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Banh Bao in a steamer with one halved surrounded by quail eggs and chopped spring onions
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5 from 6 votes

Banh Bao (Vietnamese Steamed Pork Buns)

If you're looking for a freeze-friendly meal that's perfect for lunchboxes, look no further. These Vietnamese Banh Baos are easily reheatable and taste just as amazing as day one!
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time30 mins
Dough Resting Time3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time5 hrs
Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Asian, Vietnamese
Servings: 6 baos
Calories: 372kcal
Author: Jeannette

Equipment

  • Baking paper
  • Steamer

Ingredients

For The Yeast Activation

  • 170 g / 1 1/2 US cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 75 mL / 0.3 US cup milk (full cream)
  • 75 mL / 0.3 US cup water

For the Dough (To Be Added After The Yeast Activation)

  • 170 g / 1 1/2 US cup all-purpose flour
  • 10 g / 1/8 US cup self-raising flour
  • 50 g / 1/4 US cup sugar
  • 1/2 lemon's juice
  • 1/2 egg white
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil

The Filling

  • 100 g / 0.22 lb pork mince
  • 50 g / 0.11 lb pork paste (from the frozen section in Asian supermarkets)
  • 3 g / 0.006 lb rehydrated woodear mushroom (finely chopped)
  • 2 water chestnuts (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 Chinese sausage (thinly sliced)
  • quail eggs (sold fresh or in cans in Asian supermarkets)
  • 1 red shallot (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp spring onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp fried onion
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1/3 tsp fish sauce

Instructions

The Bao

  • Combine the flour, yeast and sugar in a bowl then pour in the water and milk. Mix it in until incorporated then let it rest for 3 hours so the yeast has time to activate.
    Note: Depending on where you live, you may need to let it rest for another 1-2 hours. The warmer the climate, the quicker the yeast will activate.
  • Pour the remaining flour, self-raising flour, sugar, lemon juice, egg white and oil into the activated mixtue and knead it until a smooth dough forms.
  • Let the dough rest in a bowl for 30 minutes with a cloth or glad wrap over the top.

The Filling

  • Meanwhile, combine the pork mince and pork paste along with the pepper, chicken bouillon powder, salt, sugar, oyster sayce and fish sauce.
    Tip: Use a pestal and mortor to mash the ingredients together which helps to give it a smoother consistency.
  • Mix in the wood ear mushroom, water chestnuts, shallots, fried onions and spring onions.
  • Roll about 1/4 US cup of the pork mixture into a ball, flatten it in your palm and place a quail egg in the center.
  • Wrap the mixture around the quail egg and roll it to form a sphere then push a sliced Chinese sausage on the surface.
  • Leave it to sit on a plate as you roll the rest of the mince. Depending on each ball size, you’ll get roughly 6 balls.

Wrapping the Baos

  • Cut 15 cm x 15 cm (6″ x 6″) squares out of baking paper.
  • Divide the Banh Bao dough into equal segments and roll them into balls. Cover using a cloth as you work on each to avoid drying.
  • Flatten each ball into a circle approximately 20 cm (8″) wide using a rolling pin or a smooth cup.
  • Place a meatball in the center of the flattened dough.
  • Bring the top and bottom parts of the Banh Bao dough in and pinch to stick together over the meatball.
  • Repeat the same steps with the left and right sides of the rolled dough.
  • Where the openings are for each corner, push the tips in to form a heart shape. You'll end up with four hearts.
  • Pinch each heart's tips to close the openings.
  • Hold one pinched tip and pull it to the center, pinching it with the dough in the middle to allow it to stick. Repeat with all pinched tips.
  • Give the center one final pinch to seal all the dough.
  • Place the wrapped bun on a baking square.
  • Set up your steamer to a boil and steam the baos for 30 minutes or until the meatball is cooked.
    Note: Alternatively, steam the meatballs before wrapping and steam the whole bao for 10 minutes or until the Banh Bao dough is cooked.
  • Serve fresh as is or with a drizzle of Sirarcha!

Notes

  • Don't overknead the Banh Bao dough. For a light and fluffy bao, knead quickly until everything has just come together. Overworking the dough will result in a tough and hard bun.
  • Let the dough rest. Resting dough (especially after kneading) is super important because it gives the gluten a chance to relax, making it easier for you to roll and shape.
  • Use fattier pork mince. Having more fat in the pork means a much juicier bite!
  • We use full cream milk for a whiter dough, but you can replace it with just water instead.
  • You can find canned quail eggs as well as canned water chestnuts at Asian supermarkets in their preserved ingredients section.

Nutrition

Calories: 372kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 247mg | Potassium: 142mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 3mg