Banh Bao or Vietnamese Steamed Pork Buns, is a savory and fluffy type of bun that is beloved by millions all around the world. Its filled with pork meat, quail egg, and a variety of other ingredients, then wrapped inside a soft and fluffy bun. All of which brings together one of the best foods you’ll have ever tried.
This is delicious!
That was my first impression when I had taken the first bite out of the amazing food called a “Banh Bao”.
I was a little kid back then, following my parents around a Vietnamese mall called “Hong Kong City Mall”, here in Houston, Texas.
We were walking around browsing around shops for home decorations to buy and I was craving for some food. Luckily right next door, there was a food shop that sold sandwiches and buns for people to buy.
My mother took me to that shop and asked what I wanted. I didn’t know it at first, but I smelled something really amazing coming from the counter top. I pointed at it and wondered what this round white bread looking thing was.
So my mother grabbed one of them, paid for it, and then gave it to me. I don’t remember much from that time, but I do remember that it was insanely hot, but also absolutely delicious. Each and every bite that I took made me want it more and more.
We ended up going home with a bag full of these buns.
Now that I am all grown up, I realized just how easy these buns were to make. I am always finding myself making these whenever I am in the mood to eat some super delicious buns. After all, it only takes a few hours and “BAM”, you got yourself an entire platter full of these buns.
My recipe I am showing you today will teach you how to make these buns in the most simplest way possible as well as having maximum flavor.
So if you’re ready, lets get started!
What Is Banh Bao
What is a Banh Bao / Vietnamese Steamed Pork Bun you might ask?
Well for starters, banh bao is basically a steamed bun that has many Vietnamese traits.
The bun basically consists of ground pork meat mixed in with a variety of other ingredients like wood ear, onions, Chinese sausage, and a few other seasonings. Top it off with a quail egg and then wrap it up inside a warm dough.
Once steamed, the dough will become amazingly fluffy and tastes absolutely delicious. Meanwhile, the pork meat and quail eggs provide a nice savory texture that is juicy in taste as well as being full of flavor.
If you have a Vietnamese community near you, you can commonly find this bun being sold by many Vietnamese vendors all around.
It’s a comfort food that is enjoyed by millions of Vietnamese people all around the world. And once you learn how to make it, you’ll be able to enjoy it as well!
Difference Between Chinese Steamed Pork Bun and Vietnamese Steamed Pork Bun
If you have ever seen a Chinese Steamed Pork Bun before, then you’ll probably imagine that it is extremely similar to that of the Vietnamese Steamed Pork Bun.
And in truth, it actually is.
After all, these buns originated from China and was later adapted by the Vietnamese with some unique twists and changes.
In a typical Chinese Steamed Pork Bun, you would usually find pork meat mixed in with a few vegetables and the addition of five-spice powder.
In a Vietnamese Steamed Pork Bun, you would usually find the same ingredients however they would also add a quail egg and instead of five-spice, they would use fish sauce.
It’s only minor differences but each one has their own unique flavor and tastes.
By the way, if you want a really awesome Chinese Steamed Pork Bun Recipe, check out the one I did by clicking here.
Why This Recipe Works?
- Using milk instead of water for the dough provides a whiter color fluffy bun that is extremely pleasing to look at as well as tasting delicious.
- Using a touch of fish sauce gives the entire banh bao a unique and intricate flavor.
- Bun is soft and fluffy while inside is extremely juicy and flavorful. Definitely one of the best buns you’ll ever make.
Ingredients To Make Banh Bao
The ingredients needed to make Banh Bao / Vietnamese Steamed Pork Bun are all extremely easy to find.
Basically you’ll need the following ingredients:
- All-Purpose Flour – 2 Cups All Purpose Flour plus 3 to 5 Tablespoons more Flour
- Baking Powder – 2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- Milk – 3/4 Cup Milk
- Vegetable Oil – 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- Granulated Sugar – 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
- Instant Yeast – 1 Pack Instant Yeast
- Ground Pork – 1 Pound Ground Pork
- Wood Ear Mushroom – 1/4 Cup Wood Ear Mushroom (Hydrated) (Diced)
- White/Yellow Onion – 1/2 White or Yellow Onion (Diced)
- Chinese Sausage – 2 Links of Chinese Sausage (Diced)
- Green Onion – 2 Stalks of Green Onion (Diced)
- Quail Eggs – 10 Quail Eggs (Hard Boiled)
- Fish Sauce – 2 Teaspoon Fish Sauce
- Oyster Sauce – 1 Tablespoon Oyster Sauce
- Granulated Sugar – 1 Teaspoon Granulated Sugar
- Chicken Bouillon Powder – 1/2 Teaspoon Chicken Bouillon Powder
- Salt – 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- Ground White Pepper – 1/2 Teaspoon Ground White Pepper
How To Make Banh Bao
Making Banh Bao / Vietnamese Steamed Pork Bun is a relatively simple thing todo.
