I discovered Grace’s baos a couple of years ago and fell in love with them. The bao are very soft steamed rolls filled with meat or vegetarian, typical of Taiwanese street food. They differ from those of Chinese cuisine because instead of containing the filling inside the dough, they are just a little like our panini, open and stuffed.
The base dough is a classic yeast dough (as we would do for bread or pizza), folded in
a half or round, steamed and stuffed. And here a world opens up.
Classic gua bao is with pork belly, marinated mustard cabbage, fresh coriander leaves and ground peanuts: a symphony of flavors that chases each other in the mouth. Let’s talk about pork belly, which in the Italian imagination is synonymous with fat; here, on the other hand, thanks to slow cooking (3-4 hours) and well-dosed spices, the meat is very soft, has lost all of its grease and is round and delicate in the mouth. The coriander gives the fresh note, the peanut the toasted one. Attention, the pork belly (fresh) must be cut into thick slices and have the same amount of fat and lean part, so watch out for the choice of meat!
Fried chicken gua bao replace the melting of the pancetta with the crunchiness of the chicken. Marinated chicken breast (always with spices), coated in sweet potato flour
and fried. This time the bao is round (and not folded in half), but only for an aesthetic matter and the meat is accompanied with a tofu-based sauce, a generous ground pepper and fresh salad. Needless to say, the result is just as tasty in a harmony of flavors that makes you devour the sandwich in the blink of an eye.
The evening ran away, between talk and cooking, with the final triumph of being able to taste the baos cooked together. Brava Grace and thanks Mariangela, perfect hostess.