Xiao Long Bao – Shanghai Steamed Soup Dumplings

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Servings: 4      Prep Time: 2 hours + 3 hours chill in refrigerator      Cook Time: 10 minutes

Thank you, Mom, for the recipe!

Ingredients:

THE SOUP GELATIN
2 quarts of water
2 pounds chicken bones (wings/back/neck)
2 ounces of Virginia Country Ham (or cured Chinese ham if you can get it), cut into 4 pieces
1/2 pound of pork skin & fat (you can ask your butcher for this, he'll most likely just give it to you. you could also use pork belly, or just a fatty cut of pork)
1 inch piece of ginger, sliced into 4-5 ginger "coins"
2 green onions, cut into 3" pieces
2 large garlic cloves, smashed with side of your knife
2 teaspoons of Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)

FOR THE FILLING
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 (use rasp grater)
1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

MOM'S HOT WATER DOUGH
(makes about 40 dumplings)400 grams of all-purpose flour (but please re-read the part above re: dough)
3/4 cups boiling hot water
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon cooking oil

FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE
1 tablespoon of sambal (hot chili & garlic sauce)
1/4 cup black vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled

Directions:

FOR THE GELATIN

1 tablespoon powdered Agar Agar or 1 tablespoon of unflavored gelatin

Place 4 cups of the broth back in the pot, turn on the heat. When just about to boil again, turn heat off and add the agar-agar or gelatin. Whisk for 2 minutes until all powder is dissolved. Pour broth into an 8x8 baking dish (size really doesn't matter. if you have a few plastic containers, use those instead. remember how you used to make jello?) Refrigerate until set, about 3-4 hours. (I stuck mine in the freezer after the first hour because I got impatient...it only took 2 hours for mine to set)


FOR THE FILLING

Mix all ingredients. Remember the broth gelatin above? When the broth gelatin is set, run a fork through it, with criss-cross motion, to break up into very 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.



FOR THE DOUGH

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 more. Add the last bit of the water and stir vigorously until the dough begins to form. Add the cold water and oil. Keep stirring vigorously with chopsticks. Stop when you can't stir anymore.

Dust counter with the remainder 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 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. Use 3" cookie cutter or improvise with my ghetto version of a cutter to cut out the dough circle. **Note, you may need more flour as your are rolling out your dough. I always keep the counter dusted and a small pile of flour nearby so I can quickly nudge some over if I need it.

Fill with 1 tablespoon of filling, pinch pleat by following the slideshow above. Repeat with rest. Make sure that you cover any dough that you aren't currently using and cover the dumplings with a towel to prevent drying.


STEAMING THE DUMPLINGS
1 head of Napa cabbage, leaves separated

Fill steamer with 1 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. Serve in bamboo steamer.

FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE
Shave the ginger - Use your sharp 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. This way, you get the full flavor of ginger in your sauce + the crunch of the little strips of ginger as you eat without tough, fibrous pieces of ginger.

Whisk together the ingredients in a bowl with the ginger.