Basically, to make Banh Bao, you’ll need to do the following:
Prepping The Dough
First thing you’ll want to do is warm up your milk. Simply pop it in the microwave for a few seconds until it is warm then take it out.
After that, add in your sugar to the milk and mix it well until the sugar fully dissolves. Then add in your packet of yeast and stir it into the mixture. Let it rest for about 5 minutes.
Once time is up, grab a large mixing bowl. Add in your flour and baking soda. Then slowly pour in your milk mixture into the mixing bowl. Add in your vegetable oil and then start mixing things around until the contents start to form into a dough.
Note: If it is still a bit watery, you can add in 3 to 5 more tablespoons of flour until it can start to form into a dough.
Dust your work surface with some flour, and place your dough on top of it. Then start kneading the dough for a good 10 minutes.
After that, place the dough back into the mixing bowl and cover it up with a kitchen towel. Place the bowl somewhere warm and let it proof/rest for about 1 hour.
Prepping The Filling
While your dough is resting, it’s time to prep the filling.
Grab your diced yellow/white onions and get ready to cook them. Pour some oil into a pan over medium-high heat and wait for it to get hot. Once the oil is nicely hot, pour in your onions and cook them around until they are soft and fragrant.
Then turn off the heat and transfer the onions to a bowl where it can cool off for a bit.
Grab another mixing bowl, and add in your ground pork meat, diced wood ear mushrooms, diced Chinese sausages, diced green onion stalks, diced and cooked yellow/white onions, fish sauce, oyster sauce, granulated sugar, chicken bouillon powder, salt and ground white pepper.
Mix it thoroughly until everything is incorporated with each other. Then divide it into 10 equal sections, so that it’ll be easier to work with later.
Then set it aside and wait until the dough has finished resting.
Making The Banh Bao
Once the dough has finished resting, it’s time to make your banh bao,
Dust your work surface with some more flour, and then take your dough out and place it on top of the surface. Knead the dough for a few more minutes and then it’s time to start.
Cut the dough in half with a knife, and start rolling both doughs into a fat log shape dough.
Then using a knife, Cut each log shaped dough into 5 equal sections. You should have 10 sections total. Don’t worry if one is a little bit smaller than the others, that is fine.
Using a rolling pin, roll each section into a flat circle shaped dough. You want the circle to be around 4 to 6 inches wide, depends on how big you want it to be.
Earlier we divided the filling mixture into 10 equal sections. Now you’ll see why. Using a spoon, grab 1 of the filling mixture sections and place it onto the middle of the circle shaped dough.
Then grab 1 hardboiled quail egg and place it in the middle of the filling.
Using your fingers, slowly pinch together the sides of the dough to slowly seal the dough up.
Here is a picture of what you should do:
Give it a final twist at the top to make sure it’s sealed and then set it aside.
Repeat until you have used up all of the dough and filling and have made a total of 10 Banh Bao’s.
Steaming The Bao Bao
Before you steam, you should first get your parchment paper ready. This is so that the banh bao’s won’t stick to the steamer basket.
Grab a large sheet of parchment paper, and cut them up into 10 squares, enough to fit each of the banh bao’s.
Grab your steamer basket, and place each banh bao on top of a parchment paper onto the basket. Make sure to leave about 1 inch room all around between the banh bao’s and basket. Then let it sit there and rest for an additional 10 minutes.
After that, it’s time to steam!
Using your favorite steamer method, I use a wok, fill it with some water and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.
Once the water is boiling, place your steamer basket with the banh bao’s into the water and let it start steaming. The entire steaming process should take around 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, turn off the heat.
The banh bao’s are now ready to eat.
How To Store/Keep For Future Eating
The best thing about these delicious banh bao’s is that they are easily able to be stored for future eating.
Basically, if you have any leftovers, simply wrap them up with some plastic wrap or put them in a air-tight container. Then it can stay in the fridge where it should be good for around a week. Or if you want to freeze them, then they can be frozen for up to 2 months.
As for re-heating, this is a simple process.
Basically, take out the banh bao’s from the fridge or freezer. Then set up your steamer and steam them until they are nice and soft while the middle of the bao is hot.
FAQS About This Recipe
Yes, you can freeze freshly made banh bao for up to 2 months.
Vietnamese Steamed Bun actually originated from China. They are mostly similar except Vietnamese Steamed Buns uses quail eggs in addition with the pork meat. Also instead of five-spice powder they use fish sauce.
Yes, you can use any type of meat filling you want. In fact, ground chicken meat works perfectly well with banh bao’s.
