Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Banh Bao Recipe (the SkimmyJeans way)


She's got a catchy name, a spunky personality, and heart of a charitable army. Her fashion sense is trendy but more importantly her taste for great food shines like a 30 qt Diamond Grill.Depending on where you met this young lady, you may know her as Hannah, or my personal favorite @SkimmyJeans. Twitterverse has been absolutely kind to me, as this is where Skimmyjeans and I first bonded over food and fashion. Without further due, Ms.SkimmyJeans is providing my wokkies with her Banh Bao pronounced (Bun Bow) recipe. Little does she know I once entered in a Bun Bao eating contest failing miserably to someone who ate 15 of these but still is on of my favorite snack list. A steamed bun with pork filling, quail eggs, and a bite of love. I introduce to you, Hannah aka @SkimmyJeans, please give her a warm welcome and visit her Twitter page and her fashion blog.

Every week I would look forward to after church school, when I would buy my home-cooked Vietnamese snack in the cafeteria. From spring rolls, egg rolls, rice plates, to pho, the top pick was banh bao (a sweet fluffy roll filled with pork, Chinese sausage, egg, and mushrooms). I would happily hold my bun, and skip away to devour it. Then one day when I was twelve, a kid told all of us that the church banh bao was made from dog meat. Logically I knew it wasn’t true, but I found my eyes shifting toward my meaty roll, and back to the stray dogs in the parking lot. Hence, my banh bao bliss came to an end. I came home and asked my Mom how to make it. With no idea, she handed me the bag of banh bao flour and told me to read the instructions. Since twelve I have produced masses of batches with much trial and error. Through this I learned it’s a fun snack to make with limitless possibilities. There aren’t any rules to what has to be in each one, so I’ve tweaked the recipe with my personal favorites touches. Feel free to add more or less of the things you enjoy most. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to personally share my recipe with many friends, and I’m very humbled to share it with everyone. Enjoy!


2 bags of banh bao flour
¾ cup sugar
½ cup milk
½ cup half & half
1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 shallots minced
3 Chinese Sausages (cut into thin circles)
4 hard boiled eggs (cut into quarters)
1 cup shitake mushrooms
parchment paper

Though this recipe may appear complicated, it’s quick when you get the hang of it. Plus it’s worth it to have such a tasty sweet and salty snack that is insured to be dog-free (hehe).

Mix one bag of flour with the sugar and stir well to distribute sugar evenly. Then add milk and half & half. Stir with a ladle until it gets thick enough to start kneading with your hands. If you notice the dough is still sticky, sprinkle in more flour (the second bag comes handy). Work the dough until it becomes a good consistency, and cover for 30 minutes.

I use this time to prepare and cut other ingredients. Add pork meat, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and shallots together, mixing well. Black pepper and garlic powder can be added to liking.

Now the fun part: separate dough into 11 smaller balls. On a floured surface, spread a dough ball and flatten it out thinly. Then take a small amount of meat in your palm placing the egg slice in the middle, closing your hand to wrap the meat around the egg. Roll this meat ball on the flour surface to prevent the inside bun from getting soggy when you cook it. Place ball onto your spread dough and add 3-4 slivers of both mushroom and sausage. Then take the opposite ends of the dough, bring them together at the top, and pinch them closed. Repeat until all ends of the bun are closed at the top. This isn’t an art contest, so as long as it’s closed we’re happy!

Last you place all buns onto small squares of parchment paper, and then into a steamer. To make buns appear whiter, you can add a tablespoon of vinegar into the steamer water. Buns should be steamed for 30 minutes, or until cooked. Voila, you’re officially a banh bao champion!


