Indulge in the heavenly delight of Pork Belly Bao! These delectable, melt-in-your-mouth buns are filled with succulent slices of tender pork belly, complemented by a medley of fresh ingredients and mouthwatering sauces. Experience the perfect balance of flavors and textures in every bite, as you savor this irresistible Asian street food sensation. Get ready to satisfy your cravings with our irresistibly delicious Pork Belly Bao!

Crispy Pork Belly Bao Buns (Gua Bao)

 

These Crispy Pork Belly Bao Buns, also known as Gua Bao, are a delicious Asian-inspired dish that combines tender and flavorful marinated pork belly with soft and fluffy bao buns. The pork belly is marinated in a blend of seasonings and sauces, then simmered until tender in beef broth. It is then pan-fried to caramelize the sauce and create a crispy exterior. The bao buns are steamed until soft and pillowy, ready to be filled with the crispy pork belly. To complete the dish, top the buns with fresh shredded carrot, daikon radish, cucumber, and cilantro for a refreshing crunch. Optional hoisin sauce can be added for a sweet touch. These Crispy Pork Belly Bao Buns are perfect for an Asian-inspired meal at home.

To make these Crispy Pork Belly Bao Buns, start by marinating the pork belly in a mixture of Shaoxing wine, soy sauces, brown sugar, olive oil, Chinese 5-spice powder, garlic powder, and ginger. Let it marinate for at least 15 minutes or up to 5 hours in the refrigerator. Then simmer the marinated pork belly in beef broth with onion until tender. Strain the braising liquid and reduce it in a frying pan before adding the pork belly to caramelize the sauce. Steam store-bought or homemade bao buns according to package instructions. Fill each bun with shredded pork belly and top with shredded carrot, daikon radish, cucumber, and cilantro. Serve with hoisin sauce if desired.

If you’re looking for a delicious Asian-inspired meal that combines tender and flavorful pork belly with soft and fluffy bao buns, these Crispy Pork Belly Bao Buns (Gua Bao) are a perfect choice. They are easy to make and packed with delicious flavors and textures. Whether you’re a fan of pork belly or looking to try something new, these bao buns are sure to impress.

Ingredients You Need

– Pork Belly: You can use a pork belly roast or pork belly slices for this recipe.

– Olive Oil: Gives the marinade and pork a bit of fat. Other oils can be used.

– Chinese 5-spice Powder: It adds a ton of flavor to the meat, so it’s best not to substitute this spice.

– Onion: This will add a lot of flavor to the cooking broth.

– Beef Broth: Use broth or a mix of water and bouillon cube. Feel free to experiment with other broths like chicken broth.

– Carrot, Cucumber & Daikon: These vegetables give a nice crunch, freshness, and sweetness to the buns.

– Cilantro: Used as a garnish, so it can be skipped if you don’t like cilantro.

– Hoisin Sauce: Spread on the buns to give a sweet flavor.

– Bao Bun: If you can’t find bao buns, you can use roti, tortillas, or lettuce as alternatives.

What Steamed Buns to Use

When making Crispy Steamed Pork Belly Bao Buns, it can be difficult to find plain bao buns. However, there are a few options available. You can purchase them from online retailers like Amazon, but they can be expensive. Another option is to check your local Asian store or specialty Chinese and Korean stores, as they often carry bao buns. If you have the time and desire, you can also make your own steamed buns using a simple recipe that requires flour, sugar, yeast, milk, oil, rice vinegar, and baking powder.

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If you decide to make your own steamed buns for this recipe, there is a video provided in the topic information that you can follow along with. The homemade buns receive good reviews and are a great alternative if you cannot find pre-made bao buns. Regardless of which option you choose – store-bought or homemade – the key is to steam the buns according to the package instructions before filling them with the marinated pork belly and fresh vegetables.

How to Make Pork Belly Bao Bun (Gua Bao)

To make Pork Belly Bao Bun, start by marinating the pork belly in a blend of seasonings and sauces for at least 15 minutes or up to 5 hours in the refrigerator. Then, heat beef broth in a pot and add the onion, pork, and marinade. Simmer for 1 hour until the pork is tender.

Next, remove the pork from the pot and strain the braising liquid. In a frying pan, reduce some of the liquid and cook the pork for 2-3 minutes per side until it caramelizes slightly. Set aside.

Steam the buns according to package instructions. Fill each bun with shredded pork and top with carrot, daikon, cucumber, and cilantro. Serve with hoisin sauce if desired.

