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Recipe: Larkin Cen's Festive Gua Bao

Playing on Britain's Bao craze, Master Chef Finalist and Wing Yip Young Chef of the Year Competition Judge, Larkin Cen has created a recipe for Gua Bao, also known as pork belly buns. This is one of is favourite dishes to cook up for friends. IT's super easy and bursting with flavour - a perfect addition to your Oriental celebrations.


For the Bao's:
500g Asian Bao flour/or strong white bread flour
225g milk
10g fresh yeast
75g sugar
50g unsalted butter
½ tbsp baking powder

For the Pork:
500g pork belly
200g Wing Yip Hoi Sin
50g smooth peanut butter
10g Wing Yip Oyster Sauce
10g Wing Yip Light Soy Sauce
20g sugar

To Serve:
Wing Yip Hoi Sin Sauce
Sliced cucumber
Shredded spring onion
Crushed peanuts

Cooking Method

Makes 20 Bao's

For the Bao's:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients together and knead for 5 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth to stop a crust forming and let the bread mixture rest for 1 hour.
  2. Punch the dough down and turn out onto a clean work surface. Divide the dough in half gently roll the pieces into logs.
  3. Cut the logs into smaller pieces of around the size of a ping pong ball, roll into a ball and place onto parchment paper.
  4. Flatten one ball with the palm of your hand and lay a greased chopstick in the middle and fold the bun over. Let the Bao’s rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Steam the buns in a bamboo steamer with parchment paper to stop them sticking. They will only take 12 minutes. Either eat these fresh or they can be frozen and re-steamed.

For the Pork:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients and rub into the pork belly.
  2. Place the pork belly into a baking dish and cover with water or chicken stock and seal with foil.
  3. Put into the oven for 2 hours 40 minutes at 160C.
  4. Take off all excess fat and shred the meat. Add some of the cooking liqueur back through the meat to keep it moist. It’s better overnight as the cooking liqueur is absorbed by the meat.

To serve add some Hoi Sin sauce, cucumber, spring onions and crushed peanuts to each bao with the meat. Use some of the excess cooking liquer to season the pork.