Easy Siew Mai & Chicken Bao Recipes For A Taste Of Hong Kong At Home


Ili •  May 10, 2021

From bustling shopping spots to amazing attractions, there are plenty of reasons why Muslim travellers have Hong Kong on their bucket list. Besides promising an exciting adventure, Hong Kong is also known for having one of the most unique food scenes in the world with dishes like egg tarts, ‘pineapple’ buns, Hong Kong-style French toast and more. 

If you’re ready to experience a taste of Hong Kong at home, then it’s time to throw your apron on and whip up dim sum classics yourself. Yum Cha is one of the most iconic food experiences in Hong Kong and dim sum happens to play an important role in this timeless ritual. With the help from Malaysian celebrity Chef Ili Sulaiman, prepare to recreate this experience in the comfort of your own home by making chicken siew mai and BBQ chicken bao. Are you ready? Let’s get started ?

1. Chicken Siew Mai

Kick off your culinary journey at home by making none other than siew mai (or shumai). Known as one of the most iconic street foods in Hong Kong, these dumplings are popularly served as part of dim sum. They’re typically made with ground pork filling, shrimps and fish paste but you can easily substitute it with chicken for a halal version like how Chef Ili has done it here. Both flavourful and delicious, it’s the perfect dish for a light meal or snack!

Ingredients (serves 4 pax)

  • 300-400g minced chicken
  • 100g shrimp; peeled and deveined
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup of carrots; grated
  • 4 cloves garlic; minced
  • 40g spring onions; chopped
  • Wonton wrappers

Step 1: Mix all the ingredients

  • In a bowl, add minced chicken, shrimp, salt white pepper, sugar, oyster sauce, sesame oil, egg, grated carrot, garlic and spring onions.
  • Mix them all together until well-combined.

Step 2: Make the siew mai

  • Once mixed, grab a Wonton skin and place about a tablespoon of the meat mixture onto it. Fold the sides upwards until a bowl-like shape is formed.
  • Place 1 prawn from the mixture on top. This is so we can tell when the siew mai is ready (you’ll know once the prawn turns bright red and is cooked).

Step 3: Cook the siew mai

  • In a bamboo steamer lined with cooking paper, add in the siew mai and leave it to cook for about 8-10 minutes.
  • Once cooked, you will notice that the Wonton skin is slightly translucent and the prawns are a bright red colour.
  • Remove and serve.

2. BBQ Chicken Pao

Another local favourite in Hong Kong is pao - more specifically char siu pao (Chinese pork bun). No dim sum meal is complete without this soft and tender bun that comes filled with juicy meat and thick gravy. Follow Chef Ili’s recipe below to enjoy a halal version and get ready to instantly fall in love as you take the first bite out of this BBQ chicken pao.  

Ingredients (serves 4-6 pax)

For the chicken marinade

  • 300-400 grams chicken thigh (skin off)
  • 4 tbsp Hoisin/Char Siu sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 1 medium size white onion; diced
  • 2 cloves garlic; chopped 

For the dough

  • 300g pau flour
  • 70g white sugar
  • 9g baking powder
  • 7g instant yeast
  • 150ml warm water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Step 1: Blend the ingredients and marinate chicken

  • In a blender, add in the ingredients for the chicken marinade and blend into a smooth paste.
  • Add the marinade to the chicken and let it marinate for at least 4 hours.

Step 2: Cook the chicken

  • Remove any excess marinate, place the chicken in a pan and cook for 6 minutes on each side on medium to high - turning every minute. Set aside to cool before cutting up into small pieces.
  • To make the filling, add in some oil in a pan and saute the white onion and garlic until translucent. Remove and add in the excess char siu marinate and cook until thicken. 
  • Once it has thickened, add in the chopped up chicken and stir to combine. Leave to cool. 

Step 3: Make the dough

  • In a small jug, add in yeast, water and sugar. Stir to combine and leave it to bubble.
  • In a stand mixer, add in flour, baking powder and vegetable oil along with the yeast mixture and beat until smooth.
  • Cover the dough and let it rest for 1 hour.

Step 4: Make the pao

  • Dust your surface with flour and roll out the dough. Fold and roll 3 times before rolling into a long sausage and cut into 16 pieces. 
  • Roll out the cut up piece into a round piece and add some filling before folding and pinching the ends to make a pao.
  • Place in a bamboo steamer lined with baking paper and steam for 12 minutes.

Making chicken siew mai and BBQ chicken pao may take some time and effort, but trust us - it’s definitely worth it once you sink your teeth into them! So what are you waiting for? Transport yourself to Hong Kong and make classic dim sum dishes using Chef Ili’s recipes today ?

This article was brought to you by Hong Kong Tourism Board.