Step One: Marinate the Pork

Step One: Marinate the Pork

To begin making these Crispy Steamed Pork Belly Bao Buns, start by marinating the pork belly. In a medium bowl, mix together Shaoxing wine, light and dark soy sauces, brown sugar, olive oil, Chinese 5-spice powder, garlic, and ginger. Place the pork belly in the bowl and marinate for at least 15 minutes or up to 5 hours in the refrigerator. This marinade will infuse the pork with delicious flavors and make it tender.

Step Two: Simmer the Pork Belly

Next, heat beef broth in a pot large enough to fit the pork belly. Add an onion and the marinated pork belly along with its marinade to the pot. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour or until the pork is tender. Keep an eye on the pot while cooking to ensure that the water doesn’t evaporate completely. If needed, add 1/4 cup of water to prevent dryness.

Step Three: Caramelize the Pork Belly

Once cooked, remove the pork belly from the pot and strain the braising liquid to remove any chunks. In a frying pan over medium-high heat, reduce about 3 tablespoons of this liquid slightly. Then add the cooked pork belly to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes per side until it caramelizes slightly onto the meat. This step adds a beautiful glaze and enhances flavor.

Step Four: Steam Bao Buns

Steam your store-bought bao buns according to package instructions or use this recipe (link provided) to make your own steamed buns from scratch using flour, sugar, yeast, milk, oil, rice vinegar, and baking powder. Steaming them will only take a few minutes.

Step Five: Assemble Bao Buns

With all components prepared, it’s time to assemble your Crispy Steamed Pork Belly Bao Buns. Fill each steamed bun with shredded pork belly and top it with freshly chopped carrot, daikon, cucumber, and cilantro. You can also serve hoisin sauce alongside the buns for added flavor if desired.

Enjoy these exquisite Asian-inspired bao buns filled with marinated and caramelized pork belly, crispy vegetables, and a soft and fluffy bun. They make for a delicious meal that you can easily enjoy at home without the need for extensive culinary skills or making your own bao dough.

Step Two: Cook

Step Two: Cook

To begin cooking the pork belly bao buns, mix together the Shaoxing wine, light and dark soy sauces, brown sugar, olive oil, 5-spice, garlic powder, and ginger in a medium bowl. Place the pork in the bowl and marinate for at least 15 minutes or up to 5 hours in the refrigerator.

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Next, heat beef broth in a pot large enough to fit the pork. Add the onion, marinated pork, and the marinade to the pot. Cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the pork is tender. Be sure to watch the pot as the pork cooks to ensure that the water doesn’t evaporate. If it looks low on liquid, add 1/4 cup of water.

Once the pork is tender, remove it from the pot. Strain the braising liquid to remove any chunks and pour about 3 tablespoons of the liquid into a frying pan over medium-high heat. Let it reduce slightly before adding the pork to the pan. Cook each side of the pork for 2-3 minutes until caramelized slightly.

While cooking the pork belly, steam your bao buns according to package instructions. This should only take a few minutes.

Finally, fill each bun with shredded pork belly and top with carrot, daikon radish, cucumber, and cilantro. Serve with hoisin sauce if desired.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to create delicious crispy steamed pork belly bao buns right at home without any intimidation or hassle. Enjoy!

Substitutions & Variations

Substitutions & Variations

If you don’t have pork belly, you can use other proteins such as chicken or tofu for this recipe. Just adjust the marinating time accordingly.

If you can’t find bao buns, you can use roti, tortillas, or lettuce as a substitute. This gives you a low-carb option while still enjoying the delicious pork filling.

If you prefer a different sauce instead of hoisin sauce, you can try using plum sauce or sweet chili sauce to add a different flavor profile to the bao buns.

How to Assemble and Serve Gua Bao

To assemble and serve Gua Bao, follow these steps:

1. Warm the Buns: If your gua bao buns are not warm, you can quickly steam them for a minute or reheat them using a microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel.

2. Spread the Flavor: Open a gua bao bun, and spread a thin layer of hoisin sauce on the inside. This adds a rich and slightly sweet flavor to the dish.

3. Layer the Ingredients: Place a couple of slices of cooked pork belly inside the bun. Arrange them so that they fit comfortably within the bun.

4. Add Freshness: Place a few slices of cucumber on top of the pork belly. The crispness of the cucumber provides a nice contrast to the tender pork.

5. Sprinkle Scallions: Add a sprinkle of sliced scallions on top of the cucumbers. The scallions bring a mild onion flavor and a touch of color.

6. Crunchy Nuts: Sprinkle some crushed roasted peanuts over the scallions. This adds a delightful crunch and a nutty flavor.

7. Fresh Herbs: Finish off with a few fresh cilantro leaves. Cilantro adds brightness and a burst of herbal aroma.

8. Close It Up: Gently fold the bun to close it. The ingredients should be neatly tucked inside the bun, creating a little flavor-packed package.

