Steamed Bao Buns with Crispy Chicken and Carrot Pickle

A delicious steamed bun filled with crispy fried chicken and carrot pickle. This is a fun dish to share with family and friends, and rest assured it is a crowd pleaser! You will need to start the recipe a day in advance to allow the chicken time to marinate and begin preparing the dough several hours in advance to allow time for the dough to prove.

Makes about 20

60g sugar
7g yeast
200ml luke-warm water
450g cake flour* see note below
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp oil, extra

To serve: coriander leaves, pickled carrots, crispy fried chicken, Sriracha mayonnaise (recipes below).


  1. Combine the sugar, yeast and 2 tablespoons of the water. Set aside for 10 minutes or until the mixture is foamy.
  2. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the yeast mixture, along with the oil, vinegar and most of the water and bring the dough together, adding more water if it seems too dry. Knead for at least 10 minutes by hand, or 7 minutes with a stand mixer with a dough hook attached. The dough needs to be smooth and elastic.
  3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover, and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  4. Knock down the dough and divide into 2 pieces. Roll each piece into a log and divide into 10 equal pieces, so you will have 20 bao in total. Roll each piece into a ball.
  5. Roll each ball into an oval approx 15cm long. Brush with oil, then fold in half. Place on a square of baking paper and place on a tray. Continue with the remaining dough. Cover and leave to prove for another hour or until doubled in size.
  6. Set a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water and steam the bao, in batches, for 8-10 minutes or until puffed and cooked through.
  7. Prise the bao open and fill with pickled carrots, crispy chicken, coriander and Sriracha mayonnaise.

Notes: Lighthouse brand does a ‘sponge and steamed bun’ flour blend, available at Coles. If using this flour blend OMIT the baking powder from the recipe.
Recipe based on one by Tony Tan from his book Hong Kong Food City

Crispy-fried Chicken

Crispy fried chicken adds an excellent textural layer to the baos, and tastes great too!

600g chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2cm strips
100gm yoghurt
125ml milk
1 tbsp light soy
1 tsp Sriracha chilli sauce
1/2 cup cornflour
1 tsp Chinese five spice

2 cups plain flour
2 tbsp baking powder
oil for deep frying
sea salt flakes


  1. Prepare the marinade for the chicken by combining the yoghurt, milk, soy and Sriracha. Combine the cornflour and five-spice in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat in the spiced flour then place in the yoghurt mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Place the oil in a deep fryer or a wok and heat to 180C. Prepare a tray with layers of baking paper to place the chicken on once it is cooked.
  3. Combine the flour and baking powder and place on a large tray. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour and carefully place the chicken into the fryer, and cook, in batches, until golden and crisp and cooked through. The safe temperature to serve chicken is 75C, so insert a thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken to check the temperature. Drain on paper towel. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes.

Carrot Pickle
These are quick and easy to make and are delicious served with fried foods or rich meats.

2 carrots, julienned
4 spring onions, cut into thin long strips
5 cm knob ginger, julienned
1 chilli, thinly sliced
6 tsp sugar
60ml rice wine vinegar
pinch salt


  1. Combine the sugar, vinegar and salt in a bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the carrot, spring onion, ginger and chilli and toss to coat. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes before using.

Sriracha Mayonnaise

An easy and delicious mayonnaise to make. Pairs very well with chicken or fish.

125ml (1/2 cup) kewpie mayonnaise
2 tsp Sriracha chilli sauce, or to taste
1/2 tsp honey


  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and combine. Taste and add more Sriracha or honey to taste.


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