Xiao Long Bao – Chinese Soup Dumplings

(~30 dumplings)

Preparation Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 90 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

I ate these dumplings for the first time in Shanghai. This is hands down my favorite Chinese dish. After moving to NYC I’ve made innumerable treks to Cina town come rain, shine or snow to get Xiao long bao at Shanghai Café or Joe’s Shanghai. Another little restaurant that serves really good soup dumplings and not a lot know about is 21 Shanghai House. It’s quieter with not a lot of people and good value for money! Since I have my own steamer, decided to finally give it a try myself. These dumplings burst with broth and if you have the patience well worth the effort. The key to the soupy burst is to make fresh broth in advance and add gelatin to it to have it in semi solid form. This lets you add the jelly broth along with the filling and seal the dumplings. When you steam the dumplings the jelly melts to make the juiciest dumplings ever!

Ingredients:

For the broth gelatin:

  • 2 quarts water
  • ½ pound ham
  • 2 pounds chicken with bones
  • 2 inch ginger roughly sliced
  • 3 spring onions cut in 2 inch pieces
  • 1 onion cut inn quarters
  • 4 large garlic cloves smashed with side of your knife
  • 4 tablespoon Chinese rice wine 
  • 4 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin
  • Salt and pepper

For the filling:

  • ¾ pound ground pork
  • ½ pound cleaned fresh shrimp
  • 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 spring onion finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
  • ½ teaspoon roasted sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper

For the dough:

  • 400 grams all purpose flour
  • 3/4th cup steaming hot water
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • Keep some flour and water handy to adjust consistency

For the dipping sauce:

  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
  • 1 inch ginger thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil

To steam:

  • ½ cabbage
  • Steamer

INSTRUCTIONS

For the gelatin broth:

In a large pot add a little oil on medium heat and sautee onions, ginger and garlic. After about a minute add in the spring onions and sautee. Now add the water and the rest of the ingredients for the broth except the gelatin and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 35-40 minutes. Taste, and adjust with salt and pepper as needed.

Measure out 4 cups of the broth when still really hot and pour into a medium pyrex baking dish.

Stir in the gelatin. Whisk until all powder is dissolved. Refrigerate until set, about 3-4 hours or overnight. I just did it the previous day when I had some spare time.

For the filling:

Chop the clean shrimp really fine. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

For the dough:

Pour the flour in a large bowl. Slowly add the boiling hot water and keep mixing with a wooden spoon. As you keep adding the water the dough will begin to form.

Dust a counter with the additional flour and move dough to this surface. Knead well for about 10 minutes until you have a smooth dough ball.

Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Take one piece (cover the remaining 3 pieces with plastic wrap) either using a knife or just your hands cut dough into 10 equal pieces. The size of the ball should be surprisingly small if you are doing this for the first time

Using a rolling pin, roll out the balls flat to about 3″ round. As you roll out the dough you will need additional flour so it does not stick to the surface.

Fill with 1 tablespoon of filling and 1 teaspoon of the gelatin broth.

Pinch pleat all the way around as shown. Repeat with rest. Make sure that you cover any dough that you aren’t currently using.

For the dipping sauce:

Whisk together the ingredients in a bowl with the ginger.

Steam the dumpling:

Separate the leaves of the cabbage ad place in steamer. I did not have a traditional Chinese steamer made with bamboo but an indian style steamer which is used to make rice dumplings called idlis! It doesn’t really matter. They both serve the same purpose.

Add in water in the steamer and bring to boil. Steam the dumplings over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes. The size of the dumplings increases when you steam so keep a good 1/2 inch distance between them, else they will stick together.

If you are using a Chinese steamer it will take longer about 10 minutes.

Enjoy the soup dumplings with the dipping sauce. Eating Tip: Make a small hole at the top of the dumpling with chopsticks. Add a little dipping sauce into the dumpling. Suck in the soupy broth. Careful not to scald your tongue!!!

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