In one of my favorite movies, Ratatouille, the egotistical food critic, Anton Ego, takes one bite of the dish for which the movie is named, and is overwhelmed by its deliciousness and, more importantly, the memories it elicits. Xiao Long Bao, or Chinese soup dumplings, are such a dish for me. Whenever I bite into one, my mouth is immediately filled with the boiling hot broth while my mind is filled with memories of loud evenings where all my family and friends are talking laughing uproariously as massive plates of food are passed around. This is the essence of family style eating, and Xiao Long Bao are one of the best foods for this style.
However, these dumplings are deceptively difficult to make. One wrong step, and a delicious soup-filled bite turns into a deflated mess with random chunks of meat lying around. So, you need to be extremely careful when you’re cooking these. However, we have our recipe below that guides you on exactly how to cook them to perfection, using steaming, a skill that will help you with a lot of Asian dishes in the future.
But how do you eat Xiao Long Bao, or, as they are often called, soup dumplings? My absolute favorite method is to eat an entire dumpling in one bite. This gives you the burning heat of the broth that gradually subsides into a feeling of pure bliss. With almost any other method, the soup is prone to leaking out and diminishing your experience. So grab your chopsticks and keep your hand steady, and be prepared for your eyes to water as you bite into it; it’s really hot! But, that’s half the charm.
Make sure to have liberal amounts of vinegar and ginger available. You can dip the dumpling in and eat it, or cut a bit off the top and pour some in. Pro tip: do not eat them with soy sauce; it diminishes the flavor of the soup. Armed with some background knowledge, I wish you the best of luck on making and then eating this delicious dish - hopefully with as many of your friends and family as you can meet!
3-4 Spring Onions
2 1x1 ginger pieces
2-3 Large Boneless pork pieces
Salt ( To Taste)
Pepper ( To Taste)
Soy Sauce 4 tablespoons
Sesame Oil 2 teaspoons
Wonton Wrappers ( Ready Bought )
2 cups Chicken Stock
2 Envelopes Knox Gelatin
Foil dumpling cups
Before you actually have to start preparing the meat and everything you must prepare the gelatin first. To do this over high heat, boil 2 cups of chicken stock. When Boiling turn the heat off. Add in all the gelatin and stir vigorously/ Make sure that there are no clumps of gelatin anywhere. When finished mixing, put in a tray and fridge for 3-4 hours.
After the gelatin has set. It is time to prepare the meat. Take your pork, and start cutting it extremely finely. Once it almost looks like ground pork, stop cutting and transfer it into a bowl.
For the seasoning, chop up spring onion and garlic into very small pieces. Add them in with the salt, pepper, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix into the meat thoroughly.
Now it is time to assemble the dumpling. Chop up the solidified gelatin into medium-small sized cubes. You can either mix the gelatin with the meat, or add them in the wrapper separately, we chose to add them separately.
Have a bowl of water and dip your fingers in and run it around the rim of the wrapper, to make the ends stick to each other. Now fill your dumplings with the meat and gelatin, and pleat together. ( Look At Video For Directions)
Get your steamer ready, and put your dumplings on the foil cups, so they do not face direct heat and burst.
Take out and ENJOY!