Chengdu Guo Kui – Recipe

2020 UPDATE: When I first made Chengdu guo kui, I rolled them out with flour to prevent them from sticking. But nowadays I actually use sesame oil: more flavour, crisper flakier layers and still no sticking. And having since ending up marrying the friend that I visited in Sichuan all those years ago, and been back to visit family several times over that time, these crispy, flaky, spicy pastries are still my absolute favourite snack in Chengdu.


One of the things I ate in Chengdu that I've never eaten before was 锅盔 (also written 锅魁) guo kui, a crispy fried multi-layered flatbread / pastry thing filled with spicy and numbing beef. I'm going back to Chengdu in September, but you know what? I can't wait to eat guo kui again. So I decided to have a go at making it.

I found it quite difficult to find recipes to go by, because every region calls these things by a different name, and the 'guo kui' itself is also slightly differently made in each region. In the end I decided that the pastry must be a simple water pastry, and going by the memory of the cook I watched making them back in Chengdu to the memory of the taste, I just winged it. I'd say they turned out pretty good for my first attempt.

Me sneakily watching The Man and learning in Chengdu.

The finished product made by The Man.

I used my homemade Sichuan-style chilli oil, which I make by heating peanut oil with garlic, ginger, star anise, black cardamom and cassia bark, then pouring the hot infused oil over ground dried chillies, Sichuan peppercorns and sesame seeds. You can use store bought chilli oil instead, which you can find at most Chinese stores.

Need an at-a-glance visual? Watch my YouTube video:

Ready? Here we go.

Ingredients for Dough:

300g plain flour
170ml boiling water

Ingredients for Filling:

200g lean beef mince
1.5 tbsp ground Sichuan pepper
1 tbsp chilli oil (with plenty of the 'chilli stuff' from the bottom)
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 x 2cm cube ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ground sea salt


Sesame oil (for rolling)
6 tbsp white sesame seeds (for coating)
Vegetable or groundnut oil (for frying)


1. To make the pastry, simply mix the boiling water into the flour in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until it starts to come together, then knead with your hands until smooth. Cover with clingfilm and set aside.

2. Mix all of the filling ingredients together. Now the technical part: divide the dough into 6 portions. Take one, and on an oiled surface roll it out into a strip. Smear a portion of spiced beef thinly on top, and roll it up lengthways. Turn it 90 degrees, roll it out into another (this time thinner) strip and smear another thin amount of beef on. Roll it up into a coil, set on its end and flatten so you have a round spiral. As you roll it out, scatter a few sesame seeds on the surface so they stick to the disc of dough. Repeat until the dough has been used up.

3. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat the oil until medium hot (until you drop a sesame seed in and it sizzles a little), and fry your guo kui until golden on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel before popping on a baking tray and into the oven for 5–8 minutes to continue to crisp up.

Enjoy, and have fun.


  1. Love the recipe, thanks for sharing! I was just in Chengdu and fell in love with these. I'll let you know how I get on!

    1. That's awesome, hope they turn out well! I'm still missing all the spicy food.


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