Corned Beef and Cabbage Bao



2 cups flour
1/2 cup warm milk
1/3 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 oz active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt


2 cups cubed corned beef
2 cups thinly sliced parboiled cabbage
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons superfine flour (like Wondra)
1/3-1/2 cup beef or chicken stock

extra equipment:
bamboo steamer
12 4-5 inch wide wax paper squares


For the dough:

In a small bowl, dissolve 2 tablespoons of the sugar in the milk and water. Sprinkle in the yeast and allow to sit 10 minutes. Mix in the remaining sugar, 2 cups of flour and the salt. Mix until the dough is no longer sticky, adding additional flour as needed. Place dough on a floured service and knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

While you’re waiting, prepare the filling:

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Saute the cabbage, shallot and caraway seeds until the cabbages softens. Add the corned beef and cook for 1 minute.

Sprinkle with flour. Add the stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens.

Back to the dough:

Punch the dough down, roll it into a cylinder. Cut it into 10 equal pieces. Roll each into a ball. Then roll each ball into a circle about 5-6 inches in diameter. Place 1 1/2 tablespoon (or slightly more) of filling into the center of the circle. Pull the edges of the circle up over the filling, pinch in the center to seal. Place the buns seam side down or up the wax paper squares. Repeat for the remaining dough, leaving a 2 inch space between each bun on the sheet.

Cover and let rise until puffy, about 10-20 minutes.

Bring water to boil in wok or saucepan. Place buns (still on waxed paper squares) in a bamboo steamer. Place over water and steam 15-20 minutes or until glossy and smooth.

Serve immediately.

Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers. Leftover steamed buns can be reheated in the microwave (for about 2 minutes) with great success.

My thoughts:

I can’t resist playing with corned beef and cabbage around St Patrick’s Day. (see my corned beef and cabbage quesadillas if you need evidence) I know there is nothing truly Irish about the combination but it is fun anyway.

This year I am taking this faux-Irish classic a step further and turning the combo into a filling for Chinese steamed buns. Why not? I love steamed buns! I love cabbage! And I’ve even corned my own beef. Irish-Chinese fusion it is.The meat/cabbage filling stays juicy and flavorful and the buns are perfectly tender. The perfect mix.

The recipe looks a bit trickier than it actually is. You don’t have to corn your beef from scratch, there are plenty at the supermarket this time of year. Just cook it, pull it off the wedge of fat and chop it up. The cabbage part is simple. The only slightly tricky part is the bao but is a easy dough to work with and once you make a bun or two, the folding is a cinch. Just make sure they are fully closed!


  1. I want to try these, this is one of the best St Patrick Day's recipes I have seen recently.

  2. How fun. I love homemade Chinese buns. Cabbage and meat are the main ingredients for bao fillings so this is great! My Asian twist on Irish food is Corned Beef Musubi:

  3. Those look really good! Great idea!

  4. Totally love this idea! Super fun!