Tips For Making The Fluffiest And Delicious Banh Bao Ever
- For Maximum Flavor – Use a fattier cut of ground pork meat.
- Make sure to knead the dough really well so that it can become smooth and fluffy once everything is cooked and ready.
- Make sure to let the dough rest in a warm location. This will give the dough enough chance for it to rise to its maximum potential.
- Using Milk instead of Water for the dough helps produce a whiter dough with a unique flavor.
Banh Bao Recipe (Vietnamese Steamed Pork Buns)
- Steamer Basket
- Parchment Paper
Ingredients For Dough
- 2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 3/4 Cup Milk
- 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Packet Yeast
Ingredients For Filling
- 1 Pound Ground Pork
- 1/4 Cup Wood Ear Mushroom Diced
- 1/2 White/Yellow Onion Diced
- 2 Links Chinese Sausage Diced
- 2 Stalks Green Onion Diced
- 10 Quail Egg Hard-Boiled and Peeled
- 1 Tablespoon Oyster Sauce
- 2 Teaspoon Fish Sauce
- 1 Teaspoon Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon Chicken Bouillon Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground White Pepper
Prepping The Dough
- First you'll want to warm up your milk. So grab a microwavable bowl and microwave your milk until it is warm. Then add in your sugar and stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. After that, add in your yeast and stir it around. Then let it sit for about 5 minutes.
- Grab a large mixing bowl, then add in your all-purpose flour, baking powder and vegetable oil. Then pour in your milk mixture slowly while mixing the contents around.When mixing, you should see that the contents is starting to form into a dough.Note: If it is still a bit watery, add a few more tablespoons of flour until it can form into a dough.
- Dust your work surface with some flour and then place your dough onto the surface. Start kneading the dough for a few minutes until it is nice and smooth. Then place it back into the mixing bowl and cover it up with a kitchen towel.Place the bowl somewhere warm where it can rest/proof for around 1 hour.
Prepping The Filling
- Before you do anything, you'll need to cook your diced onions.Grab a pan and pour some oil into it over medium-high heat. Once it's hot enough, cook your onions until they are soft and fragrant. Then transfer it to a bowl to cool down.
- Grab a mixing bowl, and add in your ground pork meat, diced wood ear mushrooms, diced Chinese sausages, diced green onion stalks, diced and cooked yellow/white onions, fish sauce, oyster sauce, granulated sugar, chicken bouillon powder, salt and ground white pepper.Mix it all together until everything is nicely mixed.
- (Optional) Divide the filling mixture into 10 equal sections. This will come in handy in the later steps.
Making The Banh Bao
- By now, 1 hour should be up.Grab your dough and transfer it to a flour dusted work surface.Knead the dough for a few more minutes. Then cut the dough in half. Roll both halves of the dough into a log shape dough. Then using a knife, cut both log shaped doughs into 5 equal sections. Don't worry if one section ends up a bit smaller, that is normal.You should have 10 equal dough sections at this point.
- Using a rolling pin, roll each dough section into a large circle shaped dough. It should be around 4 to 6 inches wide in diameter depending on how big you want your banh bao to be.
- Now this is where separating the filling mixture into 10 equal parts comes in handy. Take 1 section of the filling mixture and place it in the middle of the circle shaped dough.Then grab 1 quail egg and place it in the middle of the filling mixture.
- Using your fingers, slowly pinch together the sides of the dough until it starts to seal itself up. You can look at the picture above for reference.After sealing the entire dough up, it should now form into a banh bao. Give the top a little twist to ensure the seal is completely tight, then set it aside.
- Repeat for the rest of the dough and fillings until you have used up all of your ingredients and have made 10 banh baos.
Steaming The Banh Bao
- Before steaming, you have to get your parchment paper ready.Grab your parchment paper and cut it into 10 little squares, enough for each square to fit 1 banh bao.
- Grab your steamer basket and open it up. Place your banh bao onto a piece of parchment paper and then place it into the steamer basket. Make sure to leave about 1 inch room separating the banh baos from each other as they will expand during the steaming process.
- After putting all of your banh bao's into your steamer basket, let them rest for up to 5 to 10 minutes.During this time, prep your steaming method.
- If you're using a wok, fill it up with some water over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil.Once it is boiling, transfer your steamer basket with the banh baos onto the boiling water and let it start steaming. The entire steaming process should take 20 minutes for the banh baos to fully cook.
- After 20 minutes, you're banh baos should be fully cooked and ready.Turn off the heat and serve your banh baos immediately.
Did you try making my Banh Bao / Vietnamese Steamed Pork Bun? If so, how were they? I would love to hear all about it down in the comment section below or you can connect with my on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram.
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