Happiness comes in all shapes and sizes, and Gua Bao lives up to this description. Gua Bao makes all other sandwiches take a bow. It is a staple street food and very commonly known as Taiwanese Hamburger. Traditionally, Gua Bao is made with a steamed bao bun in a semi-circular or jaw-shaped sandwich, filled with relishing sauce and pork slices.
Try replacing your regular sandwiches and spice up your dining table with our quick and easy Gua Bao recipe. The secret behind its supremacy is our remarkable ingredient; Dingolay Gourmet Hot Sauce. The addition of this sauce in the bao bun fillings will make you go Dingolay!
History of Gua Bao
Popular as Taiwanese Hamburger or Pork Buns, Gua Bao was nowhere to be found on menu cards in the US a few years ago. As the regional Chinese food started making rounds in America, Gua Bao replaced all the regular sandwiches, and these Northern Chinese Sandwiches took over the US by storm.
The birthplace of Gua Bao is believed to be a province in China known as Fujian. In the third kingdom era of China, around 400 BC, the Gua Bao recipe was popularized by a military general Zhuge Liang. He was returning with his platoon after defeating a king. On their way back home, they came across a river, and the locals told them that they needed to make human sacrifices for the deity’s blessings. Instead of spilling human blood, he steamed bao buns, shaped them into human heads, filled them with meat, and threw it into the river. The change in the menu impressed the deity and paved ways for Liang’s army and let them cross the river. The dish was initially named mantou, meaning ‘barbarian’s head.’ Later, as the recipe was improvised into Bao, and the center filling was included, it was named Gua Bao.
The legend behind Bao is still under question, but it is believed that the people from Fujian migrated to Taiwan, and this is how this recipe reached there. Today, no street stall is complete without Gua Bao in Taiwan. Not only in Taiwan, but this dish is also America’s favorite and is well known as Pork Buns or Taiwanese Hamburgers.
Gua Bao Recipe
The soft bao buns, tender pork belly pieces, and relishing sauce makes all other sandwiches take a bow. Try our easiest and scrumptious Gua Bao recipe and get ready to have the time of your life.
Ingredients for Gua Bao
To make the delicious Gua Bao, you will need:
- Pork Belly: 450g
- Peanut Oil: 1 Tbsp
- Garlic Cloves: 4 (crushed)
- Green Onions: 2
- Ginger: 3 thin slices
- Star Anise: 1
- Cinnamon Sticks: 1
- Dried Chili Peppers: 6
- Shaoxing Wine: 3 Tbsp
- Soy Sauce: 2 Tbsp
- Brown Sugar: 1 Tbsp
- White Pepper Powder: ½ tsp
- Water: 3 cups
For Gua Bao Buns:
- All-Purpose Flour: 2 cups
- Instant Yeast: 1 tsp
- Sugar: 2 tsp
- Baking Powder: 1 tsp
- Salt: ⅛ teaspoon
- Full-fat Milk: ¾ cup
Instructions to Make Gua Bao
While preparing Gua Bao, make sure you prepare the Pork pieces before starting the Bao buns. Follow our simple instructions of Gua Bao recipe step-by-step, and you will have the perfect street styled Gua Bao at home.
Take the pork belly and cut it into chunks. In a large skillet, pour peanut oil or any vegetable oil of your liking on medium-high heat and let the oil heat up. Then add the pork pieces to it and let all the four sides turn golden. As the pieces are done, dish them out on a plate.
Add crushed garlic cloves, knotted green onions, and thinly sliced ginger pieces in the same pan. Saute them for a while. Then add star anise, cinnamon stick, and dried Chinese chili peppers. Stir fry them, then pour Shaoxing Wine, 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce. If both of these are not available, go with the regular soy sauce and pour 3 tablespoons of it.
Let this sauce cook for a while, then put the fried pork pieces in this sauce. Let the pieces soak up the sauce and pour three cups of water. Then sprinkle white pepper powder and brown sugar. Give all the ingredients a good mix, bring it to a boil, cover the skillet with a lid, and let it braise for an hour and a half.
Meanwhile, start preparing the Bao Buns. Bao Buns recipe is tricky to follow, but it is all about the right amount of ingredients. So be attentive to the ratio of the ingredients, and preparing Bao Buns is a piece of cake.
To make bao buns, add all-purpose flour, instant yeast, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a deep bowl. Mix the dry ingredients and then pour Milk into it.
Knead the mixture well for five minutes and form a dough. Wrap this dough with a cling film and let it sit for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, knead it again for 1 minute. At this point, the dough must have softened a lot. Place this dough in the deep bowl and secure the bowl with cling film. Let it sit for another hour and so the dough may rise.
