Chinese Soup Dumplings, or Xiaolongbao is a MUST TRY at least once! It’s a long recipe, the dumpling skin is hand made and the filling requires several hours of chilling. But it’s so worth it! These are the real deal. This is an authentic Xiaolongbao recipe from Top Chef star Lee Anne Wong from her new book, Dumplings All Day Wong.
Have you ever tried Xiao Long Bao? These are Chinese Soup Dumplings, steamed dumplings that contain a rich broth trapped inside the parcel of the folded dumpling. This dish should be on your must-try foods!
So, how does the liquid, or soup, get inside the dumpling? It’s gelatin, baby. A concentrated, rich soup made with pork belly and ham is set with gelatin, so that the liquid becomes a solid. Then it is mixed with ground pork, crab and shrimp, along with green onions and ginger.
A dough is hand-made, rolled out and filled.
Then pleated and folded.
To make little dumplings.
Once the dumplings are steamed, the soup turns back into liquid. How do you eat such a dumpling? Very carefully! Place a dumpling on a large spoon, preferably a Chinese soup spoon, which is deep enough to capture all of the soup. Take a little nibble, let some of the steam escape (so that you don’t burn your mouth), and also let some of the soup spill out into the spoon. Take small bites of the dumpling, eating and sipping at the same time.
This recipe is from Lee Anne Wong, Top Chef finalist from the very first season. I remember watching Lee Anne, cheering her on from my couch, “Go Asian sister, go!”
After watching Lee Anne, I had serious thoughts about going to culinary school, even filling out the application forms at a brand new culinary center institute up near my home. But instead of spending $60,000 a year in culinary school fees, I started Steamy Kitchen instead.
These days, I’m getting asked by culinary schools to come TEACH their students! I think I made a wise decision.
But, Lee Anne Wong inspired me to move in the right direction – a career in food and cooking.
Dumplings All Day Wong
The recipe for Chinese Soup Dumplings is from Lee Anne’s new book, Dumplings All Day Wong. Included in the book are dozens of Lee Anne’s favorite Asian dumplings, with step-by-step photos (like the ones above.)
Here’s a description:
Folds such as Potstickers, Gyozas, Shumai, Har Gow, Wontons and more, along with countless fillings and different cooking methods such as steaming, pan-frying, baking or deep-frying, allow you to create awe-inspiring dumplings in innumerable ways. With friends and family begging to come over and try a new dumpling recipe from the master again and again, this book will be a go-to in your kitchen for years to come.
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My very first xiaolongbao was at the original Joe’s Shanghai, which resides on Pell Street in New York City’s Chinatown. I had read all about their famously plump and juicy steamed delights in many various local food publications, so I was compelled to try them for myself. Forewarned by many who had devoured before me, I knew to be careful with the first bite, as these dumplings were notorious for the hot broth inside that could easily burn and injure. Whatever your plan of attack is, these will surely become a favorite, as they are mine. No kidding, the sky could be falling, but if I have a dim sum steamer full of xiaolongbao, I’ll be fine. These dumplings take a whole day or two to make, so get the soup stock going first. By sundown, you’ll have fresh soup dumplings in the comfort of your own home—what I consider to be one of the true secret keys to happiness. -Lee Anne Wong
These bamboo steamers are inexpensive and you can set them on top of your wok.
If you don’t have a wok, use this steamer ring! I own one of these and set this on top of a large pot filled with water. Then I set the bamboo steamer stacks on TOP of the ring.
Chinese Soup Dumplings Recipe (with Pork & Crab)
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) Shaoxing rice wine, chilled
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin or agar agar
- 2 pounds (900 g) chicken wings and/or feet*
- 8 ounces (225 g) pork belly, with skin
- 4 ounces (115 g) Chinese ham or bacon
- 8 cups (2 quarts) water
- 3 whole green onions, minced
- 1 inch (2.5 cm) piece ginger, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
- 8 ounces (225 g) ground pork
- 4 ounces (115 g) crabmeat, cleaned and picked through, or shrimp, peeled, deveined, minced
- 1/2 cup (25 g) minced scallion, white and green parts
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) Shaoxing rice wine
- 1/2 tablespoon (7.5 ml) sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons (10 g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) finely grated ginge
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
SOUP DUMPLING DOUGH
- 2 cups (200 g) packed all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (235 ml) boiling water
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) sesame oil
- 2 inches piece ginger, peeled
- 1/4 cup (60ml) red vinegar (or Chinese black vinegar)
To make the gelatin:
- In a small bowl, combine the wine and the soy sauce and refrigerate. We'll use this later with the gelatin.
