Sticky Crispy Chicken coated in sweet and salty Chinese BBQ sauce… Fresh and crunchy Asian-style Cabbage Slaw… A light and fluffy steamed bao bun… Have we said enough to make your mouth water? Our absolute favourite appetizer (or even a main meal), these Sticky Crispy Chicken Bao Buns can be made completely from scratch! These are ridiculously delicious, so if you’re looking for a bunch of compliments from your family or guests, go on and try these delicious chicken bao!
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Best Steamed Bao Buns
We are advocates of homemade food. I feel that if you have the time to spare, your meal will taste better if made completely from scratch! And of course, it will give you a sense of achievement. And… perhaps most importantly, you can take full credit and bathe in the sea of compliments you receive at your dinner table.
So whilst you can buy bao in most large supermarkets these days, we highly recommend making your own Steamed Bao Buns. Don’t worry, you don’t need a bamboo steamer for them, as long as you have a metal steamer pan or an electric vegetable steamer.
Sticky Chinese BBQ Chicken Filling
We love making steamed buns, and we try to experiment with different fillings all the time, but so far Sticky Chinese BBQ Chicken Filled Bao are our firm favourite. Sweet, salty, crunchy and sticky – what’s not to like? There are two elements to this filling: the sauce and the chicken itself.
Make the Chinese BBQ Sauce (Char Siu)
If you are short on time, you can pick up a jar of Char Siu from the shop, or order it online. But if you have 10 extra minutes, this sticky sweet sauce is a breeze to make. Simply follow our Chinese BBQ Sauce Recipe and use it as a sauce for the chicken.
Cook the Chicken
Cut the chicken breasts into small thin strips. You really need to spend the time here and make them small, as they will need to fit into the bao buns. Furthermore, small pieces mean more surface area for the coating, which translates into an extra crispy chicken filling.
In a large bowl, mix the cornflour and plain (all-purpose) flour. Add the chicken strips, and using your hands, mix the chicken until every single bit is covered in flour.
Heat a generous glug of oil (like vegetable or sunflower oil) in a large non-stick frying pan (you may need to use two pans in order not to overcrowd the pan). Add the chicken to hot oil and let it sizzle on medium-high for a couple of minutes. Make sure the chicken strips have space, otherwise they will stew and won’t crisp up. You can always fry the chicken in batches. Stir and brown the chicken on all sides. Place the chicken strips on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any extra oil.
Wipe the pan clean and add the Chinese BBQ Sauce. Stir for a minute until it warms up. Then add the crispy chicken into the pan and stir just enough to coat.
And here you have it! Your Sticky Chinese Chicken Filling!
Vegetables for Filling
We absolutely love this filling with our Asian Cabbage Slaw with Sesame Mayo. Not only does it add the extra crunch, but it also gives that extra bit of creamy mayo, making the filling moist and irresistible. And we simply cannot imagine food without any vegetables: so we added 6 different veggies into our tasty slaw that goes so well with this Bao bun chicken filling.
Homemade Red Cabbage Slaw is perfect for bao buns too!
Alternative Bao Bun Fillings
We absolutely love filling these homemade steamed buns with:
- Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork
- Sticky Crispy Chinese Pork Belly In A Slow Cooker
- Satay-Style Jackfruit (that we also use in vegan burgers)
- Crispy Honey Chicken
- Crispy Chilli Chicken | Chinese Fakeaway
- Crispy Chilli Beef
We are currently in the process of developing a few other delicious bao bun recipes, that will be posted at the beginning of 2024. We have a wonderful Japanese-inspired salmon recipe as well as a mouth-watering plant-based option. Keep an eye out for these recipes early next year!
How To Make Chicken Bao Into a Main Meal?
We make bao buns as a main meal for dinner all the time. They are both a meal and an experience, as we each assemble our own buns at the table. Whilst it is a messy meal to eat, it is certainly a lot of fun! Just keep a handful of napkins close by.
Serve 5-6 crispy chicken bao buns per portion, and if you have a hungry family, simply add edamame beans and garlic-chilli stir-fried broccoli on the side!
Crispy Chicken Bao are perfect as an appetizer at a party. They can be served as a two-bite canape, or 1-2 buns per portion as a starter at a sit-down meal. If you’re looking to serve these as a main meal, I would recommend 5-6 per portion.
Only individual elements can be reheated. You can place the Chinese Bao Buns back into a steamer for 1-2 minutes to reheat. Heat the Chinese BBQ sauce in a pan and then stir the chicken through it for 1-2 minutes to warm up. The chicken will have lost some crispiness, of course, but it will still taste nice.
Other Chinese Recipes To Try
We love to eat at Chinese Restaurants, have Cantonese Take-Aways and cook Oriental meals at home! Here are some of our favourite homemade meals:
- Crispy Chilli Beef | Home-Made Chinese Take-Away Favourite
- Quick & Easy Honey Chicken
- Crispy Tofu Kung Pao
Sticky Crispy Chicken Bao Buns
For Sticky Chicken:
- 500 g chicken breast
- 4 tbsp cornflour
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 300 ml Chinese BBQ Sauce (Char Siu)
- oil for frying
- Cut the chicken breast into small thin strips.
- Mix cornflour and plain flour in a large bowl. Add the chicken and mix thoroughly ensuring every bit of chicken is coated.
- Heat a generous glug of oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add half of the chicken. Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat, then mix and carry on cooking until chicken is browned on all sides and fully cooked through. Spoon the chicken out on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil. Repeat with the rest of the chicken. Alternatively, use two pans.
- Once all the chicken is cooked, wipe the frying pan clean. Add the Chinese BBQ sauce and heat on low for a minute to warm through. Add the chicken back to the pan and stir to coat in sauce.
- Stuff steamed bao buns with a small spoonful of Asian Cabbage Slaw, top with crispy chicken and dig in!