As a self-confessed bao bun addict, I was beside myself with excitement when M&S started selling their ready-made baos. Just over a minute in the microwave and you have perfect fluffy buns ready to be stuffed with whichever glutinous filling you set your little heart on.
If your creative juices aren’t flowing then this crisp, sticky fried chicken is not only super easy to make, its also incredibly tasty.
For the chicken
- 6 chicken thigh fillets (skin removed)
- 1 thumb size piece of ginger, grated
- 100g cornflour
- Vegetable oil
For the sauce
- 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp kimchi paste (Korean chilli paste)
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tsp finely chopped or grated garlic (roughly 2/3 cloves)
- 1 thumb-size piece of ginger, grated
- 2 tsp sesame oil
For the pickled courgettes
- 1 medium-sized courgette
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 30ml rice wine vinegar
- 50ml boiling water
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Pack of 6 bao buns (Follow instructions on the pack to prep)
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced lengthways
- Half a cucumber, finely sliced lengthways
- 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tsp Sriracha sauce (or a tsp of kimchi paste)
- Chopped peanuts
1.Start with your courgette pickle. Peel your courgette into ribbons and place to one side. In a small mixing bowl add the ground turmeric, salt, sugar and boiling water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved completely. Once dissolved add the rice wine vinegar and mix again. Now add the courgette ribbons and stir to cover. Place in the fridge until ready to serve.
2.Grab a small saucepan and place on a medium/low heat. Add all of the ingredients that you need for your sauce and stir until sticky and simmering gently. Take your sauce off the heat and place the pan to one side.
3.Cut the chicken thigh fillets in half and remove any fatty excess. Then season with salt, pepper and the grated ginger. Pour the cornflour onto a plate and one by one toss the chicken thighs in the flour until completely coated. Shake off any excess.
4.Heat about 2-3cm of vegetable oil in a wide-based frying pan. Use a small piece of fat (removed from the chicken) to check when the oil is hot. If the oil starts to bubble up around it then you are ready to cook your chicken. Fry the chicken thighs on each side for around 4 minutes until golden. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. I recommend frying in batches.
5.Remove the thighs from the oil once cooked and place onto some kitchen paper to cool for a few minutes – Leaving the oil on the heat. Then place the chicken back into the hot oil and fry until extra crisp. Again, removing and placing onto kitchen paper to cool.
6.Reheat the sauce on low until warm and sticky. Add the fried chicken to the sauce and stir gently until evenly coated. Sprinkle a generous tbsp of sesame seeds in the pan and shake to cover.
7.Now time to build your baos! Mix the mayo and tsp of Sriracha together and put a dollop in each bao followed by a few sticks of spring onion and cucumber. Now for the main event, grab a piece of your sticky fried chicken to nestle in there and finally top your bao with toppings of your choice. Chopped peanuts and fresh chilli are my favourites.
8.Serve your beautiful baos with a nice little heap of courgette pickle and a cold beer. Well, that last bit is up to you…