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5 Tips to Making The Perfect Steamed Buns (Chicken Bao Recipe)

A perfect steamed bun should be fluffy and airy like cotton; The filling should be flavorful and juicy. I will give you 5 simple tips to making the best chicken steamed buns.


Ingredients for the wrapper (makes 16 wrappers)

Ingredients for the filling (Makes about 16 fillings)


Make The Wrapper

  • Combine 300 grams of lukewarm water with 2.5 tsp of yeast and 1 tsp of sugar. Than wait for 5 minutes for the yeast to activate.
  • Mix the yeast order with the all-purpose flour until a rough dough forms. Then add 2 tbsp of room temperature butter and continue to knead until the dough becomes smooth.
  • Cover the dough and let it proof for 1.5 hours or until it is doubled in size.

Make the Filling

  • Saute the diced onion with a few tablespoons of oil over medium low heat until slightly golden. Then add diced garlic and diced scallions. Continue to stir until all the aromatics are golden brown. Remove everything, including the oil, to the side and allow it to cool.
  • Season the ground chicken with 1 tsp of five spice powder, some freshly ground black pepper to taste, 1 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of oyster sauce, 1 tbsp of fish sauce, and 2.5 tsp of dark soy sauce.
  • Pour 1/4 cup of chicken stock in batches and stir the filling until all the liquid is absorbed. Add the caramelized aromatics to the chicken and mix well.

Wrap the Steamed Buns

  • The dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough to eliminate the air bubbles. Then, knead it on the working surface for 6-8 minutes until smooth.
  • Roll the dough into a long even log. Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Cover them, so they don’t dry out.
  • Take one piece of dough. Flatten it first, then use a rolling pin to roll the edge back and forth. The left hand rotates the dough. Repeat that, and you will get a round wrapper with a thick middle and a thinner edge.
  • Put some filling in the middle. Pinch the corner to create the first pleat. Use your left hand to help to stretch, fold, and pinch the wrapper all the way around the edge until the bun is closed.
  • Put parchment paper under. Rotate the bun and shape it a little bit taller so it doesn’t become too flat.
  • Once you finish wrapping all the buns, put them in the steamer and let them raise for another 20 minutes or until they are 1.5 times the size.
  • Steam the buns over medium heat for 20 minutes (start counting the time after the water has came to a boil).
  • Turn off the heat. Do not open the lid immediately. Instead, let the buns sit in the steamer for 10 minutes to avoid shrinking. Enjoy!