- Rinse the chicken and pork under cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Using a large knife or cleaver, chop the chicken wings and feet in half to expose the bone. Dice the pork belly and ham into large chunks. Combine with the water, scallion, ginger and garlic in a large stockpot. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a rolling simmer. Skim the foam and impurities that rise to the surface of the stock for a clearer broth. Cook the broth, uncovered, for 2½ hours. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve or colander lined with a lint-free towel into a clean pot. Discard the solids (or pull the braised meat from the wing bones and chop and use for dumpling filling, stir-fry, salad, stew or sandwiches). Place the strained broth back on the burner.
- To the chilled wine/soy sauce mixture, stir in the gelatin powder. Pour this mixture into a shallow baking dish. Pour the hot soup into the baking dish and use a fork to stir and whisk. Allow this mixture to cool enough to stop steaming, then cover and place in your refrigerator. Chill the stock for about 2 hours, until it is completely cold and set, like Jell-O. Using a fork, scrape up the gelatin and gently mash it to break it up into small pieces. You can also place in freezer to speed up chilling.
To make the filling:
- Combine the ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Stir in the soup gelatin until it is well distributed. Cover and refrigerate the filling until ready to use.
To make the dough:
- Place the flour in a bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the boiling water and sesame oil into the center of the well and stir with a fork or pair of chopsticks until the dough begins to come together. You may need to add more water if it is dry, or if the dough is sticky, a touch more flour. Once the dough comes together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly for 3 to 4 minutes, until it can be kneaded into a smooth ball.
- Working on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 2-inch (5-cm)-thick rope and divide the dough into 10 even pieces. Roll each piece into a 1-inch (2.5-cm)-thick rope and cut into 4 pieces, for a total of 40 pieces. Keep the dough covered in plastic wrap and refrigerate all but just the few pieces you are currently working with.
- Using a small rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a 4-inch (10-cm) circle about 1⁄16 inch (0.2 cm) thick.
To make the dumpling:
- Add a heaping tablespoon (12 g) of filling to the center of the wrapper and wet the edges with a pastry brush or your finger. Begin to gather the edge of the wrapper and make tiny overlapping pleats, keeping the center of the dumpling as the focal point, until you have gathered all of the dough and the dumpling is formed. Gently pinch the pleats to seal the dumpling. Store on a lightly floured tray, covered with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dumplings (as you go) or freeze as needed.
To steam the dumpling:
- Arrange the dumplings at least 1½ inches (4 cm) apart in a dim sum steamer lined with blanched napa cabbage leaves or place a 3x3-inch piece of parchment paper under each dumpling. Place the dim sum basket over several inches of water in a wok (the water should reach just below the bottom tier of the first basket). Bring the water to a boil and steam the dumplings for 6 to 8 minutes, adding more water to the bottom pan as necessary. Serve hot with red vinegar dipping sauce.
To make the dipping sauce
- Use a vegetable peeler to peel the ginger into very thin strips. Then, use a chef's knife to thinly julienne the strips. Combine with the vinegar.
More Xiaolongbao Recipes
This Xiaolongbal Chinese Soup Dumplings Recipe is one I posted years ago! Warning – it’s sorta porn-ish.
Chinese Soup Dumplings – from Serious Eats
Steamed Shanghai Soup Dumplings – The Woks of Life
Hello there! I am planning to make these over the weekend but I have one question. Is there any way to make these without steaming? I am going to a work party and want to be able to bring them with me however I am worried if I cook them in the morning to go to the party later that day they will either leak all of their juicy goodness or dry up. So i was planning to bring them uncooked and then quickly cook them at the party before people arrive. I am sure a microwave is out of the question but are there any alternative cooking methods?
Hi there! This recipe looks amazing! My husband and I lived in Shanghai and are now back in the states. Oh how we miss those dumplings! Quick question, can I make any part of this recipe ahead of time and freeze it? Thanks so much!
Hello Haseena – Yes, you can make and fold the dumplings and freeze them before cooking. When you are ready to cook, just add them carefully to the hot pan and proceed with instructions, adding an additional couple of minutes to cooking time.
