Xiao Long Bao

4 hrs



Starting from humble origins in China, these delicate pockets of soup are no stranger to the Asian food scene. Piping hot soup mixed in with rich flavours from the pork waiting to burst through that thin silky dough skin – it’s simply irresistible!
Ever wondered just how does the soup magically forms in the dumpling? All thanks to the wondrous discovery of aspic. Usually made by refrigerating meat stock, it forms into a jelly-like substance. Tiny cubes of these savoury jellies are placed with the meat filling in each dumpling which then melts during the steaming process, filling these little soup pouches with rich goodness. The best way to enjoy this soup dumpling also lies in its skin. It has to be tough enough to not fall apart when the dumpling is lifted up and yet thin enough to not overwhelm the insides.
Treat these delicate soup pouches with tender care or you might risk spilling all the precious liquid even before it reaches your mouth. One way to appreciate this delicate dumpling is to bite off its knot and slurp up all the rich flavour, before savouring that tender meat and dumpling skin. Or a fuss free way is to just savour all those delectable flavours in that perfect single bite. Either way, when it comes to these juicy little Chinese delicacy, one is never enough.
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Prepare pork aspic. Blanch 300g pork skin and 300g pork soft bones. Rinse the pork soft bones clean of scum. Remove fat from pork skin and slice it to thin strips. Give it a quick rinse. Return all into a pot, adding 1 litre of water, 1 stalk of spring onion, 2 slices of ginger and 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine. Simmer for 2 hours. Cool and strain the broth. The broth will yield 350ml. Discard the leftovers. Refrigerate the stock overnight until it set into a jelly like consistency.
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Prepare the dough. Place 300g flour in a mixer with a hook attachment. Slowly and gradually pour in 150ml hot water. Knead dough for 10 minutes. The dough should be soft and smooth. Form a ball and place in a floured bowl. Cover with a cloth and let it rest minimum for 1 hour.
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Prepare the pork filling. In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients except for sesame oil and chopped spring onion. Using your hands, mix the meat mixture in one direction for a minute. Then continuously slam it against the bowl. Repeat until a light and airy sticky paste forms.
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Mix in 1 tsp sesame oil and 15g chopped spring onion. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
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Take out the pork aspic from the fridge. Scape off and discard the fat off from the surface. Cut pork aspic into little cubes. Gently fold in into the pork paste. Cover and freeze for at least 15 minutes.
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Assembly. Line a bamboo steamer with a steamer cloth/paper.
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On a floured surface, roll the dough into a long cylinder. Cut into 10g pieces. Roll out each piece into a round disc approximately 8cm in diameter. Cover with damp tea towel.
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Remove meat filling from the fridge.
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Working with 1 dumpling wrapper at a time, lay it across the flattened palm of one hand. Put 2 tsp filling in center of the dumpling skin. Close fingers around wrapper, gathering up edges, to form a “basket” with loosely pleated sides. Gently pleat the edges of the wrapper, overlapping as you go, creating about 10-15 pleats; press center to seal dumpling. If the filling is too wet or soft to handle, return it to the freezer to harden.
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Once the steamer basket is full, steam the dumplings over high heat for 8 to 9 minutes.
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Serve immediately with julienne ginger in Chinese Chinkiang black vinegar dipping sauce.
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