How to make Taiwanese Gua Bao 割包 (steamed cut buns)

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Heard about the famous bao? My friend Chi and I made this video on how to make gua bao dough. This humble Taiwanese street food is a steamed bun, folded like a taco with filling of interesting textures, has made its way onto the menus of fine restaurants. ‘Bao’ (包) sounds similar in both Chinese-Mandarin and Taiwanese-Hokkien, and means ‘to wrap’ and ‘gua bao’ means ‘cut wrap’. Gua bao is one of Taiwan’s favourite street foods. The one I’ve mostly eaten is filled with braised soft pork belly, pickled mustard leaves, chopped coriander and toasted crushed peanuts with sugar.

This dough recipe is hundreds but my technique needs work. Please let me know if you try it out.

Gua Bao steamed cut bun (割包)

 

Ingredients:

  • 150ml milk
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 2C white flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp milk powder (not crucial but it does add something special)
  • 1tsp oil (I used raw sesame seed oil)

Method: (watch the video)

  • Warm the milk, add and dissolve sugar.
  • Add yeast, mix and set aside for 10–15 minutes.
  • Separately, mix your dry goods and make a well.
  • Once yeast is activated, pour it in and fold till smooth.
  • Add oil, and knead it in lightly.
  • Cling wrap and allow dough to proof (1 and a half times its original size).
  • Knock back by breaking the air bubbles and kneading it into a tube.
  • Divide into 8–10 pieces.
  • Roll them out, one by one, into ovals.
  • Brush oil on the surface, place a piece of baking paper down and fold the wrap. Repeat.
  • Cover with cling film and allow the buns to proof for 10 minutes.
  • Prepare a steamer.
  • Allow the water to reach boil, place basket to steam and bring the heat down to a medium simmer for 15 minutes (a strong/harsh steam makes a rough skin).
  • Allow them to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Assemble your bun.

 

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