How to Make Soup Dumplings
Soup dumpling (Xiaolongbao) is an exquisite pleated dough made by adding aspic – or jellied meat stock – to pork mince so that the aspic would melt upon steaming, filling the inside of the dumpling with a tasty broth. It is a meal unique to the people of China and eaten during traditional ceremonies.
Soup dumplings (Xiaolongbao) are usually served hot in a bamboo steamer. It is strongly advised that you don’t make the mistake of eating them right away – the hot liquid can burn your mouth. You should allow cooling for a little while before you consume it.
An excellent dumpling must have plenty and delicious filling; for the best result, use chicken stock and gelatin. Also, to be on the safer side, purchase the already made dumpling wrapper from supermarkets so that they are not too soft or too hard. If you are having friends or family members over, I strongly suggest you make lots of dumplings as they can disappear quickly.
To prepare dumplings, you would need:
- 1 Packet of the dumpling wrapper
- 1 Teaspoon of crushed ginger.
- 2 Green onions, divided
- 1.3 Cup Chicken stock, homemade or store-bought low-sodium
- 1.5 Tablespoon. Gelatin, or 1.5 tablespoons of agar-agar powder
- 7 Tablespoons of water, just boiled
- 1.2 Tablespoon of rice wine
- 1.5 Tablespoon of Sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon of light soy sauce
- 1.5 Tablespoon of Sugar
- 0.5 Tablespoon of Salt
- 0.12 Tablespoon of White pepper (ground)
- 0.25 Cup Chinkiang vinegar, or 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
- 225g Ground pork, the fattier kind preferably, roughly chopped.
- Bamboo steamer
- Parchment paper
- Fine-mesh sieve
- Baking pan, 8″ x 8.”
- Yield: 24 dumplings.
Chop the ham (or bacon),
Chop the green onion into two and crush each piece with the blade of your knife.
Put the stock, green onions, ham, and ginger into a small saucepan and cook for about 10minutes or until the stock has reached a measurement of 150ml (2/3 cup)
Strain the soup and remove the ham. Set aside to cool for about 15 minutes, and mash it a bit.
After 15 minutes, return the stock to the saucepan and sprinkle in the gelatin. Place over medium heat, continually stirring until the gelatin dissolves completely. Pour it into the 8″ by 8″ baking pan. (This will make a thin layer that will be easy to cut up)
Place the in a refrigerator until it is gelled; scrape with a fork and remove from the pan.
Chop the green onion and put it in a bowl, add the ground ginger, rice wine, vinegar, sesame oil, soya sauce, cinnamon, salt, and the white pepper. Mix all the ingredients until they are smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to mature. Add the small cubes of the frozen stock and combine until well mixed.
For each dumpling, take a wrapper and hold it in your slightly cupped hand. Scoop up about a tablespoon of mashed ham, put it in the center. Put a teaspoon of filling, use both sets of index fingers and thumbs to pleat and pinch the rim of the dough together to form a closed satchel. Make sure to pinch and twist the dough at the end to completely close your dumpling for the soup to stay in.
Place each finished dumpling in a steamer tray, sealed side up, spacing them about 1 in (2.5 cm) apart. When you use a metal steamer tray, keep the dumplings at least an inch away from the edge, because this is where all the condensation will collect.
In parchment-lined bamboo steamers, cook each batch of dumplings over boiling water for 6–8 minutes. The dumplings are ready when they puff up slightly and become translucent.
Place it in serving bowls and allow to cool a bit before eating.