Korean Fried Chicken Gua Bao

This is the first recipe for my fried chicken bao two ways – here we have a Korean inspired bao, with buttermilk fried chicken thighs in a spicy glaze, gochujang mayo, and a fresh Korean slaw. I don’t have my own recipe for the actual buns, but I used this recipe and they turned out perfectly!

Ingredients (to serve 4):

For the chicken

  • 500 ml Buttermilk
  • 600 g Boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsps Gochujang
  • 3 tbsps Brown sugar
  • 2 tbsps Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Garlic paste
  • 1½ tsps Ginger paste
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • Pinch of sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 100 g Flour
  • 50 g Panko
  • 2 heaped teaspoon Smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper

For the slaw

  • ¼ Red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 4 Radishes, thinly sliced
  • ½ Cucumber, julienned
  • 1 Carrot, julienned
  • 2 Spring onions, sliced diagonally
  • 100 g Beansprouts
  • A handful of coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsps Cider vinegar
  • ½ tbsp Sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Lime, juiced

For the gochujang mayo

  • 3 tbsps Mayo
  • 1 tbsp Buttermilk
  • 1 heaped teaspoon Gochujang
  • ½ tsp Garlic paste
  • ½ Lime, juiced
  • Salt and pepper

To serve

  • 8 bao buns
  • 1 Spring onion, diagonally sliced
  • 1 Red chilli, sliced
  • Extra sesame seeds


  1. Start by slicing your chicken thighs in half lengthways, then adding them to a large bowl and covering with your buttermilk. Try to save a little bit for your sauce. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  2. Next, make your buns according to the recipe you’re using. I found it easier to prep everything else in the time it takes for the dough to rise.
  3. While your dough is rising, make your slaw. In a large bowl, combine your sliced veggies, oil, vinegar, soy, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and lime juice. Toss well to combine, and season with salt and pepper. Don’t forget to taste. Cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour, as this allows the veggies to pickle slightly and for all the flavours to come together.
  4. Next, move on to your sticky gochujang glaze. In a small, non-stick pan, add your oil, soy sauce, gochujang, brown sugar, honey, sesame oil, ginger paste, garlic paste, sesame seeds, and chilli flakes. Leave out the chilli flakes and add less gochujang if you want it less spicy. Simmer on a low heat until it just begins to bubble and everything has come together. If you want to thin it out you can add a splash of water. Pour into a jug or bowl and allow to cool.
  5. This is also a good time to make your gochujang mayo. In a small bowl, combine your mayo, buttermilk, gochujang, garlic paste, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Give it a quick whisk, taste it for seasoning, then set aside.
  6. Now everything else is prepped, and start breading your chicken. In a shallow bowl, combine your flour, panko, paprika, salt, and pepper. The panko is optional, but it gives the chicken an extra crunch. Add your chicken pieces, shaking off any excess buttermilk, to the flour mixture, using one wet hand and one dry hand to coat. Place on a wire rack while you repeat the process for the rest of the chicken. You may need more flour and panko, depending on how thick your coating is.
  7. Once your chicken is ready to be fried, your dough should be ready for you to shape and roll out. Do this according to the recipe you’re following. When the buns are ready to steam (this took around 10 minutes for me), start frying your chicken.
  8. Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan with oil that comes around 2 cm up the side of the pan. The oil is hot enough to fry when the end of a wooden spoon bubbles. Fry your chicken in batches, flipping it so that both sides turn golden brown. It should reach an internal temperature of 73℃ when it’s cooked. Don’t forget to steam your buns at this point too.
  9. When the chicken is suitably fried, remove from the pan and place on a plate lined with kitchen roll to absorb excess oil.
  10. In a large bowl, add your fried chicken pieces, then drizzle over your sticky glaze, and carefully toss to coat. I found that my buns were a bit smaller than I thought they’d be, so I cut my chicken pieces in half.
  11. Arrange your coated chicken on a plate with some more sesame seeds, spring onion, and chilli.
  12. Serve with your buns, gochujang mayo, slaw, and some extra coriander.

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