Hi, I have made these 2 days in a row now and they are great fun and delicious. I have made quite a lot of gelatin broth though, have you tried freezing any in small cubes and then defrosting at a later date? Seems a shame to waste any leftover.. thanks.
Thanks so much! Yes, I’ll freeze any leftover, but not in cubes – I’ll just freeze the entire batch and just it as a base for any type of soup I want to make.
Well, I haven’t tried them, but certainly will, and hopefully won’t be having a “Bad Dumpling Day” like John did…..But, no-one’s forcing me to make them, (I’ve been making decisions for 50 plus years)…..of recipes and other things, and have only regretted one cooking disaster, which was my own fault… Never forget you’ve got something baking in the oven (No Humans or Pets were harmed; the only fatality was the Turkey roll, which ended up becoming a small, inedible lump of charcoal). 🙂
All I can add is THANKS Jaden for sharing this great recipe. Can’t wait to try them. 🙂
Well, unlike most people who leave comments, I wanted to do one after making the dumplings instead of the requisite “looks great i cant wait to make these!” Then never doing it, as all these super moms do with the websites they follow.
So my dumplings are steaming now as a small trial batch (6 dumplings
The bottom line is and has always been that unless you have some asian/indian persons sainted grandmother in the kitchen, at your side, showing you step by step what to do..you won’t be able to cook decent asian/indian food of any sort. That being impossible enough, to do a dish that requires the usual time/dexterity, technique and patience as dumplings in asian cuisine is akin to nailing jello to the wall. Thats how i feel as I exhale another massive dab in the remaining 6 mins. of steam time. The dough did not come together “easily” or “smoothly” at any stage of the process. I added enough flour to make a pizza to get the glue effect off everything i touched, looked at or thought about.
The filling is home ground chicken…looks smooth and beautiful with chunks of aspic i added to each dumpling. The pleating process is pretty much pottery. You’re not going to feel like its going well or right at all and don’t worry…it’s not. I wound up folding mine to a point and twisting…wow, looks just like the 500 fold version with 1 10th the time and carpel tunnel. 20 mins and I got 6 dumplings. Well 2 days and 20 mins to get 6 dumplings. Look: 2 leaked…thats 4 dumplings in 2 days. Remaining ones looked ok and finally…TASTE: Really tasty once i slurped up what I could….but I made every component to taste so thats no surprise. The ground chicken will now be made into a burger and the aspic is gona be my pre meal broth for days…no real waste other than flour and 2 days of a week at home vaca. Order this stuff in folks, its just not worth it.
they look the bomb! Is it correct that you used 200 gpacked all-purpose flour
and 235 ml water? Didn’t you got a sloppy mess?
Hi Shanna – I had to use just a touch more flour – exact amounts of flour is hard to determine because there are so many variable: humidity, brand of flour, what type of wheat, elevation, etc. The recipe is really good – just add the 200g flour and add more if needed to get a nice dough.
Living on the west coast, Ding Tai Fung is just a 20 min car ride so we’ve been spoiled badly. This recipe sounds like a fun project for rainy days, they always taste best when the weather is cool and keeps the little ones from having cabin fever.
I have enjoyed Steamy Kitchen for awhile. Will try dumplings. Sounds great!
Thank you Christopher! btw, I love the nutcracker on your door – photo you posted on your blog 🙂
We make this every year as part of our “dumpling-fest” celebration. We’ve tried several recipies that get the gelatin from pork belly and other bones (one year we used a pigs foot) but we found the amount of geletin was too hard to control. One year (the one with the pigs foot) the soup set above room temperature, and others, it was too runny and hard to work with. We’ve switched to the reliability of agar agar. Our recipe is a mix between the first one you posted (that was how I found you, seven years ago) and Andrea Nguyen’s in her book, “Asian Dumplings.” Amazon says my copy of “dumplings all day wong” will arrive tomorrow, yay! Thanks for the post.
Send us photos of your dumplings!!
I am actually going to try this recipe. We lived in Asia for several years,eating at Din Tai Fung weekly! I miss soup dumplings so much! I told my husband we have to go to Seattle and or LA where the US outlets are located. Thanks for the recipe!
Ah, I would LOVE to bring the boys to Asia and live there for a bit. Weekly dumplings!!
We are all fans of the steamykitchen! Definitely agree that this is a must try recipe at home on a weekend. So good and satisfying!
Yum! I’m totally going to make these!