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Gua Bao, also known as Taiwanese steamed buns or "tiger bites pig," is a beloved street food in Taiwan and beyond. These soft, fluffy buns are filled with succulent braised pork belly, fresh herbs, and flavorful condiments. In this recipe, we'll show you how to make Gua Bao at home, bringing the delicious tastes of Taiwan straight to your kitchen.
For the Pork Belly:
1 pound pork belly, skin-on, cut into thick slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup water
Salt and white pepper to taste
For the Buns:
- 1 package of store-bought or homemade steamed buns (usually available in Asian grocery stores)
Fresh cilantro leaves
Fresh cucumber slices
Crushed peanuts (optional)
For the Condiments:
- Hoisin sauce
Sriracha or chili sauce (adjust to your spice preference)
Step 1: Prepare the Pork Belly
In a pan, heat a little oil over medium-high heat. Sear the pork belly slices on both sides until they turn golden brown. Remove excess oil if needed. Add minced garlic and ginger to the pan. Sauté for a minute until fragrant. Pour in soy sauce, rice wine, hoisin sauce, and sugar. Stir to combine. Add water and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the pork belly becomes tender and the sauce thickens. Stir occasionally. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
Step 2: Prepare the Buns
If using store-bought buns, steam them according to the package instructions until they are soft and heated through. If making homemade buns, follow your chosen recipe to prepare and steam them.
Step 3: Assemble the Gua Bao
Take a steamed bun and gently open it, like a pocket. Spread a small amount of hoisin sauce on the inside of the bun. Place a slice of the braised pork belly inside the bun. Add fresh cucumber slices and cilantro leaves on top of the pork. Optionally, sprinkle crushed peanuts for extra crunch and texture. Drizzle with Sriracha or chili sauce according to your spice preference.
Step 4: Enjoy Your Homemade Gua Bao
Serve your Gua Bao immediately while the buns are warm and the pork is tender. Enjoy the delightful combination of flavors and textures in each bite, savoring the essence of this iconic Taiwanese street food.
Making Gua Bao at home is a rewarding culinary adventure that allows you to indulge in the flavors of Taiwan's vibrant street food scene. These fluffy buns filled with braised pork belly and fresh garnishes create a harmonious blend of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors. Share this delightful treat with friends and family, and transport your taste buds to the bustling streets of Taiwan.