Super soft, pillowy steamed buns with a spicy Korean chicken filling.
Have you ever tried bao buns? These pillowy soft buns are simply A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. These are fluffy buns with succulent pieces of chicken popcorn coated with sweet and spicy sauce, adorned with crisp veggies like cabbage and onions and garnished with sesame seeds and fresh herbs.
I fell in love with these buns when I tried it from a restaurant named BAO in Kuwait. They serve heavenly buns with delicious fillings. Their fried bao buns served with ice cream is to die for.
Since then I have been thinking of recreating it in my kitchen. My Pinterest has a lot of bao bun recipe pins with such appealing filling ideas. I followed the bao recipe from Eat, Little Bird and it came out superb. Such a perfect recipe, I must say. The filling recipe is slightly inspired from Kitchen Sanctuary. I was craving bao buns so bad, and I thought now is the best time to try it out as it will be a non-deep fried item for iftar. I am so glad that I did, as it was love at first bite and sight.
I used this chilli garlic sauce by huy fong foods. The same brand who came up with the legendary sriracha sauce. I recommend that you order it from Amazon or grab it from your supermarket. You can use it in almost anything. I’m sure you will be hooked if you have a liking for spicy food.
(Makes 18-20 buns)
For the bao buns:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup corn flour
- 5 tbsp castor sugar
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 200 ml warm water
- 1/4 cup oil
For the Korean Chicken:
- 300g frozen chicken popcorn (I used Sadia chicken mini chef popcorn)
- 2 tbsp Huy Fong chilli garlic paste/ any chilli garlic paste/ spicy schezwan sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 4 tbsp soya sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 2 tsp ginger minced
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- Salt if needed
- Cabbage sliced
- Onion sliced
- Chilli mayonnaise
- Chilli garlic paste
- Fresh coriander leaves chopped
- White sesame seeds (roasted)
- Kneading is very important while making this bun.
- If you have left over cooked buns, you can freeze them in a zip lock bag. You can steam them again for 5 minutes and use it.
To make the bao buns:
- In a bowl of a stand mixer, add flour, corn flour, sugar, yeast, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
- Combine oil and water. The water should be little hotter than lukewarm, but not boiling hot.
- Use a stand mixer with a hook attachment to knead the dough. (If it is not available, you can use your hands to knead it)
- Pour water and oil mixture into the flour mixture gradually kneading on medium high speed. Knead well for about 10 minutes using stand mixer or for 5 minutes using hand. The dough should be smooth and soft to touch. Knead a little more from your counter top.
- Keep it in a greased bowl, cover it and let it rise for 60-90 minutes in a warm place until doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough to release the air bubbles and knead for five minutes.
- Roll out the dough in 1 cm thickness. Spread a little bit of oil on the surface of the dough so that the buns don’t stick to each other.
- Using a 3 inch cookie cutter, cut out the dough into small circles. You can roll it further if it is very thick.
- Keep these dough circles on a cupcake liner or small pieces of baking sheets. Fold the dough in half and roll it gently.
- Keep it cover with a tea towel and let it rise again for 1/2 an hour.
- Fill the steamer with water and keep it on the stove. Once it comes to a oil, reduce heat to medium low and place the buns in it and steam for 10-12 minutes until it turns puffy and soft and cooked all way through. (By this time make the Korean chicken)
To make the Korean chicken:
- Deep fry or air-fry the chicken popcorn and keep aside.
- In a pan, add oil and sauté garlic and ginger for a minute. Add all the remaining ingredients and let it come to a boil. Put it on simmer for 5 minutes. By then it would have become slightly thick.
- Pour this mixture into the fried chicken popcorn and toss it well until all of the chicken pieces and coated well with the sauce.
- In the bun, add chilli mayo, lettuce and chicken (you can cut each chicken into half). Add onions.
- Finally I added chilli garlic sauce to buns. I didn’t add in the pictures.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds and coriander leaves.
- Serve immediately.