• Mealsbymiri

Hoisin Eggplant Gua Baos

Updated: Sep 2

If there's one thing you should know about me it's that I LOVE baos. Whether they're pan fried, steamed, closed or gua (open/cut) bao, you can bet I'm a fan. These open faced baos called gua baos seem to have originated in Taiwan from what I was able to find online (good job Taiwan). The filling for this one is however inspired by one of my favourite menu items from Wonderbao - a bao bun restaurant that used to operate at a physical location in the Melb0urne CBD. Now that they've sadly had to close down thanks to the disaster that was 2020 my boyfriend and I had no choice but to try and make something to fill the bao-shaped hole in our hearts and let me tell you these DEFINITELY hit the spot. I have to give full credit to my boyfriend Simon for coming up with the recipe for the eggplant and pickled bok choy fillings for these ones. You are incredible and thank you for letting me share this with the world! Now that I've hyped these up sufficiently I reckon it's time we get started with the recipe, so here's how to make them!

This recipe makes 4 baos


Dough:

120g flour

30g cornflour/cornstarch

20g sugar

1tsp yeast

85g water


Pickled bok choy: 1 spring onion/scallion

2 cloves garlic

one head of bok choy

100g rice wine vinegar

4g (1tsp) kosher salt

50g granulated sugar

½ tsp chili flakes

5 black peppercorns Eggplant:

60g (2tbsp)water,

60g (2tbsp) vegan hoisin sauce

30g (1tbsp) Soy sauce

1tbsp neutral oil (canola/rapeseed/sunflower)

1medium sized eggplant

Fillings: ⅓ cucumber

1 carrot

sriracha mayo

1 spring onion



Method:

Pickled bok choy:

Wash the bok choy and remove the green leaf from the stem/base. Keep these as whole as possible and keep in the fridge, you’ll be using them as filling for the bao! Slice 60g of the white part of the bok choy into slices about 1-1.5 cm thick. Add it to a mason jar or deep bowl. Finely slice the garlic and spring onion and add to the jar as well. In a saucepan add your sugar, vinegar and salt and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils take it off the heat and pour into your mason jar. Close it and leave to cool down in the fridge while you make the rest.


Dough: Mix all ingredients for the dough and knead into a ball. Cover and let rest for at least 1hour or until about doubled in size. Knock out the air and knead until smooth. Divide into 4 equal balls and onto a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the balls into elongated oval shapes. They should be straight on the long side and rounded on the short sides, so that they can be folded in half to make that classic gua bao shape. Layer a piece parchment paper in the middle and fold it in half over the paper (this is to prevent them from sticking together) and place the folded bao onto another square of parchment paper. Place the buns into a steamer basket over a pan of simmering water and steam for about 10 minutes.






Eggplant

While the baos are steaming, start cooking the eggplant. Slice it into thick slices and halve each slice into a half-circle. Mix the water, hoisin sauce and soy sauce in a bowl. Heat up 1tbsp oil in a pan and add the sliced eggplant. Cook on both sides until golden and tender. Add the sauce mix and stir to coat. Set aside in a bowl or on a plate to cool.

Filling + serving Peel a carrot and chop into strips, finely slice about ⅓ cucumber and a scallion into strips as well. Layer in sriracha mayo, the bok choy leaves left over from the pickles, your chopped veggies, pickles and aubergine and enjoy!






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