Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Gua Bao with Hoisin and Ginger Pulled Pork

My life is kinda chaotic and stressful and not all that wonderful lately, if I am to be honest.  That explains the lack of posts lately. But in an effort to keep myself busy in a way that does not involve completing 1000-piece puzzles so quickly that I get tendonitis in my thumb (true story), I am going to update you on some pulled pork that was quite a hit a few weeks ago.

Here's the thing about this recipe.  I was obviously not incredibly excited to make the pulled pork, but I was happy to make the gua bao (steamed buns).  I even had my bamboo steamer all set to go.  I made the cold slaw, which was delicious by the way and flavored with lime, lemon, and rice wine vinegar, and then while the pork was slow cooking, I got to work on the buns.  I added yeast to warm water and waited for it to bubble.  It never bloomed, so I threw out that pack of yeast and grabbed another one.  Same results.  And another... same.  Yes, I had 3 packages of yeast in my freezer because my fabulous aunt Linny got her friend, who works at a yeast company, to send me tons of it!  And sadly, all 3 were dead.  RIP yeast.  Luckily Linny has a new bag of yeast for me the next time I see her :) Thanks Linny!

Anyway, I gave up on the gua bao after that and texted my family that I would be bringing over dinner if they could provide the rolls.  They had made regular pulled pork that week, so I figured they would have some leftover.  Luckily they did, so I just brought the cold slaw and the pulled pork over.

Oh, right, the pork.  It's not your regular pulled pork, let me tell you.  It gets slow cooked with Chinese 5 spice powder, fresh ginger and garlic, hoisin sauce, and ginger beer.  It's like an Asian flavor explosion.  Plus it makes its own sauce - no BBQ sauce necessary.

Everyone loved these sandwiches; even Walter wanted to try a bite.  Nick ventured to say it might even be better than his own pulled pork.  It's definitely a fun twist on pulled pork if you're feeling exotic!

Side note - this recipe was written using the metric system (i.e. 10 grams of yeast).  I did the conversions for you.  You're welcome.


gua bao with hoisin and ginger pulled pork
from Drizzle and Dip

pulled pork:
1 pork shoulder/ Boston butt,fat trimmed (the recipe calls for 3 kg., which is about 6 pounds! Mine was much smaller)
2 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
6 - 8 cloves garlic, sliced
1 1/4 cups hoisin sauce
1 cup ginger beer
optional toppings: chopped cilantro, pickled carrots, sliced cucumber, hot sauce
slaw and dressing:
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups finely shredded cabbage
steamed bun (gua bao) dough:
1 cup water, at room temperature
2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons milk powder
4 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda


1) Rub the pork generously with the salt, pepper, five spice, chili, and ginger.  Place in slow cooker and allow to marinate for about an hour.  Pour over the hoisin sauce, ginger beer, and add the garlic.  Turn it on to low, cover, and cook for about 8 -9 hours depending on the size of your pork.  Once cooked, turn off an allow to cool.  Remove the meat, place o a tray and shred with forks.  Pour the sauce over it.

2) To make the slaw, mix all the dressing ingredients together and toss with shredded cabbage.

3) To make the dough, add yeast to the water in the bowl of a stand mixer and allow to activate for about 10 minutes.

4) Using the paddle attachment, add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix briefly until you have a dough.  Scrape the paddle, attach the dough hook, and continue kneading for about 5 minutes.  Remove from the bowl onto a floured surface and briefly knead to form a round dough ball that is springy to the touch.

5) Place dough n a greased bowl, and cover with a sheet of greased plastic wrap.  Allow to proof in a warm place for about an hour.  It should double in size.

6) Pinch back the risen dough on a floured surface and roll into a log shape.  Divide into 12 equal parts.  Roll each of these parts into a ball and place on a floured tray.  Cover with a tea towel and allow to proof for a second time for about 30 minutes.  It should double in size again.

7) While dough is rising, cut out 12 8x8 centimeter squares of parchment paper.  Prepare your steamer according to its instructions.

8) Roll a bun into an oval shape, dip a chopstick into a bottle of oil, and fold over this stick, which you them slide out.  Place this folded piece of dough on a piece of parchment paper.  Repeat with all 12 pieces.

9) Steam the buns 3 at a time in the steamer for 5 minutes.  They will be firm to the touch and cooked through.  Repeat until they are all cooked.

10) To assemble the gua bao, add sliced cucumber and pickled carrots to the bottom of the bun, fill with pulled pork,a nd finish off with the dressed slaw and fresh cilantro.  Add a drizzle of hot sauce if desired.

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