After the said time, knead the dough again for another minute.
Roll the dough into a small cylinder and cut it into small pieces. Each piece should roughly weigh 48 grams. These small pieces must be covered with a cling film to prevent them from drying out.
Roll these dough pieces into small thick ovals. Brush the insides of the rolled-out dough with olive oil and enclose it into a semi-circle. Lightly roll this semi-circular dough with a rolling pin. Place it on butter paper.
Place these rolled out dough pieces in a steaming basket and cover it with a lid wrapped in a wet cloth on medium-low heat. Let them steam for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the bao buns double up in size.
As the Bao Buns get ready, check up on the pork pieces. They must have been done by this point. Remove the pork pieces, and with a small strainer, remove the spices from the sauce.
Let the sauce thicken on high flame, and cut the pork pieces into thin slices for Bao Buns filling.
Take the delicious soft bao buns out of the streamer. Open/Cut them from the center.
Spread the thickened sauce in the center of the Bao Bun, then add the Pork slices. Pour another tablespoon of sauce to make it more appetizing, then garnish with crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, and olives.
Serve hot with Dingolay Gourmet Hot Sauce for an exquisite flavor.
Gua Bao Buns with Dingolay Gourmet Hot Sauce
Preparing the filling of Gua Bao with the sauce demands a lot of time and delays the process. Start preparing Gua Bao with Dingolay Gourmet Hot Sauce, it will save you a lot of time, and it tastes heavenly.
Take two cups of Original Dingolay Gourmet Hot Sauce, pour it into the skillet, and add the fried pork pieces. Let the pieces soak up a little of the sauce, then add two cups of water, and on low flame, let it cook for an hour.
Take the pieces out of the sauce after the said time, cut them into slices, and center fill the Bao Buns with it.
Dingolay Hot Sauces are available in three different flavors, Original Dingolay Gourmet Hot Sauce, Mango, and Pineapple Tropical Dingolay Gourmet Hot Sauce. If you center fills the Bao Bun with one of these sauces, add pork slices, crushed peanuts, pickled onions, and olives, you will be in for a treat.
Dishes to Serve with Gua Bao
Gua Bao is usually served as an appetizer, but if you serve them with suitable side dishes, you can turn it into a perfect main course.
Preparing pickled cucumbers is easy, and it goes well with a number of dishes. If you pair it with Gua Bao, it tastes amazing with the meaty and soft texture of bao bun and pork filling.
- Sliced Cucumbers: 2 cups
- Green Onion: ½ cup
- Cherry Tomatoes: ½ cup (optional)
- Water:1 cup
- White Vinegar or Apple Cider or Rice Vinegar: ⅓ cup (acc. to your taste or availability)
- Sugar and Salt: 2 Tbsp (optional)
Add water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a jar and mix it well until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Then add cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes to it.
An overnight soak is perfect for an enhanced taste. If you make it on short notice to serve with Bao, prepare it before making the Gua Bao.
Moreover, the pickled cucumbers pair with many dishes, so make sure you always have a jar ready in your fridge.
If you are a Ramen Noodles lover, Gua Bao is perfect to have with them.
The center filling for Gua Bao can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days or frozen for up to two months.
You can also freeze the bao bun dough in the freezer. Only defrost it before preparing the Gua Bao and make your job significantly easier.
You can customize Gua Bao in several ways. For instance, make it vegetarian or prepare it with chicken or other meats.
- Vegetarian Gua Bao Recipe: Prepare stir fried vegetables. Capsicums, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, and pickled onions. Spread Dingolay Hot Sauce in the middle of the Bao Bun, and sauteed vegetables. This way enjoy a scrumptious Vegetarian Gua Bua.
- Chicken Gua Bao Recipe: Not a fan of Pork? Fret not. Prepare it with chicken and enjoy the Chicken Bao.
Dingolay Gourmet Hot Sauce
Dingolay Gourmet Hot Sauces are unarguably the best in town. Versatile in nature, you can utilize them as a marinade, for cooking, dip, or regular spread. These sauces provide several health benefits and make your food taste heavenly.
Prepared with Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Peppers, Olive Oil, pickled Carrots, Garlic, and other Caribbean spices and herbs. These sauces are available in three different flavors. Original Dingolay Gourmet Hot Sauce, Mango Tropical Dingolay Gourmet Hot Sauce, and Pineapple Tropical Dingolay Gourmet Hot Sauce. The versatile flavors bring a sweet, sour, and fiery taste to your regular tasting food.
Try our easy Gua Bao Recipe with Dingolay Gourmet Hot Sauce and do share your experience with us in the comment section below.