Here are the fruits of my labor. Pudgy little dumplings filled with a delicious filling of pork, shrimp, and soup. It wasn’t an easy journey, but I certainly learned a lot. I had prepped the shrimp ahead of time and picked up everything else for the dumplings the day before. So, I was ready to rock and roll. I started with the dough. Seeing that you needed to let it rest for 30 minutes, I figured that would be enough time to make the filling.
The dough was pretty wet. I had to add another 1/4 cup of flour to get it to a sticky but not tacky consistency. It took a lot longer than I though, but it finally came together and was ready to rest while I worked on the filling.
This filling is super tasty. I intend to use it (minus the soup part) in gyoza too. It even smells good. Rolling out the dough to actually make the dumplings was a challenge and a damn half. The pinch pleat is definitely an art. This is an art I’m nowhere near to mastering. You have to be mindful while you’re working on your dumplings. One wrong move and it’s curtains. If you use too much dough they can come out chewy. Too little, they’ll bust and your soup will run out. So really take your time to make sure that your filling isn’t going anywhere and stays inside the dumpling shell.
I have a new respect for the dumpling, and I believe I’ve finally found a recipe I might put on the shelf for a good while. While the dumplings did come out super tasty; I think this is one dish I’m going to leave to the professionals. It’s obviously one of those things that are even better when made by a guy whose family has done nothing but make soup dumplings for the last 100 years.
All in all I’d say my Xiao Long Bao turned out pretty well. I mean it was a decent first attempt anyway. Not bad for a Korean kid raised by Irish and German/Italian parents. I’ll tell you, there’s something about that filling. I can still remember the smell as I stirred all of the ingredients together. It was heavenly. I really will throw this stuff into whatever I can. Probably some wonton skins. And another thing, that soup stock is also amazing. That’s now two amazing stocks this year!
I’m proud of myself for even trying this recipe. I don’t normally make a lot of international foods, let alone international foods I’ve never even tasted before. And give me a break, this was the first time I’ve ever tried making dumplings from scratch. It would have been much easier to sit on my ass googling restaurants or feverishly searching yelp for somewhere that sells soup dumplings. And who knows maybe one day I will spend some time searching for a place in the Baltimore Washington area that serves these tasty bits. But for now I’m content enjoying my slice of Shanghai from the comfort of my couch. One day I’ll make it to Nan Xiang Steamed Bun Restaurant, but until then, this will do me just fine.
Xiao Long Bao – Part Deux – Recipes from Steamy Kitchen
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1/4 lb shrimp, shelled, deveined, and minced finely
- 3 stalks green onion, finely minced
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Mix all ingredients together. Now that the gelatin has set, run a fork through it, with a criss-cross motion, to break it up into small 1/4″ pieces. Take about 1 1/2 cups of the broth gelatin and add that to the filling mixture. Stir to incorporate evenly throughout. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- 400 grams all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 cups)
- 3/4 cups boiling hot water
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
Put 90% of the flour in a large bowl. Pour about a third of the hot water in the flour. Use a pair of chopsticks to stir vigorously. Add more hot water. Stir. Add the last bit of the hot water and stir vigorously until the dough begins to form. Add the cold water and oil. Keep stirring vigorously with chopsticks. Stop when the dough is so thick you can’t stir anymore.
Dust counter with the remaining 40 grams of flour. Place dough on floured surface, use your hands to knead the dough for 8-10 minutes, until it becomes soft, smooth and bounces back slowly when you poke it with your finger. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Take one piece (cover the remaining 3 pieces with plastic wrap) and roll it into a long log, about 1 1/4″ diameter. Using pastry scraper or knife, cut dough into pieces about the size of a golf ball. Roll one of the balls between your palms to get a nice, round, smooth ball. Using a rolling pin, roll it out flat to about a 3″ circle. **Note, you may need more flour as you’re rolling out the dough.
Fill with 1 tablespoon of filling, pinch pleat the dough closed. Check out Steamy Kitchen’s slideshow for reference. Make sure that you cover any dough you aren’t currently using and cover the dumplings with a towel to prevent them from drying out.
Line the bottom of a steamer with a layer of Napa cabbage leaves. Steam over medium heat for 2 minutes to warm up the steamer and to soften cabbage. Place dumplings on the cabbage leaves, leaving 1 1/2″ space between each dumpling. Steam for 12 minutes.
- 2 tablespoons of sambal (hot chili & garlic sauce)
- 1/2 cup black vinegar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon of shaved ginger
To shave ginger, take a knob (about 2″ long), remove skin. Use sharpe paring knife to get a flat surface on one of the long sides. With a vegetable peeler, cut thin strips along the long side of the ginger. Use knife to further cut the strips into super-thin slices. Combine rest of the ingredients with the thinly sliced ginger, and stir well.