Katsu Shrimp Bun (Bao)

Let’s make homemade soft fluffy steamed buns with a shrimp patty, a recipe concept inspired by Taiwanese pork belly baos (Gua Bao) with modern Asian flavors.

Steamed bun, or bao, is steamed bread made of yeasted dough and simple pantry ingredients. Chances are, you likely have all the ingredients you need to make a bao at home. Don’t have an oven? No worries! Baos are made on the stovetop. It is so delicious and easy to make which is why people in China and Taiwan are constantly eating baos for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Baos come in all shapes and sizes, stuffed with different fillings or eaten plain. The steamed bun for this shrimp bao recipe is in the shape of a lotus leaf (aka he ye bing in Chinese), and is shaped like a folded tortilla where you can stuff ingredients on the inside. The lotus leaf-shaped bun is commonly used in Taiwanese pork belly bao or served with Peking duck. 

For this recipe, I did not use pork belly or duck, but instead a katsu shrimp patty with shredded cabbage, pickled onions, and sauce. It’s a delicious combination of Eastern and Western flavors that comes together perfectly. Because any recipe with yeast requires hours, you can consider purchasing pre-made steamed buns if you choose not to make homemade steamed buns. I also made my own quick pickled onions, but you may purchase it if your local grocery store offers it.

Katsu Shrimp Bun (Bao)

Yield: 8 buns

Total time: 3 hrs.


For buns:

  • 200 g. or 1 2/3 c. minus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 200 g. or 1 1/2 c. minus 1 tbsp. cake flour
  • 5 g. or 1 1/2 tsp. yeast
  • 60 g. or 1/3 c. sugar
  • 16 g. or 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 g. or 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 220 g. or 1 c. minus 2 tbsp. whole milk, warm

For shrimp patty:

  • 400 g. or 36 large shrimp, peeled
  • 40 g. or 1/4 c. + 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 6 g. or 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 g. or 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 g. or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 50 g. or 1 large egg for coating
  • 5 g. or 1 tsp. milk for coating
  • 45 g. or 3/4 c. panko breadcrumbs to coat
  • Oil for frying

For sauce and toppings:

  • 85 g. or 1/3 c. + 1 tbsp. mayonnaise OR tartar sauce (recipe here)
  • shredded cabbage
  • pickled purple onions (recipe from Gimme Some Oven)


  1. To make steamed buns, add all ingredients into a stand mixer and knead for 8 minutes. If kneading by hand, you will need to knead for 15 minutes. Place dough in a bowl, cover with a lid, and proof for 1 hour.
  2. Place the dough on a floured surface and roll out the dough to a ¼ inch thick sheet. Cut the dough into 3 ½ inch circles with a ring mold or cup. This recipe makes about 16 buns.
  3. Take one of the dough circles and spray some oil on the top. Fold the dough to the other side to make a half moon shape and use a rolling pin to lightly roll the dough out. Place the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and place in the steamer. Repeat for the remaining buns and cover the steamer and proof the buns for an additional 30 min.
  4. Steam the buns on high heat for 12 minutes. Turn the heat off and wait 1 minute before removing the lid. Set the buns aside.
  5. To make the shrimp patty, heat oil to 350 F for frying in a deep fryer or deep pan.
  6. Roughly chop peeled shrimp using a knife. I like to leave some larger chunks in.
  7. Add chopped shrimp into a bowl with flour, chopped onions, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Stir until combined and form 8 patties.
  8. Beat the egg and milk together in a bowl. Pour panko breadcrumbs into a shallow dish. Dip the shrimp patty into the egg mixture, and coat with panko breadcrumbs.
  9. Fry the shrimp patties at 350 F, flipping halfway until the internal temperature reaches 145 F. Fry for around 5-8 min. Remove patty from oil and place on a wired rack.
  10. To assemble the bao, add mayo, pickled onions, shrimp patty, and shredded cabbage. Enjoy!

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