These amazing little dumplings called Xiao Long Bao, are from eastern China, especially the regions of Shanghai. Also known as steamed buns, they are considered Shanghai Cuisine. (Taiwan also specializes in these little gems.) This recipe is not difficult, it just takes a couple of days to get through it. What makes these dumplings so special is that when they are steamed, the aspic melts and the soup broth seeps inside the dumpling for what may just be, the perfect bite!
Shanghai Xiao Long Bao (小笼包) China Soup Dumplings
- 10 cups water
- 3 tablespoons water may need more
- 3 lbs. chicken parts wings, backs, and necks
- 2 1/2 ounces chinese-style cured smoked ham or 2 1/2 ounces Smithfield Ham cut into 4 slices
- 3/4 cup green onion rough chopped (white parts only)
- 2 slices peeled fresh ginger 1 inch diameter 1/2 inch thick
- 1 dried shiitake mushroom
- 1 large garlic clove flattened
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
- 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 1/4 lb uncooked shrimp peeled deveined and finely chopped
- 1/3 cup green onion minced (white parts only)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 large garlic clove minced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon peeled fresh ginger finely grated
- 1/2 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- 75 dumpling wrappers 3 inch square or round
- 1 large head napa cabbage leaves separated
- 1 cup black vinegar
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons very thin matchstick-size strips peeled fresh ginger
- Three days before combine 10 cups water and all remaining soup ingredients except gelatin in large pot. Bring to boil, spooning off any foam that rises to surface. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until chicken pieces are very soft and beginning to fall apart, adding more water by the cupful if necessary to keep chicken submerged, about 2 hours 30 minutes.
- Strain soup; discard solids. Return broth to same pot. Boil until reduced to 2 cups, about 35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour 3 tablespoons water into small bowl; sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand until gelatin softens. Add to hot broth; stir until gelatin is dissolved. Transfer to 13x9x2-inch glass dish. Cover; refrigerate aspic overnight.
- Two days before, combine all filling ingredients in large bowl and mix with fork just until blended. Cut aspic into 1/3-inch cubes. Add 1/3 of the aspic cubes to pork mixture; stir gently with wooden spoon just until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate. Return aspic to refrigerator.
- Mix 1 cup black vinegar, 6 tablespoons soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons fresh ginger strips in small bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- One day prior, line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 1 dumpling wrapper on work surface. Spoon 1 very generous teaspoon filling onto center of wrapper, including at least 2 aspic cubes.
- Lightly brush edges of dumpling wrapper with water. Bring 1 corner of wrapper up around filling, then pleat remaining edges of wrapper at regular intervals all around filling until filling is enclosed and wrapper forms bundle-like shape with small opening at top.
- Gather top edges of wrapper together and twist at top to enclose filling. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. Refrigerate, covered, for 1 day, or freeze in single layer in covered containers for 2 weeks.
- On the day of, line each layer of bamboo steamer basket with cabbage leaves; place over wok filled with enough water to reach just below bottom of bamboo steamer basket. (Or line metal steamer rack with cabbage leaves and set over water in large pot.) Place dumplings atop cabbage, spacing apart.
- Bring water to boil. Cover; steam until cooked through, adding more water to wok if evaporating too quickly, about 12 minutes for fresh dumplings and 15 minutes for frozen. Serve dumplings immediately, passing sauce alongside for dipping.