Friday, June 12, 2009

Banh Bao - Steamed Pork Bun

Banh Bao is a Vietnamese variation of a Chinese delicacy, Baozi. They are steamed buns filled with different meats and sweets. You often find mini steamed buns at Chinese buffets with a sesame paste or a yellow custard filling. Walk into any Chinese bakery and you can fine these beautiful plump buns filled with delicious BBQ pork, char siu. The Vietnamese version is usually filled with a seasoned pork mixture, chinese sausage, and eggs. I like eating my banh bao a certain way by tearing it in half and eating the filling first. My favorite part is the shell so I like to save the best for last.

My mom doesn't like making banh bao very often, but now I understand why. It is very time consuming because you have to wait for the dough to rise, make them, and then steam them. I used to watch my mom make these late at night so they will be ready for breakfast the next morning. I remember her making them for the very first time and they still turn out flawless. The buns are a beautiful white color and soft when you bite into them. I should have paid closer attention because I had a hard time getting them to stay close after steaming. Overall I was satisfied with the outcome and I'm begining to like playing with dough.


1 bag banh bao flour
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of cooking oil
1/2 lb of pork
1/2 medium size jicama diced
1/2 medium size yellow onion diced
1/4 cup of black fungus soften with warm water and then diced
2 chinese sausage link
1 can of quail eggs
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
a couple dash of fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon of chicken bouillon

How to make the dough:

I used the instruction found on the bag

1. Save 1 tablespoon of flour for later use.
2. Combine sugar, flour, and milk.
3. Knead dough for 15 minutes.
4. Add cooking oil to dough and continue to knead for 10 minutes.
5. Wrap up the dough and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.


1. Combine pork, onions, jicama, black fungus, salt, pepper, and fish sauce. Taste to your liking.
2. Cut each sausage link into 10 smaller pieces.
3. Rinse quail eggs.

How to make the bun:

The bag states that you should be able to make 18 buns. I didn't really portion uniformly because I made a few mini buns, a few standard size, and some without fillings. Basically this was a trial cooking of banh bao :) I do suggest you getting a small rolling pin because it's a lot easier to work with.

1. Cut the the dough into smaller portion to your liking and roll it into a ball. Make sure you cover whatever you are not working with because they will harden.
2. Flatten the dough with your palm and then use the rolling pin to shape and flatten your dough more evenly. This is a good time to use the flour you saved from before. Rub some on the rolling pin and the surface you are working on.
3. Once you get it into a flat circular shape, you are now ready for the filling. Scoop about 1/2-1 tablespoon portion of the pork mixture. Add the chinese sausage and quail eggs as well.
4. Begin bringing the corner of the dough to the middle and scrunch them together. Twist and seal the dough together.

It takes about 10 minutes to steam a batch of 5 buns. Enjoy!


Thy Thy said...

Gosh! the small eggs cost a lot here! 2, 3 times than the chicken eggs! :((

Angry Asian said...

i'm so impressed with this! i've thought about making my own banh bao. i enjoy making my own breads, i would assume making my own banh bao would be just as nice.

thanks for sharing the recipe.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the detailed recipe. I made a similar dough recipe some time ago and liked it but it called for kneading a total of thirty minutes. A good workout but too long, so I tried again the other day with my new KichenAid. Sure saves a lot of time but didn't seem like it needed 30 minutes. I also made my version vegetarian by using mushrooms, cabbage and Smart Ground and lots of Thai basil and rau ram.

Thuy said...

Thanks for dropping by Garrick. I love basil and rau ram, must try your vegetarian recipe for banh bao :)

Unknown said...

What brand Bot Banh Bao do you use? The one I use are not as white as yours.

Thuy said...


This is a long time ago and I haven't made this in a while. I don't really pay attention to brand I just grab whatever is available.

Unknown said...

I really need to make this one again. It is heavenly delishhh!

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