Steamed Bao Buns with BBQ Chicken and Fresh Veggies

Earlier this fall I had the chance to visit Nourish Cafe and Cooking School and take the Contemporary Chinese cooking class. We learned how to make tasty, healthy versions of some great Chinese dishes. They are not complicated recipes, so you can make them at home – even on a weeknight after work. I also love that Nourish supports local farmers, focuses on organic ingredients and incorporates tons of fresh veggies in each dish. The owner Dan and his team made the night fun and engaging, and he has allowed me to blog about one of his recipes. So here it is!

This version of steamed bao buns switches things up by flattening out the ‘bun’ into an almost plate-like shape – great for piling tons of BBQ chicken and fresh veggies on. Although the ingredient list is long, don’t fear, this comes together quickly, especially on the second and subsequent tries…. and once you try, you will make it again!

You will need a bamboo steamer for this recipe.

The bao dough comes together easily in a food processor and once you’ve got it rolled out and steamed this is what it will look like:


The fun part is piling on all the fresh ingredients. The more and the messier the better.

Steamed Bao Dough with BBQ Chicken and Fresh Veggies

A new take on an old classic. 

Author Megan


Steamed Bao Dough

  • 1 can (400g) Coconut milk
  • 2 filled coconut milk cans / 500g white flour I found this to work out to about 4 cups of flour
  • 7 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of sea salt

Chinese BBQ Chicken

  • 2 tbsp cane sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Five Spice powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper can substitute black pepper if you don't have this on hand
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or Tamari
  • 1/2 tsp Sesame oil
  • 2 tsp Hoisin sauce
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp Sunflower OIl
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • 2 cups Boneless chicken thighs (about one 6-8 thighs)

Suggested Toppings

  • Shredded carrots
  • Chopped red cabbage
  • Slice radishes
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Chopped green onion
  • Roasted sesame seeds

Quick Pickle Cucumber

  • 1 1/4 English cucumber, sliced
  • 1 tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Maple Syrup
  • Pinch of Sea salt


Steamed Bao Dough

  1. Fill half a large pot with water, and heat to boil. This pot will be used with a steamer. 

  2. Add flour, baking powder and a good pinch of salt into a bowl and toss well. Add the coconut milk to a food processor with a S-blade, and then add the flour mixture. 

  3. Whiz to a dough, then transfer to a flour-dusted surface and roll into a thick sausage. Dust with flour as needed to make sure it doesn't stick to your surface or your hands. 

  4. Cut into 8 equal-sized pieces, roll each piece flat, roughly 1/2 cm thick. 

  5. Water in pot should be boiling steady on a medium heat. Place dough on parchment paper to prevent sticking, and put in steamer. Cover and steam buns for 12 minutes. 

Chinese BBQ Chicken

  1. Whisk all sauce ingredients together. Refrigerate in a seal-tight container for up to 14 days. This recipe makes about 85 ml of sauce - I usually double because I like lots of sauce!

  2. Preheat oven to 425 F. Place chicken on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Cover with BBQ sauce. 

  3. Bake chicken for 12 minutes, then broil for approx. 5 minutes. 

Quick Pickle Cucumber

  1. Slice cucumber thinly and place in a bowl. Add all ingredients and let sit for 15-20 minutes. 

To Plate the Bao and Chicken

  1. Place one bao bun per plate. Top with chopped up BBQ chicken, then top with quick pickled cucumber and with toppings of your choice. Drizzle with some extra sauce if desired. 

One Reply to “Steamed Bao Buns with BBQ Chicken and Fresh Veggies”

  1. Sounds like a Christmas meal and sounds great!

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