Spicy Pork Bao Buns

These classic Chinese fluffy, steamed buns filled with hoisin-spiced pork are the perfect addition to any party buffet or platter of canapés.


For the buns:

  • 7g fast-acting dried yeast
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk powder
  • 350g plain flour

For the filling:

  • 400g pork fillet
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp five spice
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp cornflour (dissolved in 1 tbsp of rice wine)


  1. Begin by making the filling. Finely dice the pork, then heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan until browned and cooked through. Throw in the spring onions and fry for 1 min, then add the hoisin, soy sauce, honey, five spice, chilli flakes and cornflour mix. Stir everything together, then simmer for 5 minutes before transferring to a bowl and leaving to cool. Once cool, cover and refrigerate.
  2. Mix 200ml of warm water together with the yeast and oil in a measuring jug. Get a stand mixer and tip all of the dry ingredients into the bowl, along with a pinch of salt. Turn on and gently mix in the yeast mixture.
  3. Once the dough begins to form together, put the speed on medium and knead for around 10 minutes until soft and smooth. Turn out into an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size (usually about 2-3 hours).
  4. Remove the dough from the bowl, knock it back, and knead for 1 minute on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into two pieces, and roll into two equally sized cylinders. Then cut each cylinder into 16 pieces.
  5. Press the dough pieces into flat discs, and place one the palm of your hand. Pop in 1 tsp of the pork filling, then bring the sides up and pinch together at the top. Repeat with the remaining dough and mixture.
  6. Cut circles of baking parchment (one for each bun) and arrange on a baking tray, taking care that they don’t touch each other. Leave to rise for a further 30 minutes.
  7. Bring a pan with a steamer to the boil, then lay the buns in the steamer compartment along with their parchment bottoms. Cook for 10-12 minutes in batches. Remove from the steamer and serve immediately with some chilli sauce.

Lead image: tonivisuals via Getty images.