Gai Mei Bao – Chinese Cocktail Buns – Chinese Coconut Buns

Gai Mei Bao – Chinese Cocktail Buns – Chinese Coconut Buns

Gai Mei Bao is yet another lovely bake that I had my eyes on ever since these two lovely girls, Priya Srinivasan and Priya Suresh baked it for the We Knead to bake group. I was out of the group for a while and hence I could not bake with them, but I was so glad I stumbled into the recipe.

One of the many best things in Oklahoma is the Vietnamese market that we visit quite often. This place has some lovely bakery products and this Gai Mei Bao cocktail bun is one among them. As much as I love these coconut and cream filled buns from the store, I hated that they always overfilled the buns and it was very heavy. When I saw that I could make these cocktail buns at home, I was beyond excited. My husband loves the coconut and the cream in the bun and asked me to add tutti frutti to the buns as they reminded him of the coconut buns that we get in the bakeries in India.

Gai Mei Bao – Chinese Cocktail Buns – Chinese Coconut Buns

The Gai Mei Bao buns are very easy to make the reading the history behind the buns was interesting. I read that these buns were created back in the 1950’s in a bakery in Hong Kong. The owners of the bakery had lot of edible breads that went waste every day and they used this recipe to use up the leftover bakes. They ground the leftover bread with some sugar and butter and wrapped some fresh bread dough around it to make it as the stuffed cocktail buns.

The idea of using the leftovers was pretty amazing, but they don’t use that any more. They now use coconut and butter as the filing.

My other recipes this Marathon – 


Appetizers / Snacks

Breads and Rolls

Gai Mei Bao – Chinese Cocktail Buns – Chinese Coconut Buns

Preparation time – 15 minutes plus 2 ½ hours of rising time
Baking time – 22 to 25 minutes
Difficulty level – medium
Recipe adapted from – here and here

Ingredients to make Gai Mei Bao– Makes 6 buns

For the dough –

  • Bread flour – 2 cups (can be substituted with all purpose flour)
  • Corn starch – 1 ½ tbsp
  • Instant yeast – 1 tsp
  • Sugar – ¼ cup
  • Salt – ¾ tsp
  • Warm milk – 1 cup
  • Milk – to brush the shaped buns

For the filling –

  • Butter -50 Gms (softened)
  • Sugar – 1 ½ tbsp
  • All purpose flour – 1 ½ tbsp
  • Milk powder – 2 tbsp
  • Grated fresh coconut – 1/3 cup
  • Tutti frutti – 3 tbsp (optional)

For the topping –

  • All purpose flour – 2 tbsp
  • Sugar – 2 tsp
  • Butter – 25 Gms (softened)
  • Sesame seeds – 1 tbsp

For the glaze –

  • Honey – 1 tbsp
  • Warm water – 1 tsp
Gai Mei Bao – Chinese Cocktail Buns – Chinese Coconut Buns

Procedure to make Gai Mei Bao –

To make the dough –

  • I made the dough in my food processor. Combine the dry ingredients and pulse it for couple of minutes.
  • Now add the warm milk and knead until smooth and soft dough forms. Add the milk in batches as we might not need all the 1 cup of it.
Chinese Coconut bun
  • Place the dough in a large greased bowl and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 ½ hours or until doubled in volume.
Chinese Coconut bun

To make the filling –

  • Mix all the ingredients mentioned under the filling into a smooth paste.
Chinese Coconut bun

To make the topping –

  • Mix all the ingredients mentioned in the list into a smooth paste and transfer this paste into a piping bag. I used a zip lock bag as a piping bag. I made a small hole in a corner and then used it to draw the lines on the buns.

To shape and bake the buns –

  • Once the dough has doubled in volume, punch it down gently and then divide into 6 equal parts.
  • Roll the balls into an oval shape. Place a tbsp of filling in the middle of the dough and then bring the two long sides to the center and pinch it well to seal the filling.
  • Now bring the top and the bottom to the center and then pinch to seal. Sealing the buns well is very important; otherwise the filling will begin to ooze out.
Chinese Coconut bun
  • Place the shaped buns on a parchment lined baking sheet, seam side down.
Chinese Coconut bun
  • Let the buns rise again for the second time for about 45 minutes or until fluffed up.
  • Brush the buns with milk liberally.
Chinese Coconut bun
  • Draw two long lines over the buns with the topping. Sprinkle the sesame seeds.
Chinese Coconut bun
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F and bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Chinese Coconut bun
  • Once the buns come out of the oven, mix the glaze ingredients together and then brush the buns right away with the glaze.
  • Serve Gai Mei Bao warm or at room temperature.
Gai Mei Bao – Chinese Cocktail Buns – Chinese Coconut Buns

8 thoughts on “Gai Mei Bao – Chinese Cocktail Buns – Chinese Coconut Buns

  1. These look perfect for a sweet treat! I know what you mean about sickly cream buns. I too love using the food processor to make things easier, but I never thought of using it for bread dough.

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