Soft and Fluffy Banh Bao (Vietnamese Steamed Pork Bun)

Soft and Fluffy Banh Bao (Vietnamese Steamed Pork Bun)

Course: Breakfast, Steamed Buns
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Proofing the buns:: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings: 8 large buns
Author: Marvellina
Soft, fluffy, and smooth Vietnamese steamed buns filled with delicious savory pork filling, hard-boiled eggs, and Chinese sausage.
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Ingredients

Pork filling:

Other fillings:

  • 2 links Chinese sausage
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs or use quail eggs (2 on each buns if you like)

Optional tool:

Instructions

  • Cut the sausage links to 16 small pieces or 8 larger piece. Slice one hard-boiled egg to 4 quarter pieces

Prepare the filling:

  • Cut the chives into about 2-inch pieces. Pour in hot water and let them sit for 10 minutes. Drain off water and squeeze out any excess liquid. Make sure the chives are dry and not wet. Set aside
  • Place the pork, chives, and the rest of the ingredients for filling in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix everything. You can take a small scoop of the filling and cook it quickly in boiling water to taste the seasoning. Add more oyster sauce and/or soy sauce as needed. Cover the filling and let it marinade for at least 30 minutes or overnight

Wrapping the bao:

  • Once you have the basic steamed buns dough, divide the dough into 8 equal portions, flatten the dough with your palm and then use a rolling pin to roll it out to form a circle about 5-6 inches, with a slightly thicker middle part. This is to support the weight of the filling. Don't roll the dough too thin. If you roll the dough too thin, the filling might make the steamed buns "wrinkle" later when you steam
  • FOR ROUND SHAPE: Place about 2 Tbsp of pork filling in the middle, 1-2 Chinese sausage and 1 piece of egg. Gather the edge to enclose into a round ball and place the seam side down. Cup the dough with both palms and move the dough in a circular motion to shape it taller. This part is important so your steamed buns come out tall instead of spreading to the side after steaming
  • Place on a piece of parchment paper. Lightly dab the surface of the bun with some milk using your finger to smooth the surface. Loosely cover with a plastic wrapper to prevent drying. Work with another dough and do the same
  • IF YOU WANT TO PLEAT SOME PATTERNS: Place the char siu filling in the middle. Create a fold around the edge and then pinch to seal. Cup the dough with both palms and move the dough in a circular motion to shape it taller. This part is important so your steamed buns come out tall instead of spreading to the side after steaming. Don't be surprised that the pleats pattern will fade the longer the buns are proofed
  • Place on a piece of parchment paper. You don't need to dab the surface with milk if you have patterns. Loosely cover with a plastic wrapper to prevent drying. Work with another dough and do the same

Proofing:

  • Let the shaped buns proof until about 50% double its original size. They don't have to double in size. This may take about 15-20 minutes, but please don't go by the time, just observe to make sure the buns have puffed up to half its original size before steaming or the buns will be tough. Don't overproof them as well.

Steaming:

  • Most likely your steamer won't be able to accommodate steaming all buns at one go. You may need to steam in 2-3 batches, which means, the rest of the batches will sit longer and continue to proof while waiting for the steamer. Not good for the buns! Here's what you can do: Make sure the cover them with plastic wrap and then place them in the refrigerator to slow down the yeast activity or halt it all together until they are ready to be steamed
  • Bring water in the steamer to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low (more at the low side). Wrap the lid of your steamer with a kitchen towel to prevent moisture dripping on your buns creating burn spots. Place the buns inside the steamer and steam for 18 minutes for large buns like this or 10 minutes if you make smaller size
  • Turn off the heat. Do not open the lid of the steamer. Let the buns sit there for 5 minutes like this. The buns will not sink or wrinkle due to the sudden change in temperature

Cooling:

  • Remove the buns to wire rack to let them cool down. This is to ensure the bottom of the steamed buns will not be wet and soggy. Decorate the top with red edible marker if you like. I just drew some simple flower

Storing:

  • If you make extra and plan to store them, once the steamed buns have cooled down, place them on a baking sheet not touching each other and put them inside the freezer for 1 hour then transfer to a freezer bag

Reheating:

  • They can be reheated in the steamer without thawing. Steam over high heat for 5 minutes