Hi friends, I hope you are all doing well holed inside your house. One thing I definitely miss the most about not being able to go out is going to restaurants. I try to keep my cooking really simple to save time, so I usually order the really labor-intensive dishes or difficult to make dishes when I go out. Since restaurants aren’t open right now, whenever I get a craving for something, I have to make them.
Today, I made Chinese soup dumplings, or xiaolongbaos, or xlb. Whatever you call them, they are delicious and actually not very hard to make. It does take a very long time (mostly waiting time), start to finish, but the results are totally worth it.
This recipe yields around 60-70 soup dumplings, depending on any size irregularities. Typically, a serving size for a full course meal is probably 8-12 soup dumplings, and as appetizers, it’s around 2-4. In my opinion, they also freeze pretty well, so you can also freeze whatever you don’t steam.
Chinese Soup Dumplings (小籠包)
- 1 lb pork bones
- 1/4 lb pork belly (skin only), sliced
- 2-inch piece of ginger, sliced
- 2 scallions, cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup pork jelly
- 1 1/2 lb ground pork
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, minced
- 2 scallions, minced
- 3 Tb soy sauce
- 1 Tb soy paste
- 1 Tb sesame oil
- 1 Tb mirin
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup warm water
- 1-inch piece of ginger, julienned
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup black vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- To make the pork jelly – put the pork bones, pork belly, ginger, scallions, and salt in a large pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, and then turn down to medium-low heat. Cook for 2 hours. Pour the liquid onto a shallow pan, straining out any solids. Let cool and refrigerate overnight. When ready to use, use a knife and score the jelly into 1 cm cubes. Set aside 1 cup for use in the dumplings and reserve the rest for another use (they freeze well!).
- To make the dumpling wrapper – in a bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour and warm water. Use a dough hook attachment and mix on low for about 5-7 minutes, or until you have a smooth dough. (You could also do this by hand.) Cover the bowl with a wet towel and set aside while you make the filling.
- To make the dumpling filling – combine pork jelly, ground pork, garlic, ginger, scallions, soy sauce, soy paste, sesame oil, and mirin until well-incorporated.
- To assemble – divide the dough in 5. Put the dough you are not using back in the bowl and cover with the wet towel. Gently roll the dough into a long, thin log, about 1 inch in diameter. Cut into 12. Generously sprinkle your work surface with flour. Take each piece and roll it out into a 3-inch circle. Place 1 Tb of pork filling in the middle. Use your dominant hand’s thumb and index finger to pinch an edge together. Use your other hand’s thumb and index finger to pass the edges to the dominant hand. Work your way around the dumpling. Pinch to seal the edges. Repeat for rest of the dumplings.
- To steam – line a bamboo steamer with liner, parchment paper, or napa cabbage leaves. Place dumplings in the bamboo steamer, leaving at least 1.5 inches between each dumpling. In a large saucepan or wok, fill it with water, and place the bamboo steamer on top. Steam for 8 minutes. Let it rest for 2 minutes and serve immediately.
- To make the dipping sauce – while dumplings are steaming, combine the dipping sauce ingredients in a bowl.
– To freeze – line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place wrapped soup dumplings on the cookie sheet, leaving about 1 inch of space between them. Place in the freezer and freeze for about 1-2 hours, or until completely solid. Place dumplings in a freezer-safe bag. When ready to cook, steam for 11 minutes.