Food

Weekend dinner ideas: Feast on fried chicken bao

Posted by
Jenny Tregoning
Published

It’s the ultimate weekend dilemma (or any night of the week for that matter): what should I eat for dinner? 

Street food is always high on our list when it comes to weekend feasting. With tempting plates from Peru to Penang, and everywhere in-between, on offer at food markets (or just the click of a button away), we tend to steer clear of attempting to make any of these tasty but often complicated dishes at home.

But after happening upon this tasty - and super easy - bao recipe, we realised that perhaps street food-style snacks weren’t so out of our reach after all. And therefore, not out of yours, either.

Think crispy fried chicken stuffed inside pillowy-soft, steamed bao and zingy veggies, all courtesy of Hong Kong Food City, the new street food cook book by Tony Tan (RRP £20, Murdoch Books).

This street food recipe is enough to make 10 portions of bao, so you’re all set for your next dinner party. Enjoy!

Crispy Chicken Bao Recipe

Serves: 10 individual baos, 4 portions (depending on how hungry you are)

Preparation time: 45 minutes, plus overnight refrigeration and 2 hours’ proving time

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the pickled carrot:

  • 250ml white rice vinegar
  • 125ml water
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200g carrots, julienned

For the marinade:

  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • ½ tsp Chinese five-spice
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp salt, to taste
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp cornflour

    For the filling:

    • 500g boned chicken thighs, cut into 5cm strips
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 300g plain flour mixed with 1 tsp salt
    • Oil, for deep-frying
    • 1 large handful basil
    • 1 large handful coriander

    For the bao dough:

    • 30g caster sugar
    • 125ml lukewarm water
    • ¾ tsp dried yeast
    • 215g cake flour
    • 1½ tsps baking powder
    • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
    • ¼ tsp rice vinegar

    For the Sichuan mayonnaise:

    • 1 tbsp Sichuan pepper oil
    • 200ml mayonnaise

    Method

    Step 1: To make the pickled carrot, simmer the vinegar, sugar, water and salt in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cool completely, then add the carrots and refrigerate overnight.

    Step 2: Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl, add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

    Step 3: To make the dough, dissolve the sugar in the water, stir in the yeast and set aside for 10 minutes until foamy. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Make a well in the centre, add the yeast mixture, oil, vinegar and a pinch of salt, then stir until well combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured bench and knead for 8–10 minutes until the dough is soft and pliable.

    Step 4: Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and set aside in a draught-free place until doubled in size (1–2 hours).

    Step 5: Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a cylinder and cut into 10 pieces. Roll each into a ball, then flatten with the palm of your hand. Sprinkle with flour and roll each into a 15cm oval. Brush with oil, fold in half and press gently. Place on squares of baking paper and leave to prove until doubled in size (about 1 hour). Steam the buns in batches in a steamer until puffed (8–10 minutes).

    Step 6: Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for the Sichuan mayonnaise and set aside. For the filling, combine the beaten eggs and 125ml water in a bowl. Place the seasoned flour in a shallow bowl. Dip the chicken pieces in the eggwash, then the flour, shaking off the excess.

    Step 7: Heat oil in a deep-fryer or wok to 180°C, or until a piece of bread browns in 10 seconds, and deep-fry the chicken in batches until golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. When all the chicken is done, deep-fry the basil for a couple of seconds until crisp. Drain on paper towel.

    Step 8: To serve, stuff the chicken pieces into the split bao with carrots, fried basil and coriander, and top with mayonnaise.

    Recipe from Hong Kong Food City by Tony Tan (£20, Murdoch Books)

    View more recipes from Stylist here.

    Image: Hong Kong Food City by Tony Tan, Murdoch Books

    Topics

    Share this article

    Author

    Jenny Tregoning

    Jenny Tregoning is deputy production editor at Stylist and editor of the Gourmet On-The-Go food pages, where she combines her love of grammar with lusting over images of food.

    Recommended by Jenny Tregoning

    • Food

      Mid-week meal inspiration: delicious and spicy vegan 'dan dan' noodles

      The perfect meat-free Chinese recipe to try out

      Posted by
      Lucy Robson
      Published
    • Food

      Mid-week meal inspiration: curl up with a bowl of spicy Mexican soup

      Healthy comfort food doesn't get much better than this

      Posted by
      Jenny Tregoning
      Published
    • Food

      Delicious vegan comfort food recipes to warm you up this winter

      Delicious, hearty and completely meat-free

      Posted by
      Alessia Armenise
      Published
    • Food

      The 5 best vegan burgers in London

      The juicier plant-based burgers in town.

      Posted by
      Alessia Armenise
      Published
    • Food

      Vegan batch recipes to speed up your week

      From veggie chilli to breakfast bars

      Posted by
      Amy Swales
      Published
    • Food

      The ultimate guide to London’s most fabulous bottomless brunches

      We've searched every corner of the capital, so you don't have to

      Posted by
      Megan Murray
      Published

    Other people read

    More from Food

    More from Jenny Tregoning