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Chicken Bao

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Chicken Bao

A Chinese dish consisting of steamed Lotus Leaf Buns filled with stewed chicken and topped with pickled cabbage.

Chicken Bao recipe

Recipe Keywords:


servings: 6

total time: 24 hours

recipe by: 


  • 2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 TBSP cornstarch
  • 3 TBSP soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP raw honey
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 TBSP freshly minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 TBSP peanut oil
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • peanut oil



  2. Put the cabbage, carrot, garlic, and crushed red pepper into a large glass jar.

  3. Combine the vinegar, water, and salt in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and stir until salt has dissolved. Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

  4. Pour the cooled liquid into the jar with the vegetables and seal the jar tightly with a lid. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.


  6. Mix the chicken and cornstarch together in a bowl until all the chicken pieces are well coated, set aside.

  7. In a separate bowl mix together the soy sauce, honey, vinegar, water, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

  8. Heat a wok or large saute pan over high heat until the pan is very hot. When the pan is hot add the oil and tilt the wok to coat the bottom and sides. Add the chicken to the pan and cook, stirring often, until chicken is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

  9. Pour the sauce into the pan and stir to combine with the chicken. Bring to a boil then cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 90 minutes.

  10. BAO BUNS:

  11. Add the warm water to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with the yeast. Stir in the flour and baking powder until combined. Add the salt and 1 TBSP of peanut oil and stir until well combined and a dough is formed.

  12. Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and knead by hand for about 5 minutes then form into a smooth ball.

  13. Transfer the dough to a large clean bowl and drizzle 1 tsp of peanut oil on top. Flip the dough ball around a couple times to coat in the oil. Loosely cover the bowl and set aside in a warm place to double in size, about 45 minutes.

  14. Preheat the oven to 475°F.

  15. Transfer the dough to a clean work surface. Punch down the dough and separate into 12 equal size dough balls. Flatten the dough balls into circles roughly 4-inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick. Lightly brush the tops of the dough circles with peanut oil then gently fold the circles in half but dont press or seal them.

  16. Pull out a rimmed baking sheet and pour enough hot tap water to cover the bottom. Lay a wire baking rack onto the baking sheet and lay half the buns on the wire rack. Cover the baking sheet tightly with aluminum foil and place in the preheated oven. Steam the buns in the oven for 12 minutes.

  17. Take the buns out of the oven and carefully remove the foil. Steam the remaining buns the same way just allow the steamed buns to cool for a few minutes before removing them from the wire rack.


  19. Take the lid off the simmering chicken, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Take off the heat and stir in the green onion and peanuts.

  20. Take the pickled cabbage out of the refrigerator, drain and rinse.

  21. Open the buns open and fill with the stewed chicken then top with the pickled cabbage.

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