Blog post

Korean Chicken Bao Buns

February 9, 2020

At the beginning of January, Adam and I headed to Digbeth Dining Club to check out what they had to offer. If you don’t know about it, DDC is the UK’s premier street food destination. Situated underneath the railway arches in Digbeth, Birmingham, with the aim to provide a platform for the best street food traders in the UK to cook quality, locally-sourced and honest food to the people of the Midlands. It’s like a sweet shop for a foodie… A place to try out foods you may not normally eat or have access to. This is where we tried our first open Bao Buns.

Traditional Bao usually look like steamed dumplings with fillings such as pork berry and vegetables, however recently open Bao have become more popular with street food vendors. Dim Sum Su is the vendor at DDC where we got our from. We bought a Crispy Beef (epic) and a Korean Chicken Bao (even more epic!).

Last weekend Adam and I decided to try making them from scratch. Now, if you’re thinking of making this recipe, make sure you set a side an afternoon to prepare the Bao, if not good old M&S now sell them in packs of 6 meaning you only need to cook your filling. I’d also highly recommend buying a bamboo steamer to cook the buns!

This recipe also requires Gochujang Paste and the only place I’ve been able to find it is Waitrose!


For the Bao Buns (Makes 18):

525g Plain Flour
1½tbsp Caster Sugar
1tsp Fast-Action Dried Yeast
50ml Milk
1tbsp Sunflower Oil
1tbsp Rice Vinegar
200ml Water
1tsp Baking Powder


For the Chicken:

4 Chicken Breasts
240ml Buttermilk
½tsp Salt
¼tsp White Pepper
¼tsp Garlic Salt
180g Plain Flour
1tsp Salt
1tsp Black Pepper
½tsp Garlic Salt
½tsp Celery Salt
1tsp Paprika
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Chilli Flakes
  Spray Oil, for baking
2tbsp Gochujang Paste
2tbsp Honey
4tbsp Brown Sugar
4tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Garlic Cloves
A thumb Ginger, grated
1tbsp Vegetable Oil
1tbsp Sesame Oil


For the Bao Buns:

  1. Mix together the flour, caster sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Dissolve the yeast in warm water, then add it to the flour with the milk, sunflower oil, rice vinegar and water.
  3. Mix into a dough, adding a little extra water if needed.
  4. Using a stand mixer, knead with a dough hook for 5 minutes. Alternatively, tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10-15 mins.
  5. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  6. Tip the dough out onto a clean work surface and punch it down.
  7. Flatten the dough with your hands, then sprinkle over the baking powder and knead for 5 mins by hand or 3 minutes in a stand mixer.
  8. Roll out the dough into a long sausage shape, about 3cm thick, then cut into pieces that are about 3cm wide – you should have 18.
  9. In the palm of your hand, roll each piece of dough into a ball and leave to rest for 2-3 mins.
  10. Use a rolling pin to roll out each ball, one by one, into an oval shape about 3-4mm thick. Rub the surface of the dough ovals with oil and brush a little oil over a chopstick.
  11. Place the oiled chopstick in the centre of each oval. Fold the dough over the chopstick, then slowly pull out the chopstick.
  12. Flatten out 18 muffin cases and place a bun on each. I find this works best for putting them in the steamer. Or cut 18 squares of baking parchment and put a bun on each.
  13. Transfer to a baking tray, cover with a proving bag and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hr 30 mins, or until doubled in size.
  14. Heat a large steamer over a medium-high heat.
  15. Steam the buns for 8 mins until puffed up (you’ll need to do this in batches).
  16. Prise open each bun and fill with the chicken. Eat while they’re still warm.


For the Chicken:

  1. Place the chicken in a bowl. Add the buttermilk, salt, pepper and garlic salt.
  2. Mix together, cover and place in the fridge to marinade for at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/ Gas Mark 6.
  4. Mix together the crispy coating ingredients in a small bowl.
  5. Take the chicken out of the fridge. Lift a piece from the buttermilk and allow the excess to drip off. Dredge the chicken in the crispy coating mixture – ensuring it’s fully covered.
  6. Place on a tray and repeat until all of the chicken is coated.
  7. Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and cooked in the middle.
  8. While the chicken and Bao buns are cooking, make the sauce by placing the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and stir together.
  9. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes until thickened.
  10. Place all of the cooked chicken in a bowl and pour the sauce over the chicken. Toss together to coat.
  11. Carefully open the steamed Bao buns and stuff with the Korean chicken.

Serve with pickled red onions, toasted peanuts, cucumber and fresh coriander.


Nat x

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