Bao buns with spicy pork

Contains pork – recipe is for non-Muslims only

These fluffy steamed Chinese bites are filled with hoisin pork, perfect as part of a party buffet or canapé platter

  • Prep:30 mins
    Cook:40 mins
    plus proving and rising
  • More effort

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 160
  • fat 3g
  • saturates 1g
  • carbs 23g
  • sugars 6g
  • fibre 1g
  • protein 8g
  • salt 0.5g


  • 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp dried milk powder
  • 350g plain flour
  • chilli sauce, to serve
  • 400g pork fillet
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • ½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp cornflour, dissolved in 1 tbsp rice wine


Make ahead

If you want to get organised, prepare these to the point where they are ready to steam, then freeze them in a single layer on a tray. Once frozen, store in a sealed plastic bag, then defrost in the fridge and steam just before serving. 



  1. First, make the filling. Finely dice the pork. Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the meat until cooked through (about 6 mins). Add the spring onions and sauté for 1 min, then add the hoisin and soy sauces and the honey, five-spice powder, chilli flakes and cornflour mix. Simmer for 5 mins, then transfer to a bowl and chill.

  2. In a measuring jug, mix 200ml warm water with the yeast and oil. To make the dough by hand, put the dry ingredients in a mound on your work surface with a good pinch of salt. Make a hole in the middle, pour in the yeast mixture and slowly stir until it comes together. Knead on a floured surface for 10 mins or until the dough is soft. Or to use a standing mixer, put the dry ingredients in the bowl with a good pinch of salt. Turn on and pour in the yeast mixture. When the dough comes together in a ball, keep the speed on medium and knead for 8-10 mins until smooth and soft. Put in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Keep in a warm place until doubled in size (about 2-3 hrs).

  3. Take the dough out, knock it back and knead for 1 min, then put on a floured surface. Cut into 2 pieces and roll each into a fat cylinder. Cut each into 16 pieces. Press a couple of pieces flat (about 7.5cm wide). Put a disc in the palm of your hand and add 1 tsp of the filling. Bring the sides up and pinch together at the top. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

  4. Cut circles of baking parchment and put under each bun. Arrange the buns on a baking tray so they don’t touch each other. Leave to rise for another 30 mins.

  5. Make sure your steamer fits snugly over a pan or use a regular steamer with a pan and lid. Fill the bottom pan with water and bring to a boil. Set the steamer with the buns and their liners over the pan and cook for 10-12 mins. You will need to do this in batches. Remove and eat straightaway with chilli sauce.

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