Vietnamese Bao Buns with Sticky Smoked Duck

I love Asian Street food and this Vietnamese dish is no different. I have used a smoking gun in this recipe but please feel free to miss that bit out if you don’t have one. This recipe is cracking to go with a few beers or as a starter and will make around 6-8 buns depending on how large you make them.


You will need:

3 Duck Breasts

Bunch of Spring Onions

Fresh Coriander

Fresh Red Chillies


For the Bao Buns

260g Plain Flour

1tbs Milk Powder

1 tsp of Dry Yeast

1 tbs Sugar

150ml Warm water

1tsp Baking Powder

2 tbs Sunflower oil (or veg oil)

Good pinch of salt


For the Duck Marinade

4 tbs Dark Soy

1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil

1 tbs Chiu Chow Chilli Oil

1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice

1 tbs Rice wine vinegar


For the Sauce

4 tbs Tomato Ketchup

1 Inch Grated Ginger

3 tbs Dark Soy

1 tbs Chiu Chow Chilli Oil

1 Clove of garlic (crushed)

1 tsp Honey

1/2 tsp Five Spice

Salt and Pepper


  1. Take the duck and place in a large bowl. Add in your marinade ingredients and roll the duck breasts around until coated. Take your smoking gun (I used hickory for this recipe) place clingfilm over the bowl snd slowly fill with smoke. Cover and leave initially for 20 minutes. Re fill the smoking gun and repeat leaving to sit for a further 20 minutes. Release any remaining smoke then re cover and leave in the fridge for at least another 30 minutes but preferably over a hour while you make your Bao dough.

2. To a clean bowl add your dry ingredients. Flour, sugar, salt, milk powder and yeast. Gently mix with a whist then create a well in the middle. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to 150m of water then slowly pout in to the bowl as you whisk. As the dough starts to form clean off the whisk and bring it together with your hands. Lightly flour a surface then begin to kneed the dough. Take your time. Up to 8 minutes or until the dough begins to spring back when you push your finger in. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for an hour.

3. Take the duck from the fridge and place skin side down un a cold pan. Turn the heat to a medium and slowly render the fat. When you feel the skin is nice and crispy (it will go very dark because of the marinade) turn over then cook on the flesh side for about a minute. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees then cook the duck skin side up for about 15 minutes. Once cooked set aside and allow to cool.

4. In a bowl combine the sauce ingredients.

5. Take out your dough and knock it back with your hands. Flour the surface once again and roll the dough out to around a centimetre in width. Use a scone cutter around 8cm wide to cut out the buns. If you don’t have one just cut around a jar or mug. Very lightly oil the surface of each circle then carefully fold them in half. Gently roll a few times just to flatten them a little. Cut some squares of greaseproof paper then cover with clingfilm for another 20 minutes.

5. I used a bamboo steamer but if you have another type that is absolutely fine. Fill the wok with boiling water to about 2 inches from the top. Lay each bun on the paper in your steamer and cook for 10 minutes. Once the ten minutes is up take off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

6. Thinly slice your duck and place in a saucepan. Pour over your sauce then cook on a medium high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Take off the heat then prepare to assemble.

7. Thinly slice the chillies and spring onions and take a few leaves of coriander. Gently prize apart the buns and carefully fill with the duck. Garnish with the chillies, spring onions and coriander. Id say you could have one bun each for a starter.



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