Taiwanese Gua Bao (Vegan)

A vegan version of Taiwanese-style Gua Bao (割包), with flavors just as you would find on the bustling streets of Taipei. Pulled Jackfruit “Pork,” Fried Mustard Greens, and Peanut Sugar all in the warm embrace of an ultra-fluffy home-made Gua Bao.

Some of my most cherished memories involve these humble Gua Baos. Everytime I hold a taiwanese gua bao in my hands, I think about my grandpa, who passed away an year ago. For some reason, I could clearly picture the first time I held a gua bao in my tiny little hands as a six-year-old, with my grandpa smiling, holding one in his hands as well. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Unlike most asian grandparents, my grandpa was a stoic, seemingly emotionless man. I hardly ever see him smile, let alone cry, or utter the words “I love you.” But he was wise, humble, focused, and loving in every other way. I started golfing since I was six, and every week, I would play with my grandpa at the one golf course he loved. Every time we went, we would each buy Gua Bao at the resting stop and eat them together. Wish we could enjoy that moment again. This recipe is dedicated to him.


HOW TO GUA BAO (Easy Method)

#1: Make the Dough. In a large bowl, combine all dough ingredients and mix together until a shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth. Since the dough has high hydration, it may be a bit sticky. But as you knead it, all the flour & clumps will slowly unstick from your hands. This should take around 7 minutes. Once smooth, place the dough into a clean, lightly oiled bowl and let it proof covered for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.

#2: Form the Gua Baos. After proofing, deflate the dough turn it onto a clean surface. You can very lightly oil the surface if you find that it’s sticking. Roll the dough out to a large circle of around 1 cm (0.4 inch) thickness. Use a 10 cm (4 inch) round cutter (or bowl) to cut circles. For each circular dough, brush on a little bit of vegetable oil (prevents sticking), stretch slightly, and fold over to form the Gua Bao shape.

Quickly place the folded Gua Bao onto a piece of parchment paper that’s been cut out to a rectangle (around double the size of each bao). Repeat this for the rest of the dough. Reform the remainders into a ball, roll it back out, and repeat the whole process until little to no dough remains.


Taiwanese Gua Bao (Vegan)

5 from 2 votes
Recipe by George L. Course: SnackCuisine: TaiwaneseDifficulty: Medium
Servings

8

baos
Prep time

1

hour 

20

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes

A vegan version of Taiwanese-style Gua Bao (割包), with flavors just as you would find on the bustling streets of Taipei. Pulled Jackfruit “Pork,” Fried Mustard Greens, and Peanut Sugar all in the warm embrace of an ultra-fluffy home-made Gua Bao.

Ingredients

  • Gua Bao
  • 220 grams all-purpose flour

  • 4 grams baking powder

  • 3 grams instant yeast

  • 15 grams sugar

  • 14 grams (1 tablespoon) vegetable oil

  • 120 grams room temperature water

  • Jackfruit “Pork”
  • 250 grams jackfruit (canned), deseeded

  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced

  • 2 teaspoon ginger, finely minced

  • 1.5 teaspoon ground five spice

  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or mirin)

  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (low sodium)

  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce (low sodium)

  • Fried Mustard Greens
  • 50 grams pickled mustard greens, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 dried chili peppers, deseeded & thinly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

  • Peanut Topping
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, crushed

  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or more if desired)

Directions

  • Prepare the Gua Bao. In a large bowl, combine all dough ingredients and mix together until a shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth, about 7 minutes. Once smooth, place the dough into a clean, lightly oiled bowl and let it proof covered for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size. After proofing, deflate the dough and roll it out to around 1 cm (0.4 inch) thickness. Use a 10 cm (4 inch) round cutter (or bowl) to cut circles. For each circular dough, brush on a little bit of vegetable oil (prevents sticking), stretch slightly, and fold over to form the Gua Bao shape. Quickly place the folded Gua Bao onto a piece of parchment paper that’s been cut out to a rectangle (around double the size of each bao). Repeat this for the rest of the dough. Reform the remainders into a ball, roll it back out, and repeat the whole process until little to no dough remains.
  • Steam the Gua Bao. Place the Gua Baos (along with parchment paper) into a steamer basket (3-4 per layer), and cover & let proof for 30 more minutes. Steam them for 12 minutes.
  • Prepare the Fried Mustard Greens. Heat up a little oil in a non-stick pan on medium heat and fry together minced garlic & dried chili peppers. Once aromatic, add chopped mustard greens, sesame seeds, sugar, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
  • Prepare Jackfruit “Pork.” Cut jackfruit chunks into thin slices & wring them dry with a kitchen towel. Heat up a little oil in a non-stick pan on medium-high heat and fry garlic & ginger together until aromatic. Add jackfruit, and continue to fry until dried and lightly caramelized, around 5 minutes (don’t stir it around too much). Break jackfruit into even smaller pieces/strands if necessary — it should resemble pulled pork. Deglaze with Shaoxing wine & soy sauces, followed by five spice & brown sugar. Taste & adjust seasoning to finish.
  • Assemble the Gua Bao. To prepare the Peanut Topping, Simply crush together peanuts with sugar. Gently open each Gua Bao and fill generously with jackfruit “pork” and mustard greens. Top with the peanut topping, along with scallions and/or cilantro.

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