Peking Chicken with Steamed Buns

Peking Chicken

Oh how I so wish that the title of this post was Peking Duck, not Peking Chicken….sigh….while I’ll go to any lengths to satisfy my cravings, this one was just a little too involved. I mean, I’d have to go buy a frozen duck, defrost it, air-dry in front of a mighty fan for 4 hours, roast it and then eat.  So, this was my little “make-do” – using chicken breasts. And yes, I know its supposed to be Pancakes, not Steamed Buns, but heck, I really yearned to sink my teeth into a steaming hot, soft bun. On top of that, I wanted to show my kids that it was really the Chinese who invented the hamburger.

Naturally, I called my Mom. “Hi Mom! Can you teach me to make Steamed Buns?”

“You bery hungwy?”


“Ok, do lazy shortcut! Go to store, buy Pews-bewry dough in can. Make steam bun.”

So, off to the store I went, in search of the Pews-bewry dough in can. Wait. Did she say breadsticks? croissant? extra buttery stab me with a butter churn waiting for heart attack dinner rolls? Hmmm…..pwobee betta buy craw-sant.

Ooooh….no. Steaming the croissant was a disaster. Result was a globby mess of greasy disks. Time for PLAN B….luckily I had this:

Bun Flour

It’s in Vietnamese, which I can’t read, but has English directions. Basically, I think the translations says, “Betta dan steam craw-sant stupid girl.”

Yes….it worked beautifully. But I wonder why my Mom told me to get the Pillsbury in a can? She’s never steered me wrong. Is she getting old and getting her recipes mixed up? It wasn’t until the next day:

“Oh, I find recipe-ah! Pews-bewry butta-milk bis-cit!”

Update 7/2/12 I FINALLY had a chance to try Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuit as a cheater steamed bun – AMAZING RESULTS! – See recipe for Pork Belly Buns

Peking Chicken


Peking "Chicken"

Servings: Prep Time: Cook Time:
Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 1.16.14 PM

(a.k.a Chinese Hamburger!)


4 chicken breasts, skin on
1-1/2 teaspoons five spice powder
3 slices of ginger, smashed with side of knife
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Shao Hsing rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 tsp table salt)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


1. Using the tines of the fork, prick holes through the skin and meat of the chicken. This allows for the marinade to seep through. Combine all the rest of the ingredients and marinate the chicken breasts for up to 4 hours.

2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Drain the breasts, discard marinade, and pat the chicken very dry, especially the skin side. Heat 3 tablespoons of cooking oil in large oven proof fry pan on high heat. When oil is hot, place chicken, skin side down in the pan. Fry until the skin is golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. (tip: don't move the chicken when you are frying it. just leave it alone and let it fry to crisp up) Turn skin side up and place oven proof fry pan in the oven for 15 minutes, until cooked through. Timing really depends on how thick your chicken breasts are. I always use a quick read thermometer to check the chicken about 80% of the way through - internal temperature of the chicken breast should be 160 degrees. This method beats guessing and assures me that I don't overcook the chicken. Also, if you don't have an oven proof fry pan, just transfer the chicken to roasting pan or baking sheet.

3. Remove from pan and let rest on cutting board for 10 minutes. Carefully cut the chicken breast into thin 1/2" slices - try cutting on the diagonal to get nice, long, thin slices.

Steamed Bun

(makes approximately 12 buns - look on the package for specifics)

1 package of steamed bun mix (I used D&D Gold)
12 squares of parchment or wax paper, 4"x4"
sesame oil & pastry brush

1. Follow package directions on mixing and kneading the dough.

2. After letting dough rest for 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a long log, about 1-1/2" in diameter. Using a knife or pastry scraper, cut dough into 12 equal sized "golf ball" sized pieces. While working with one piece, keep the rest covered under a towel.

3. Roll one piece in the palms of your hands to make a nice, smooth ball. Roll out into a circle with a rolling pin. Use a cookie cutter 3" wide (or get a small canned food item, open top and bottom and use that as a cutter. thats was my improvisation) to cut the dough into an even circle. Using the back of your knife, gently crease the middle of the circle (careful not to cut all the way through - just a little crease). This is your folding mark - the crease will help keep the bun folded while steaming. Fold the dough in half on the crease. Place the dough on the parchment paper. Brush surface with a little bit of sesame oil. Cover with towel. Repeat with rest of dough.

4. Place all dough in bamboo steamer, making sure that they aren't too crowded and that they don't touch. Steam for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let it sit undisturbed for another minute. 5. Just before serving, re-steam for an additional 2 minutes to warm up the bun. Its best served steaming hot and in the bamboo steamer to keep them all warm.

