Pad Thai Fried Chicken Gua Bao

This is the second recipe for my fried chicken bao two ways. Here is a pad thai inspired bao, with pickled bean sprouts and spring onions, a pad thai glaze, crushed peanuts, and lime. I don’t have my own recipe for the 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
  • 100 g Plain flour
  • 50 g Panko
  • 2 heaped teaspoon Smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsps Soy sauce
  • 2½ tbsps Dark brown sugar
  • 3 tsps Fish sauce
  • Splash of water
  • ½ tsp Ginger paste
  • ½ tsp Garlic paste
  • A pinch of chilli flakes

For the pickled veg

  • 100 g Beansprouts
  • 3 Spring onions, julienned
  • Cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Sesame oil
  • Black pepper
  • A handful of black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp sugar

To serve

  • 8 Bao buns
  • Chopped peanuts
  • 1 Red chilli, sliced
  • Roughly chopped coriander/cilantro
  • 2 Limes, in wedges


  1. Start by pickling your veg. To a small bowl, add your beansprouts and sliced spring onions, and add enough cider vinegar so they’re just covered. Whisk in your sugar until dissolved, then add in your peppercorns. This works best if it has several hours to pickle, so do this ahead of time.
  2. Next, slice your chicken thighs in half length-ways, then add them to a large bowl and cover with your buttermilk. Toss to make sure everything’s coated. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  3. 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.
  4. While your dough is rising, make your pad thai glaze. In a small, non-stick pan, add your soy, dark brown sugar, fish sauce, splash of water, ginger, garlic, and chilli flakes. Simmer on a low heat until it starts to bubble and thicken. This will thicken as it cools, but remove from the heat when it coats the back of a spoon. Set aside, and allow to cool.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. When the chicken is suitably fried, remove from the pan and place on a plate lined with kitchen roll to absorb excess oil.
  9. When they’ve just come out of the oil, sprinkle over some flaky sea salt. I ended up cutting my chicken pieces in half, but this will depend on how big your buns are.
  10. Drain your pickled beansprouts and spring onions, and toss with soy sauce and sesame oil, and some fresh cracked black pepper.
  11. Serve your fried chicken and buns with your pad thai glaze, pickled veggies, some chopped peanuts, sliced red chillies, some roughly chopped coriander, and your lime wedges. Enjoy!

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