How To: Bánh Bao (Vietnamese Steamed Pork Buns)

Hi Nibblers!

         I have been craving all things buns this month. With my parents away on yet another holiday, it meant that I was now free to roam the kitchen and do experiment with whatever I pleased.
Buns have been the talk of the town lately with more ‘Bao’ establishments popping up all over Sydney. Each restaurant bringing together it’s own flare and showcasing some of the best flavour combinations. But in all its hype and glory, it’s had me thinking about the classic ‘Bao.’ The one that I remember eating for breakkie all those years ago. The one that kept my tummy satisfied and my brain fuelled for the start of the day. So, I thought I would take up the challenge and give these buns a go. And boy, was it worth it! They were extremely easy to make and with a bit of patience, you can have a whole week’s worth of snacks sorted. Or simply pop the un-steamed buns into the freezer and keep them for when you need to woo your guests.

How To: Bánh Bao (Vietnamese Steamed Pork Buns)
           Makes 15 Banh Baos

What you’ll need:

Mince ready to go!

For the bun dough
– 660g of self raising flour + about 50g for dusting of the bench
– 150g granulated sugar
– 1 1/2 cup of milk
– 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
– 1 1/2 Tbs. vegetable oil
– 3/4 Tbs. salt
For the filling (You can make this the day before and leave overnight to ensure all the flavours infuse together)
– 4 hard boiled eggs (quartered)
– 2 Chinese sausages (thinly sliced)
– 500g pork mince (or any mince you prefer)
– 250g water chestnuts (diced)
– 4 garlic cloves (crushed)
– 2 medium sized onions (diced)
– 4 Tbs. soy sauce
– 2 Tbs. sesame oil
– 1 tsp. salt
– 3 Tbs. oyster sauce
For steaming of buns
– 1 Tbs. vinegar – optional – used to help the buns stay white
– 4-5L of water (Depending on your steamer, fill water half way up the pot)

How To:
1. Marinate filling by combining pork mince, water chestnuts, garlic cloves, onion, soy sauce,sesame oil, salt and oyster sauce until well combined then set aside
2. In a heat proof bowl, heat milk and sugar for 30-45seconds and mix until most of the sugar dissolves then set aside
3. Pop flour, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and mix together
4. Create a well in the centre of the bowl of flour then add milk/sugar and oil then mix until it forms a dough
Note: If you feel the dough is too dry, add a tsp. of milk until it desired texture
5. Knead bun dough for 20 minutes until dough feels smooth and the dough indents when you press your finger into it
6. Roll dough into a 35-45cm long and 5cm diameter log (may be a bit hard due to the consistency of the dough but try and it as close as possible to that)

A rough idea of the dough log

7. Wrap the dough in cling wrap then set aside in a warm area (i.e. microwave or oven) with a wet tea towel to cover and leave for an hour
Note: While waiting for the dough to settle, prepare baking paper squares that will help the Bao(s) from sticking to the steamer. Do this by cutting 15 10x10cm squares from baking paper then set aside
8. After resting for an hour the dough should now be quite smooth and pliable. Cut the log into 15 roughly even pieces. That’s about 2-3cm in height for each cylinder piece and cover with wet tea towel to prevent the pieces from drying

Ready to evolve into Baos!

9. Lightly dust clean working space with some flour and roll out first dough piece until you have a circle with a diameter of about 10cm and a thickness of 5mm
10. Spoon about 2 heaped Tbs. of your minced filling and place it in the centre of your circle

11. Add 1-2 slices of the Chinese sausage on top of the mince

12. Add an egg quarter on top of the Chinese sausage to finish the tower
13. While holding one side of the circle with one hand, pull the remaining sides of the circle outwards and upwards gathering it all with your starting side and into the centre
14. Firmly press the gathered sides together then twist clockwise one and push down to secure and form the bun and pop onto a baking paper square prepared earlier
15. Repeat steps 9-14 until all buns have been assembled

In the steamer! – Excuse my uneven squares

Note: Bao(s) can be kept in a sealed bag or container in the freezer for up to a month. Simply pop your steamed Bao(s) into the freezer leave to thaw and heat when ready to consume!
16. To steam the buns, fill your steamer pot until half full and add vinegar. Bring to the boil

I’m ready for steaming!

17. Once boiled, reduce heat to medium/low then add level with un-steamed buns and cover with lid
18. Steam buns for 15-20 minutes or until bun skin is slightly sticky to touch and bun skin is all one even colour without any dull areas
19. Remove buns from heat, leave to cool for 5 minutes then enjoy!

I know it does seem a bit overwhelming but, once you’ve actually made these buns once you’ll know how easy they actually are! I hope you love this recipe and do leave a comment if you try these out. I’m so happy with how they turned out and definitely want to explore for Vietnamese dishes in the future. As always, free free to leave any request down below.

Until next time,
Nibble Away,


One Comment Add yours

  1. Kevin-K says:

    omg yum! I made these and they were delicious. Thanks Jo Nibbles!


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