Gua Bao - Pulled Pork Steamed Buns

6 servings


1 hour

active time

1 hour 45 minutes

total time


500g low gluten flour

½ tsp bicarb soda

5g active dry yeast

250g lukewarm water

30g sugar

1kg pork shoulder or Boston butt, skin removed

3 slices ginger

2 dried red chillies

1 cup shao hsing

60ml (4 tbsp) dark soy caramel

60ml (4 tbsp) soy sauce

4 star anise

1 tsp five spice powder

3 spring onions, cut into 2"lengths

3 tbsp sugar

3 small Lebanese cucumbers

1 tbsp sea salt flakes (use ⅓ tbsp if using table salt)

2 tbsp sugar

6 spring onions, thinly sliced into rounds

2 tbsp grated ginger

45ml (3 tbsp) Chinkiang or black vinegar

30ml (2 tbsp) soy sauce

30ml (2 tbsp) water

1 tsp sesame oil

½ cup roasted salted peanuts

1½ tbsp sugar

coriander, torn into small sprigs


Cut 25 2"x3" rectangles of baking paper and set aside.

Combine the lukewarm water, yeast and sugar in a bowl and allow the yeast to bloom for a few minutes.

Place the flour and bicarb soda in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, then add the yeast mixture. Mix on a low speed until the dough forms, then cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place for about 20 minutes.

Divide the dough into equal pieces, about 30 g each and roll into a long oval shape. Dip a chopstick into oil and fold the dough over the chopstick, roll the chopstick out (creating an oil layer to stop the top and bottom layers of bao sticking) and set the rolled bao dough onto a square of baking paper.

Allow to proof in a warm place for a further 20 minutes. When ready to eat, steam in a single layer for 5-7 minutes or until cooked through. Do not steam for too long as they will start to get hard and turn a weird yellow colour.

Combine all ingredients except the sugar in a pressure cooker and add enough water to just cover the pork. Cook on high pressure for 40 minutes, depressurise and remove pork. (Note: If you don't have a pressure cooker, just simmer in a regular pot, for two hours or until the pork is fork tender.)

Pull apart the pork with two forks and set aside.

Strain the masterstock, reserving the liquid and return to the pressure cooker/pot. Add the sugar then reduce by two thirds until it is a thick syrupy consistency. Toss some of this sauce through the pulled pork, then reserve the rest for serving with the gua bao.

Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, finely slice the cucumbers, then toss with salt flakes and sugar. Set aside for at least 20 minutes and up to two days in a covered container.

Drain the excess liquid and taste before serving - depending on the salt you used, the cucumbers might need a quick rinse.

Combine the spring onions, ginger, vinegar, soy, water, oil and sesame oil in a bowl. Taste and check for salt, adding more soy sauce if needed.

Crush the peanuts in a mortar and pestle, or pulse quickly in a food processor until the size of rice grains.

Toss through the sugar and set aside.

Warm through the pork, steam the buns and serve with extra sauce, quick pickled cucumbers, spring onion sauce, crushed peanuts, coriander and Sriracha.

6 servings


1 hour

active time

1 hour 45 minutes

total time
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