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This fluffy bun Gua Bao recipe or “Pork belly steamed buns” are like most breads you can basically fill it with anything. It is also amazing with pulled pork, fried chicken, pork ribs, tofu and even bacon and egg.

Braised Pork Belly Recipe - Gua Bao

4.3 from 20 votes
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This fluffy bun Gua Bao recipe or “Pork belly steamed buns” are like most breads you can basically fill it with anything. It is also amazing with pulled pork, fried chicken, pork ribs, tofu and even bacon and egg.
Servings: 20
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes


  • 2 lbs whole piece pork belly
  • 5 g dried red chillies (seeded)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 5 pcs star anise
  • 5 slices ginger
  • 15 pcs whole white peppercorns
  • 4 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce (plus 2 extra tbsp for the sauce later)
  • 4 tbsp sugar (plus 2 extra tbsp for the sauce later)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (mixed with 60ml (¼ cup) water)


  • ½ thinly sliced cucumber (or other vegetables)
  • 30 g toasted peanuts (finely chopped)
  • 2 boiled eggs (sliced)
  • A handful of coriander leaves
  • Sriracha hot sauce (optional)

Pickled Carrot

  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 cup hot water
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt

Gua Bao Dough: (or you can buy the dough in any Asian market)

  • 200 ml water (at room temperature)
  • 7 g dry yeast
  • 150 g high gluten wheat flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 150 g low gluten wheat flour
  • 10 g dry milk powder
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda


Pickled Carrot:

  • Mix hot water, vinegar, sugar and salt together, stir well until all sugar has dissolved. Julienne carrots into matchstick size about 5cm in length then put them in an airtight sealed jar.
  • Pour the solution into the jar until all carrots are fully submerged. Close lid and keep in the refrigerator up to a month.
  • The carrot taste better after they’ve been pickling for 3 to 4 days so, prepare pickled carrot a day or a week before.

Pork Belly:

  • Put the whole piece of pork belly, skin side up, in a large saucepan and fill it with 2 liters of water or until about an inch high from the skin of the pork. Bring it to the boil on high heat, skim out all the impurities floating on the surface.
  • Turn heat down to a simmer, add garlic, ginger, red chillies, peppercorns, soy sauces and sugar, give it all a stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Let it braise for 1.5 hours or until the pork is melting tender but not falling apart. Remove the pork from the stock and transfer to a plate, set aside to let it cool down.

To Make Sweet Sauce:

  • Strain 2 cups (250ml) of the braising stock into a small saucepan, add 2 tablespoons each of light soy sauce and sugar then bring to boil. Reduce the liquid by half, stir in cornflour water until it thickens.
  • Remove from heat, set aside until ready to be used.
  • Once the pork is cool enough to handle, cut it into thin slices about 5-7mm thickness. Put the meat back in the stock, close the lid and keep warm until ready to be used.

For Dough: (or buy the dough at your local Asian Market)

  • To make the bun dough, add yeast to water and let it activate for 10 minutes or until frothy. Add the remaining dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand-mixer with a dough hook.
  • Pour the yeast water into the bowl and start mixing on low speed until it forms a rough dough. Keep kneading the dough for another 5 minutes until the dough feels smooth and elastic.
  • Grease a bowl with oil and put dough inside, cover with cling film and let it rest for 1 hour until the dough has doubled in size.
  • Punch the air out of the dough, transfer it to a floured surface and spread it out into a 40cmx15cm rectangle, then roll it into a tight log. Cut the log into 12 equal size pieces, about 35-40 grams each.
  • Flatten each dough then roll them up into balls. Place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper, cover with tea towel and let it rest for 30 minutes. It will double in size again.
  • In the mean time, cut out twelve 8cmx8cm squares of baking paper. Take one dough and using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 8cmx15cm oval shape, dip a chopstick in vegetable oil and place it in the center of the oval, fold it in half then pull the chopstick out.
  • Place the bun on a square of baking paper and put it back on the baking tray, repeat with the rest of the dough. Once completed, cover with tea towel and let it proof for another 30 minutes.
  • Set up a steamer over simmering water, in batches and steam the buns for 10 minutes.

To Assemble:

  • Remove paper from the bun and peel it open, layer the bun with sliced boiled eggs, cucumber slices, pickled carrot, slices of pork belly and coriander. Slather with sweet sauce and Sriracha sauce, then sprinkle with peanuts.



Nutrition Information:

Calories: 61kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 465mg | Potassium: 47mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 16IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg

Please note that all nutrition information are just estimates. Values will vary among brands, so we encourage you to calculate these on your own for most accurate results.

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Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keywords: bao pork belly, bao rolls, braised pork belly with chinese buns, gua bao buns, gua bao recipe, pork belly bao recipe, pork belly buns recipe, pork belly steamed buns