Short-Term Storage:
If you’ve already assembled the gua bao with fillings, it’s best to consume them shortly after assembly as moisture from the fillings can make the buns soggy over time.

Prepping in Advance:
If you want to prep in advance, you can partially assemble the gua bao by placing the pork belly and other fillings in a container, and then store the buns separately. Assemble the buns just before serving to maintain their texture.

Separate Ingredients:
Another option is to store the pork belly, vegetables, and sauces in separate containers in the refrigerator. This way, you can quickly assemble the gua bao when you’re ready to eat, keeping the buns fresh.

Serving Suggestions:
To complement the rich and savory flavors of gua bao, consider serving them with side dishes that balance the meal and offer a variety of tastes and textures. Some delicious options include steamed or grilled vegetables such as broccoli or asparagus, pickled cucumbers or daikon radish for a tangy element, and lightly salted steamed edamame beans for a protein-rich snack.

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How to Store Assembled Gua Bao

How to Store Assembled Gua Bao
To store assembled Gua Bao, it is best to consume them shortly after assembly. The moisture from the fillings can make the buns soggy over time. However, if you want to prep in advance, you can partially assemble the Gua Bao by placing the pork belly and other fillings in a container, and then store the buns separately. Assemble the buns just before serving to maintain their texture.

Another option is to store the pork belly, vegetables, and sauces in separate containers in the refrigerator. This way, you can quickly assemble the Gua Bao when you’re ready to eat, keeping the buns fresh.

It’s important to note that Gua Bao are at their best when they are freshly assembled. If you’re serving them at a later time, assembling them closer to serving will ensure the best taste and texture.

Storing Assembled Gua Bao:

Storing Assembled Gua Bao:

If you’ve already assembled the gua bao with fillings, it’s best to consume them shortly after assembly. The moisture from the fillings can make the buns soggy over time. However, if you want to prep in advance, you can partially assemble the gua bao by placing the pork belly and other fillings in a container and then store the buns separately. This way, you can quickly assemble the buns just before serving to maintain their texture.

Another option is to store the pork belly, vegetables, and sauces in separate containers in the refrigerator. This allows you to easily assemble the gua bao when you’re ready to eat, keeping the buns fresh. By separating the ingredients, you can also customize each bun according to individual preferences.

To ensure maximum freshness and flavor, it’s recommended to consume the assembled gua bao within 1-2 days of preparation.

Questions About the Recipe

1. Where can I find plain Bao buns?

2. Can I make my own bao buns using this recipe?

3. Can I use a different protein instead of pork belly?

4. How can I make the pork belly ahead of time?

5. Can I cook the pork belly in a slow cooker or air fryer instead?

6. What are some side dishes that would complement these pork belly bao buns?

7. How should I store and reheat the assembled gua bao buns?

8. What are some alternative fillings or toppings for gua bao buns?

9. How long do I need to simmer the pork in the beef broth?

10. Do I need to add water to the pot while simmering the pork?

What to Serve With Pork Belly Bao Buns

When serving pork belly bao buns, it’s important to complement their rich and savory flavors with side dishes that balance the meal and offer a variety of tastes and textures. Here are some delicious options:

1. Steamed or Grilled Vegetables: Serve a platter of steamed or grilled vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, or bok choy. These provide a healthy and flavorful contrast to the indulgent pork belly.

2. Pickled Vegetables: Pickled cucumbers, daikon radish, or other vegetables add a tangy and slightly acidic element that cuts through the richness of the pork.

3. Edamame: Lightly salted and steamed edamame beans are a great protein-rich snack that pairs well with the bao buns.

4. Rice or Noodles: Serve a side of steamed rice or noodles to make it a more filling meal.

5. Asian Slaw: A refreshing Asian slaw made with cabbage, carrots, and a tangy dressing can provide a crunchy texture and bright flavors to accompany the pork belly bao buns.

6. Dumplings: If you’re looking for more variety in your meal, serve some dumplings alongside the bao buns for an appetizer or additional side dish.

Remember to offer hoisin sauce as a condiment for dipping the bao buns in for added flavor. With these side dishes, you’ll have a complete and satisfying Asian-inspired meal that perfectly complements the crispy steamed pork belly bao buns!

In conclusion, pork belly bao is a delicious and popular dish that combines tender and flavorful pork belly with fluffy steamed buns. Its popularity has spread worldwide due to its unique taste and texture. Whether enjoyed as street food or in upscale restaurants, pork belly bao offers a delightful culinary experience that should not be missed.

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