluffy bread-like texture. My mom used to make the pefect pow but she passed away 9 years ago and took the secret with her!

  • debbie

    My pows always come out flat and more like dumplings in texture than bready – I have used the Naparima recipe for years. Recently on a trip to trinidad, I had lovely, bready, extremely fluffy pows from a shop in St. James. Do you have any alternate recipes for the dough that results in very fluffy bread-like texture. My mom used to make the pefect pow but she passed away 9 years ago and took the secret with her!

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Sanginee – I’ve never baked pastelles… if you found a recipe do let me know how they turned out

    Tina – Thanks for dropping me a line :) So glad you loved our food! :)

    Debbie – This recipe should give you a bready pow… Make sure you are not killing your yeast by using too hot a water temperature and that you are kneading the dough long enough so that the gluten is fully developed. Best Wishes!

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Sanginee – I’ve never baked pastelles… if you found a recipe do let me know how they turned out

    Tina – Thanks for dropping me a line :) So glad you loved our food! :)

    Debbie – This recipe should give you a bready pow… Make sure you are not killing your yeast by using too hot a water temperature and that you are kneading the dough long enough so that the gluten is fully developed. Best Wishes!

  • Jaz Borden

    Yummyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. I love pows. That’s the extent of my contribution. I am useless in the way of the culinary arts but I love this site and all the food looks so delicious!!! :-D

  • Jaz Borden

    Yummyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. I love pows. That’s the extent of my contribution. I am useless in the way of the culinary arts but I love this site and all the food looks so delicious!!! :-D

  • Brian

    I had Pow which was sweet . The filling was sweetened coconut just like the tarts, and it taste real good. My boss was Chinese and his mother made it. I think I will try to replicate it with your recipe. I may add just a bit more sugar in the dough. So they do make it in Trinidad it’s just you can’t get it to buy.

  • Brian

    I had Pow which was sweet . The filling was sweetened coconut just like the tarts, and it taste real good. My boss was Chinese and his mother made it. I think I will try to replicate it with your recipe. I may add just a bit more sugar in the dough. So they do make it in Trinidad it’s just you can’t get it to buy.

  • Hart

    of course you can get it to buy. most chinese restaurants sell pow. it may not b on the menu,u’ll hafta ask but they do sell them, chicken, pork and sometimes beef. They are delish,i love love love pows!!!!

  • Hart

    of course you can get it to buy. most chinese restaurants sell pow. it may not b on the menu,u’ll hafta ask but they do sell them, chicken, pork and sometimes beef. They are delish,i love love love pows!!!!

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Hi Hart – I think Brian was referring not to the savoury pows, but the sweet dessert ones. If you know a place that sell those I’d love to visit it :)

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Hi Hart – I think Brian was referring not to the savoury pows, but the sweet dessert ones. If you know a place that sell those I’d love to visit it :)

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Hi Hart – I think Brian was referring not to the savoury pows, but the sweet dessert ones. If you know a place that sell those I’d love to visit it :)

  • alejandro_449

    ehh DIS ting taste good…..just put a hot pepper and some sweet peppers

  • alejandro_449

    ehh DIS ting taste good…..just put a hot pepper and some sweet peppers

  • Jessica

    I was sooooo incredibly excited to find this recipe. I was in Malaysia a couple of years ago and absolutely loved pao! We had both meat and sweet pao. The sweet pao was filled with something called kaya butter (I have no idea how to spell it). It was coconut milk mixed with sugar and other things. It was quite tasty. Anyway, I’m very anxious to try out this recipe!

  • Jessica

    I was sooooo incredibly excited to find this recipe. I was in Malaysia a couple of years ago and absolutely loved pao! We had both meat and sweet pao. The sweet pao was filled with something called kaya butter (I have no idea how to spell it). It was coconut milk mixed with sugar and other things. It was quite tasty. Anyway, I’m very anxious to try out this recipe!

  • Florence

    Thanxs for the receipy, I had few times, when I stays with my cousin, she married to a cantonese chinese fellow, and we used to go out to eat at a resturant, during yamcha, I really want to know how they make, during a yamcha I always order this pao filled with pork sometimes with mince and others with chicken.

    I really dream of doing at home so that I will make my own instead of going out buying. the problem I got is how to make a dough, and If I want to sell the how I would price for one pao. also the steampot here in solomon is very expensive, I dont know what else I will steam on, I really like to eat and sell it on the outlet market, or what do you reckon.

    I really like the taste.

    thanks for the receipy at last I got little idea.

    Florence Im a chinese food lover. if anymore receipy pls email to me

  • Florence

    Thanxs for the receipy, I had few times, when I stays with my cousin, she married to a cantonese chinese fellow, and we used to go out to eat at a resturant, during yamcha, I really want to know how they make, during a yamcha I always order this pao filled with pork sometimes with mince and others with chicken.

    I really dream of doing at home so that I will make my own instead of going out buying. the problem I got is how to make a dough, and If I want to sell the how I would price for one pao. also the steampot here in solomon is very expensive, I dont know what else I will steam on, I really like to eat and sell it on the outlet market, or what do you reckon.

    I really like the taste.

    thanks for the receipy at last I got little idea.

    Florence Im a chinese food lover. if anymore receipy pls email to me

  • Derryl

    Thanks for the recipe.
    Nice website BTW, keep up the good work.

  • Derryl

    Thanks for the recipe.
    Nice website BTW, keep up the good work.

  • anil samaroo

    if you dont have a steamer you can try this, half a pot with water and put a rice strainer into the pot not letting the water get into the rice strainer. empty some water of corse of it is getting into the rice strainer.when you heat the water to boil the steam will rise through the holes in the rice strainer and steam the pows be sure to cover the rice strainer with a cover and not to cover the bottom holes of the rice strainer or the pows will get soggy

  • anil samaroo

    if you dont have a steamer you can try this, half a pot with water and put a rice strainer into the pot not letting the water get into the rice strainer. empty some water of corse of it is getting into the rice strainer.when you heat the water to boil the steam will rise through the holes in the rice strainer and steam the pows be sure to cover the rice strainer with a cover and not to cover the bottom holes of the rice strainer or the pows will get soggy

  • trini_shotta

    Very tasty, yummyy!

  • trini_shotta

    Very tasty, yummyy!

  • natasha

    made pow for the first time!wow!I loved it.Thank you.

  • natasha

    made pow for the first time!wow!I loved it.Thank you.

  • shan

    this is by far the best pow recipe ever! its so delicious and fluffy….just perfect! thank you so much for posting

  • shan

    this is by far the best pow recipe ever! its so delicious and fluffy….just perfect! thank you so much for posting