This recipe was truly heaven sent, I love Banh Baos as I am sure many of you do as well. Thank you Ms.Skimmy JEAN Hannah for sharing this recipe with us all. Please make sure you guys leave a comment or visit Ms.Hannahs twitter page. Click on the photo below, and here she is Ladies and Gentlemen;


  1. divaFeb 16, 2010 10:00 AM
    Wow these baos are gorgeous. The insides so perfectly made :) GO Skimmyjeans!
  2. ThuyFeb 16, 2010 10:44 AM
    They turned out great...awesome job!!!
  3. Anthony HoangFeb 16, 2010 11:26 AM
    My family and I make bun Bao at our bakery. Never knew about the vinegar to the water part. I'm attempting to make these at home with your recipe. Thanks!!!!
  4. HannahFeb 16, 2010 11:35 AM
    Thanks a lot folks!!! I hope you guys like it! And super thanks to David, cuz you're the coolest!

    Hope it turns out well for you Anthony. Keep us posted how it turns out. Let me know if I can help in any way! Is your bakery in Houston? If so, I'd like to visit!
  5. GastronomerFeb 16, 2010 01:17 PM
    I'm a huge banh bao fan too. The Chiense bbq style is good and all, but the Viet way is tops in my book. The egg really makes it special.
  6. Rasa MalaysiaFeb 16, 2010 01:31 PM
    You made this from scratch? You are unbelieveable. I miss this too, in Malaysia, it's called Tua Bao (big bao) because they are big. I especially love the hard-boiled egg in this bao, so good. Yum.
  7. Girl Japan: April MarieFeb 16, 2010 03:07 PM
    Ooooh.. love the Bao.. it is stuffed to the gills.. I love the one's here in Japan.. although they are not %100 traditional they are not packed like that. I get them at the combini (service mart, convenience store.. which are like going to a chic super that has gourmet food which is microwavable).

    My favorite used to be with Shitake, rice noodles, pork.. etc OH YUM. I love to eat it with hot mustard too.
  8. antkneeFeb 16, 2010 03:38 PM
    hey skimmyjeans, i am gonna do a julia and julia thing except hoang and hoang and cook what's on houstonwok's blog. i will make some for my culinary class on thursday. i will make sure to keep y'all posted. (did i just say y'all?) i will include pictures too. my family's bakery is actually in the DC area. so if y'all are ever this way, let me know!
  9. Shao @ Fried Wontons For YouFeb 16, 2010 03:49 PM
    I want a big bite of this right now! Great job!
  10. Fresh Local and BestFeb 16, 2010 06:50 PM
    This was my favorite thing to eat growing up. Thanks for the warm memories.
  11. Jen's-blog-24-7Feb 17, 2010 10:28 AM
    Thank you, for posting how to make "Banh Bao". When ever I am visitng family on the weekend I get excited because they have these buns for snack, breakfast, on the go... Now I can make it my own in bulk and bring it over to their house.
  12. JoyFeb 18, 2010 04:54 PM
    OMG i would eat these ALL the time in Houston, my mom and I would buy it from this small vietnamese market right by the old Hong Kong market back in the day. Beautiful, great job SkimmyJeans...by any chance are there leftovers? IM COMING TO HOUSTON THIS WEEKEND!!!
  13. SteamyKitchenFeb 24, 2010 06:35 PM
    The sausage is my fav part - I'd have to quadruple the amount of Chinese sausage!!!
  14. Flavor BoulevardMar 2, 2010 11:18 AM
    What's the red thing among the banh bao's in the steamer? Are they lap xuong? You steamed them too? Or is it for coloring/flavor?
  15. HoustonWokMar 2, 2010 11:42 AM
    Yes it's Lap Xuong and its steamed all together for flavoring and aroma of the bun...give it a try, oh man the kitchen will smell really nice.
  16. HannahMar 4, 2010 01:01 PM
    Yeap, lap xuong indeed :D! I like putting extra in there to steam with the buns, and to have on the side for people who like extra. I throw in any leftover eggs, and mushrooms in there too!
  17. AnonymousMar 24, 2010 11:52 AM
    I like mine with Jicama. I noticed that you didn't have it in your ingredients list.
  18. AnonymousJul 31, 2011 08:17 AM
    Mr. Wokkie. I am making these again! And I'm gonna deep fry them afterwards...Hope you are well


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