To Serve

1 English or Japanese cucumber, cut into very thin julienned strips, soaked in 1 cup ice cold water, drain before serving
3 green onion stalks, cut into the thinnest possible shavings, soaked in 1 cup of ice cold water. drain before serving
1/2 cup Hoisin Sauce

To Eat

Open bun up (careful not to break it apart!), slather some Hoisin sauce, add 3 slices of chicken, a few cucumber strips, some green onion shavings. Open mouth wide. Eat your Chinese Hamburger.

Chinese Steamed Fish

Chinese BBQ Pastries

Host your own Sushi Party

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Comments 20

  1. MeltingWok

    hehe, speaking of cod fish sperm sac, I still have a pix. in my desktop, I thought it would be too weird to post it in my blog, which by the way, I ended up making tempura dusted with turmeric spice, double weirdness, double delish. Ah..your double folded buns looked great, 1/2 a dozen plzzzz ? 🙂

  2. Pingback: Xiao Long Bao - Shanghai Steamed Soup Dumplings « Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen

  3. melissa

    I just have a question.. I want to go the really quick route and use Pillsbury to make the buns.. but I don’t have a bamboo steamer, so how would I go about doing this?

  4. SteamyKitchen

    Hi Melissa- you don’t need a bamboo steamer. Just use a large wide stockpot. You’ll have to do the buns in batches, but it will work. Fill pot with a couple inches of water. Use an inverted bowl to prop up a plate. Put the buns on the plate. Cover and steam. Just make sure you check the water level between batches. If you don’t have a small bowl, take an empty small can (the same can that I use as my cookie cutter in the recipe) and use that to prop up the plate.

    Right before serving, throw all the buns on the plate one last time and re-steam to heat them all up. You want to serve them hot.

    I haven’t tried the Pillsbury dough yet – let me know how it goes.

  5. Pingback: Red Bean Paste Steamed Buns (???) « The Little Flower at the End of the Rainbow

  6. Kate

    Are the buns made with rice flour or wheat?
    Can you share a homemade – non-mix – recipe for them?

  7. Petite Kitchen

    This post reminds me of my mom, and was fun to read. I love steamed buns with all kinds of fillings. Clever, using steamed buns like hamburger buns. I’ll have to try that.

  8. shazlin


    I like to noe wt is steamed bun mix and where cn I get (Spore or Malaysia). Cn u pls post packaging pic of it pls tks 🙂

  9. Judy

    Hi Jaden,

    I have been a lurker on your site for a while. I have learned to make all kinds of stuff that never came out right before. I had to write and tell you that my picky teenaged sons loved the peking chicken on steamed buns. I bought the frozen ones at the local Asian Grocery and they worked just fine. Thanks for all the great recipes. My sons really appreciate the recipe for fried rice.

  10. Ginny

    Peking chicken!!! I love Peking duck, but can’t find duck anywhere except those who-knows-how-long-it’s-been-frozen duck in the tiny Asian store in town (don’t quite dare buy things there too often. There are sauces that expired 5 YEARS ago!) Will definitely try it out next week (unfortunately already bought grocery for this week).
    I used your NK bread, challah and cupcake pop recipes so far and they were huge success! Thank you!

  11. Vickshi

    my mom (chinese but grew up in vietnam) uses the same banh bao packages for her semi-homemade peking duck too! but she takes a huge shortcut: she buys roast duck and re-roasts it. haha. i can’t wait to share this with my mom! thanks!

  12. Kikukat

    I want to make this as soon as the stores reopen (it’s new years). I live in a small town in Hawaii and no Chinese restaurant here serves Peking Duck. When I go to Honolulu is when I Get to eat it. Unfortunately, I’m not crazy about duck meat (just love the crackly skin), so your chicken recipe is a godsend.


  13. So Kincaid

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is excellent website. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back… So Kincaid

  14. imelda

    I am from Ipoh Malaysia. I agree with you this is a fantastic webside to learn how to cook. I really enjoy it. can you share a steam bun skin recipe using basic flour recipe for I cant get the ready packet here in my small hometown.thanks

  15. Connie Lam, Auckland, New Zealand

    Hi Jaden, I just came onto your site and read your article on Peking Chicken with Steamed Buns. I admit not many things in life make me laugh out loud any more but reading your story made me giggle, especially in relation to your mum. I could relate to it as I’m originally Malaysian-Chinese. I look forward to your other blogs! You’re funny 😀

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