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banh bao recipe
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4.97 from 30 votes

Traditional Banh Bao Recipe (Vietnamese Steamed Pork Buns)

This is an authentic recipe for a classic Vietnamese dish - Banh Bao or Vietnamese Steamed Pork Buns. It has a bao bun filled with ground pork, wood ear mushroom, eggs, and Chinese sausage.
Prep Time2 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: banh bao, banh bao recipe, Vietnamese steamed pork buns
Servings: 16 buns
Calories: 176kcal
Author: Becca Du

Ingredients

Dough

Filling

For steaming

Instructions

  • Prepare your parchment paper pieces. Cut parchment paper into 16 5x5 inch pieces. Set aside.
  • Make the dough. Add flour and baking powder to a bowl and mix. Set aside
  • Heat the milk until warm (100-110 degrees F). Add yeast and mix. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes until it foams. Add the vegetable oil and sugar and stir until combined.
  • Add the wet ingredients to a large mixing bowl and add in your dry ingredients from step 1. Combine with your hands. Once all the ingredients come together, dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Add more flour if the dough seems too wet. The dough has been kneaded enough if you poke the dough, and it slowly springs back at you. Once done, transfer it to an oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Let it rise in a warm place for an hour.
  • While the dough is rising, prepare your other ingredients. Boil your eggs and cut into 4 pieces. Slice your Chinese sausages. Set aside.
  • Make the pork filling. To make your pork filling, combine ground pork, wood ear mushrooms, minced yellow onion, fish sauce, oyster sauce, salt, pepper, and sugar. Mix until just combined. Divide the pork filling into 16 equal, round pieces and set aside.
  • Once the dough is finished proofing, divide it into 16 equal pieces. Roll out each piece into a thin circle that is 4-4.5 inches in diameter. The outer edges should be thinner than the center. Make sure the center is not too thin.
  • Add 1 piece of pork filling, 1 piece of Chinese sausage, and 1 egg piece to the center of the filling. Envelop the filling with the outer edges of the dough. Fold and crimp the dough until it completely  covers the filling. Examples in pictures above. Place each bao on a piece of parchment paper.
  • Prepare your steamer pot. Bring water to a simmer and add a dash of rice wine vinegar. Make sure to sustain a consistent simmer throughout this process.
  • Steam the banh baos for 15-17 minutes. Make sure there is at least 1 inch of space between each bao since they will expand.

Notes

  1. How to make sure your baos are cooked through - To make sure your baos are cooked through, take out 1 bao after 15 minutes to see if it’s cooked. If it’s undercooked, increase the cook time to make sure they’re all cooked through. Variation in the size of your baos and temperature of your steamer can affect the cook time of your baos.
  2. What if I don't have a warm space to proof my dough? - It's important to have a warm space to get your dough to rise. I didn't have a place, so I turned on the oven to the lowest setting for a few minutes and then turneded it off. I then put my dough in the oven with the door closed. Make sure the oven isn't too hot if you do this.
  3. Add oil to the bowl you use to proof your dough - Adding oil to your bowl before proofing is important because it prevents the dough from forming a dry skin.
  4. Do not overfill the bao - Overfilling the bao will cause the dough to stretch and not close properly. If you have to remove some of the pork filling, do it. It’s okay to have some filling leftover after you’ve filled all the baos. I overfilled a few of my bao while testing the recipe, and the bottom of the bao became so thin it ripped when I tried to lift them out of the steamer.
  5. Add vinegar to your water before steaming - Adding vinegar to your water helps give the bao its signature white color.
  6. Storing the banh bao - You can freeze the banh baos to eat at a later time. When you're ready to eat them, pull them out, defrost them, and reheat in the microwave. You can also store banh baos in the freezer pre-steam.
  7. Reheating the bao - The best way to reheat banh bao is to cover it with a wet paper towel and heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Adding a wet towel helps rehydrate the dough because it starts to dry out as you store it in the fridge.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bun | Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 246mg | Potassium: 115mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 78IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 1mg