Chicken Baozi (Chicken Steamed Buns, aka Pao)

I must have been around 13 years old when I first became aware of what Pao actually was! The amazing thing about this is that it's my sister who 'introduced' me to Pao (I am really not in the mood to write this introduction right now! and it is seemingly obvious, lacking some creativity, that is what me and Melissa, my Cabbage friend from uni, are arguing on! Oh let us continue, I'll end up writing a crazy intro otherwise!) So yes, I was then tempted to give it a try since my sister kept boasting about how incredibly light the bun and how ambrosial the filling were! And she wasn't wrong! At all!

Years later when my cooking adventures became more adventurous (hahaha), I decided to make my own homemade pao! And today, I am going to share the recipe with you.

[It was a gloomy day today, I am regretful for the lack of brightness in the photos.]

Makes 10 large buns 

  • Measuring Scale
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Steamer
  • Cloth
  • Stove
  • Pressure Cooker or Skillet
  • Stand Mixer/Hand Mixer - you'll need the dough hook.
  • 10 10x10 parchment paper (I am using greaseproof paper for that matter)


For the Bun:
  • 400g of all-purpose flour
  • 200ml of water
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 1½ tsp of instant yeast
  • 3 tbsp of melted butter
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1½ tsp of baking powder

For the Filling:
  • 350g of chicken breast, roughly cubed
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of ground clove
  • 2 whole cloves, break each in half
  • 4 tbsp of oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic paste
  • A pinch of ground ginger
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • A pinch of dried thyme
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp of rice vinegar (optional)
  • 3 drops of sesame oil (optional)
  • 1 chilli, chopped (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • A fine drizzle of oil
  • 1/4 cup of water

  • Combine all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl. Let marinate for atleast 1 hour.

  • Now, combine the dry ingredients for the bun in another bowl (use the stand mixer's if you have one). Using a whisk, mix thoroughly. If you're using your stand mixer, use the paddle attachment for mixing.

  • Finally combine the water and the melted butter. Knead into a soft ball for 12-15 minutes. Alternatively if you're using your stand mixer's dough hook, let it do the trick for 6-8 minutes.
  • Cover the bowl with cling film or a damp cloth and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in volume.

  • Meanwhile, after the marinating time, pour the oil into the pressure cooker, allow heating and then toss in the chicken.
  • Let fry for a minute and then add the water. Give a stir.
  • Cover and allow to cook for 10 minutes or until chicken is tender.
  • Leave the chicken filling to cool and add the chopped green onions.
  • Prepare your steamer by pouring water into the dish you use for steaming. Soak the cloth in water and place onto the steamer's tray. 
  • Degas the dough by kneading for 30 seconds.
  • Divide the dough into 10 balls.
  • Place a towel onto the balls and allow rising for 5 minutes.

  • Roll each ball into a 10 cm disc.
  • Then, transfer the disc onto the palm of your hands. Cup your hand so that the disc will sort of make the cup shape too. Place your index finger inside of the cupped disc alongside down the edge, and push it outwards such that you use your thumb and middle finger to pinch the dough.

  • Repeat alongside.
  • Then put about 2 tablespoon of the filling into the cupped dough.
  • Pinch all the pinched edges into one, so that the bun is 'sealed'.

  • Place the filled bun onto one square of parchment paper. 
  • Transfer the buns to the steamer and let cook for 10-15 minutes.
  • Serve immediately! 

Happy Eating!

  • I used to prepare a different filling before with boiled eggs (quartered it), sautéed chicken sausage (sliced) and sautéed chicken. So that is something you could consider!
  • Make sure you do not wet the pinched edges with the sauce, otherwise 'sealing' the bun might be difficult or even unsealable. 


  1. Thank you Nisha, if you are not a vegetarian, I recommend that you try it :)

  2. Reva,I am a non vegetarian and I love anything with to try these for sure:-)

    1. Ah, we are two then! let me know how they turn out when you try these!!

  3. The first time I ate Pao, I remember well, it was with D ;). They had this "oeuf roti" inside of Pao, which actually made me dislike it to a certain point.
    But then, I saw your recipe, and I tried it, and I absolutely love it.

    The bun is extremely light, and the filling is awesome; which I now, thanks to you, assess Pao, as a food, that I cook myself, once in two months' time.

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment Zeen ;) I'm glad you liked it!! PS: My mom had Kong's Pao on Saturday, when she had a bite of the Oeuf Roti, she dreaded the Pao! She is of the same views that mine is better!

  4. hello,
    Thanks for this excellent recipe...yesterday i made these Paos lil boy who's 7yrs just adore it...
    now he's asking me to bake paos every now and then :)
    It's so easy to bake....J'aurai jamais imaginé qu'un jour j'allais faire mes propres Paos......
    Thank you for sharing your recipes with us...


    ~ Sharonne ~


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