Taiwanese Salt & Pepper Gua Bao

Gua Bao are Taiwanese steamed buns packed with pickled cabbage, ground peanuts, coriander, etc. They are popular Taiwanese street food and are also gaining a lot of popularity in food carts and restaurants across the world. The Salt + Pepper Tofu Gua Bao contains salt & pepper tofu with sesame seeds, ground sweet roasted peanuts, pickled cucumber salad, and loads of julienned scallions – it is a very tasty appetizer!

You can make a batch of gua bao in batches of 40-45 pieces and freeze the rest for up to 6 months. You can use BBQ tofu or anything else you like instead of salt & pepper tofu too. Just make sure you have something pickled like Kimchi or Chinese Cabbages, and loads of sugary crushed roasted peanuts. Both of these play a very important role in Gua Bao fillings.

You need gua baos ready beforehand to make this dish. You can learn to make Gua Bao here.


10 Gua Bao

1-2 cucumbers, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp sea salt

3/4 tsp raw sugar/demerara sugar/brown sugar

2 tbsp vinegar

1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1/4 tsp dried red chili flake

½ teaspoon cilantro leaves, rinsed, patted dry and coarsely chopped


½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts

2 ½ tablespoons raw sugar


4 scallions, finely sliced lengthwise into thin matchsticks or julienned

1 ½ tablespoons 5-blend peppercorns, freshly ground

½ tablespoon Szechwan peppercorns, freshly ground

4 tablespoons potato starch

2 teaspoons fleur de sel or sea salt

1 (16-ounce) firm tofu, pressed overnight (up to 8 hours)

Rice bran oil for frying

2 teaspoons garlic, finely minced

1-inch fresh ginger, peeled, and finely sliced lengthwise into thin matchsticks or 4 teaspoons minced ginger

2-3 tablespoons cilantro leaves, rinsed, patted dry, and coarsely chopped for garnish

Toasted sesame seeds for garnish


Pickled Cucumber Salad:

Place cucumber slices in a bowl and toss with salt.

Let it sit for about 30 minutes.

Rinse and drain well.

In a small bowl, combine sugar, vinegar, toasted sesame oil and chili flakes.

Add the mixture to the cucumbers.

Add cilantro for garnish.

Refrigerate for an hour.

Serve chilled.

Ground Sweet Roasted Peanuts:

Using a mortar and pestle, crush the peanuts until coarsely chopped.

Add the sugar.

Mix well.

Store in an airtight container and set aside.

Salt & Pepper Tofu:

Using mortar and pestle, grind the peppercorns.

In a small baking dish, mix potato starch, salt, 2 tbsp peppercorns. This is the tofu mixture, make sure the bottom is covered with it.

Slice the block of tofu width wise to get ten rectangular blocks.

Make sure the tofu blocks are slightly wet.

Coat the tofu with the tofu mixture on all sides and toss well.

In a large wok or a shallow pot, heat the rice bran oil.

Start adding coated tofu blocks.

Turn down the heat so as not to burn them.

Top with ginger, garlic and scallions.

Stir fry for 4-5 minutes till tofu blocks are slightly browned or before the garlic burns.

Season the cooked tofu blocks with sesame seeds.

Set up a bamboo steamer on the stove.

On the parchment squares, steam the gua bao for 2-3 minutes (if frozen), and 10 minutes (if made fresh).

Remove them and set them on a wire rack.

One the gua bao are soft and warm, add the salt & pepper tofu, top with pickled cucumber salad, ground sweet roasted peanuts and julienned scallions.

Serve immediately.











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  1. bhavipatel says:

    Reblogged this on blackbeautyandme.

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