For the chicken:
- For the pepper powder, use a mortar and pestle and grind the peppercorns and sea salt to a powder.
- Take 2 tbsps of the pepper powder and mix it with 1 tsp chilli powder. Set the chilli salt and pepper aside for later.
- Place the remainder of the pepper powder and place it in a large bowl. Add the the marinade ingredients of garlic, ginger, soy sauce, 5 spice, mirin, half tsp corn flour and remaining pepper powder, and mix well.
- Cover the chicken with some cling film and use a rolling pin to pound the chicken breast pieces to an even thickness. Then cut into bite-sized chunks. Add the chicken to the marinade and coat well. Leave to marinade for at least 3 hours in the fridge.
- Fill a wok or to about 1/3 with the vegetable oil. Heat over high heat. The oil is hot enough when a wooden spoon or chop stick dipped into the oil forms small little bubble. Place the eggs into a large bowl and whisk with two tablespoons of water. Coat each chicken piece in the egg and then in the corn flour. Cook the chicken in batches in the hot oil for 3-4 minutes or until cooked through and crispy. Drain on paper towel. Sprinkle with the remaining chilli, salt and pepper powder.
For the bao buns:
- Place all of the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
- Measure the warm water and oil into a measuring jug. The water needs to be a bit more than lukewarm to help activate the yeast, but it shouldn’t be boiling hot.
- If you have a kitchen stand mixer, use the dough hook on a medium speed, or if not, use both hands to mix the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients.
- Once you have a sticky dough, continue kneading the dough until it becomes soft and smooth. This should take about 10 minutes using the stand-mixer, or about 5 minutes by hand.
- Once the dough is soft and smooth, knead it by hand for a few more minutes on kitchen counter
- Place the ball of dough back into a mixing bowl.
- Place the bowl somewhere warm for about 60 mins for the dough to rise and double in size.
To shape the buns
- Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it back and knead it by hand for about 5 minutes.
- Then roll out the dough until it is about 1 cm in thickness
- Use your hands to rub some oil onto the surface of the dough.
- Divide in to 12 - 14 equal dough balls and roll in to 1 cm thickness
- Place these oblong shaped dough balls onto a small sheet of baking paper
- Fold over each and then use a rolling pin to gently flatten the dough to form the bun shape.
- Place all of the shaped buns onto a tray, cover with a tea towel, and place in a warm place for 30 - 45 mins for the buns to rise. After this time, the bao buns should have puffed up slightly.
To steam the buns
- Meanwhile, prepare the steamer on the stove
- Steam the buns in batches for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they are puffy and soft, and cooked all the way through.
- Serve the buns immediately and stuff with the dried chicken, sriracha mayo, sriracha, red onion and sesame seeds.