Simple & Delicious Homemade Bao & “Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao”

A Beautiful Book & Homemade Bao!

After reading Kat Zhang’s “Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao” we decided to follow the delicious Bao recipe given in the back of the book. We are so happy to share our experience with you, so let’s get started…

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Summary of “Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao”

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao” by Kat Zhang and illustrated by Charlene Chua is a beautiful book about a young girl learning to make homemade Bao. Her family members each give her suggestions that work for them, but as much as she tries it just doesn’t work for her. Even though she almost felt defeated, she perseveres and in the end realizes what works for her.

One of the best parts is the very detailed recipe in the back of the book! 🙂 It may look a bit overwhelming but I promise its very kid friendly. We’ve already made it twice because its so delicious. I would definitely recommend this book.

Cooking with Kids?

You might be wondering… “What age should I allow my child to cook with me?” or “How is this not just going to be a big mess if I let them help?” There are many ways to answer these two common questions…

measuring cup pouring flour into a bowl with ingredients nearby

As far as age, you might find this surprising, particularly because I’m a Special Educator. But maybe its actually because of my background in education and years and years of experience with kids; that I can say this…Only you know your child. I’ve seen very young children master some pretty impressive feats & some much older children not quite grasp something just yet. So I personally don’t believe in labeling activities with ages.

I believe its all about knowing your child, being willing to try and gauge from there, & most importantly common sense. I believe if you have reasonable expectations, give them support and guidance when needed, & see the activity as a moment to connect with your child, then you don’t need me telling you if they are ready or not, you will know. Besides, each and every child is different, I have two that couldn’t be more different if they tried, lol. Remember, you are the expert on your child!

pouring milk into bowl making homemade bao

As for the second question, Yes, cooking with kids can definitely be messy! But, I hear you. I’ve been asked the mess question many times. I wrote a detailed answer, along with strategies for successful messy sensory play, that I believe can apply to cooking as well. It can be found by reading, “What about the Sensory Mess?”


We tend to keep the activities as simple as possible around here. We’re not interested in complicated or costly. We are also all about fostering independence. For this activity we simply followed the recipe in the back of the book. My daughter read the recipe and measured all the ingredients. She’s getting very proficient at this since she’s been practicing from a very young age. She is just starting to remember which fractions are called what…so instead of saying “one slash four cup” she now knows its “a quarter cup”. 🙂

Tips & Helpful Hints…

Here are a few tips from our experience as people who rarely cook a homemade meal unless they are motivated by a recipe in a very cool book 😉 …

homemade bao on parchment paper in instant pot to steam
  • It’s cold and winter where we are so we stored the covered dough in the bowl near one of our radiators since it said to “leave in a warm place”.
  • We omitted the shrimp and mushrooms from the bao filling because we didn’t buy any shrimp and don’t like mushrooms.
  • We used almond milk (which is naturally low fat) because we’re a dairy free household.
  • The meat was fried in a pan and we did not bother forming it into meatballs the second time we made it because the first time they ended up crumbling anyway.
  • This recipe calls for steaming them. We tried half steamed in our instant pot and half fried in a pan, we all preferred the fried.
  • Frying them pretty much eliminates the need for using parchment paper.
  • We used a cutting board to flatten, fill and place them on while waiting to be cooked.
homemade bao that was fried

I will say they don’t look very much like they do in the story, they are nowhere near being “perfect bao”. But they were fun to make and absolutely delicious to eat, so I’m calling this a win!

I’m not gonna lie, its like any new task with kids, cooking with kids is challenging at first. They are excited, you might be anxious, there are a lot of rules to follow. But just remember, the first time is always the hardest, its only going to get easier. Think of all the memories you will be making with your child for years to come & all of these real life skills you are teaching them each time. It is so very worth it, I promise!

picture from inside the book of the main character Amy holding our plate of homemade bao 1/2 steamed and 1/2 fried.

I would suggest making Homemade Bao if you’re looking for an engaging & delicious activity to connect with your child.

Materials We Used

“Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao” by Kat Zhang (from the library or you can buy one here)

How We Made Homemade Bao?

We followed the recipe in the back of the book. Out of respect for the Author/illustrator I do not find it my place to share the recipe. I have shared tips and helpful hints from our experience making the recipe twice thus far. I definitely recommend borrowing the book from your local library and trying it out!

Wait, There’s More…

Sample of “Communicating & Connecting FREE Bonus Printable.

I believe you can easily strengthen communication skills and foster independence all while playing and connecting with your child. To help you do this; I’ve created a FREE printable for each activity called, “Communicating & Connecting”.

It will give you a list of suggestions I’ve found very helpful as a Mom & as a special education teacher; to help you build lifelong skills. Please don’t feel obligated to do everything on the list (but if you do, you’re a rockstar 😉 ).

As a Thank You for subscribing; this is a special FREEBIE for our Email Subscribers Only. 🙂 Click here if you’ve already subscribed. Otherwise, Sign Up below to get the password & access to our entire FREE Printables Library today! 😉

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