Xiaolongbao -(XLB) small steaming basket is commonly known as Shanghai Steamed Soup Dumplings, are traditionally filled with broth and pork but i added quail eggs on mine. The broth inside is made by using some meat gelatin w/c melts when steamed.
This type of dish are for those who are really determined. Patience and commitment are imperative! Lots of preparation and definitely a 2 days process.
First step, i made the meat gelatin/soup. A lot of recipes calls for pork bones, chicken bones then add agar-agar or knox. I didn't like the addition of the agar agar so i opted to use pigs feet and chicken feet which i know for a fact are gelatinous and i know i won't need agar agar. I had it in the fridge for a day to congeal.
For the gelatin/soup:
1 lb. pigs feet
1 lb. chicken feet
1 small onion chopped
2 cloves garlic
pinch of salt and white pepper
Wash the bones and add them into a pot of boiling water. Boil for at least 10 minutes and then turn off the heat. Drain and rinse the bones thoroughly this is an important step. The rinsing will give you a clear broth.
Place all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until liquid has reduced by half, about 2 hours.
Skim the scum constantly to keep soup clean and clear. Strain stock into a bowl. Discard solids.
Allow the liquid to cool down in the fridge to congeal and form into jelly. The broth can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for months.
Second step - The following day i made the dough had it rest for 30 minutes as i was making the pork filling. Again some recipes call for shrimp and ground pork but i decided the later only. After that it was assembly time.
For the Dumpling:
1 C all purpose flour
1/2 C boiling water
Put flour into a bowl. Mix in boiling water with a fork or chopsticks. Work dough several minutes until it holds together, then knead on a lightly floured board until smooth and velvety (about 10 minutes).
Cover and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes
Roll dough into a log 24 inches long, cut log into 1 inch lengths, then cut each length in half to make 48 pieces.
Keep remaining pieces covered to prevent drying as you shape each dumplings
Third Step - make the filling
1 lb. ground pork
2 dozens quail eggs (hard cooked) - some of my dumplings didn't have the eggs
1/3 C water chestnuts, finely chopped
1 1/2 T soy sauce
1/2 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/2 t minced fresh ginger
2 t dry sherry
1 t sesame oil
Combine pork, water chestnuts, onion, soy, salt, pepper, ginger, sesame oil and sherry until well mixed.
Fourth Step - Cook quail eggs
Check for cracked eggs. Wash eggs and place your eggs in a pot, cover with enough water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes max. Cool egg under running water. Gingerly crack the shells around then start peeling. Peeling is easy when you crack the shells.
Fifth Step - Assemble the dumplings.
Roll out each piece of dough into a thin round shape and place a spoonful of the filling in the center including at least 2 or 3 "gelatin broth" cubes and a quail egg.
Gather up the edges, pleating them together, then bring to a point, pinch together and twist to give the right shape. Flatten the bases so that they will stand upright
Obviously i had a hard time pleating them especially the ones w/ the egg on it.
You can refrigerate or freeze some at this stage.
Prepare the steamer
Line each layer of bamboo steamer basket with cabbage leaves ( cabbage will give extra flavour), wax paper or parchment paper; place over wok filled with enough water to reach just below bottom of bamboo steamer basket. Place dumplings making sure they are spaced apart to prevent the dumplings from sticking to each other, otherwise you'll have a mess and leakage. Steam for about 15 minutes over high heat until done.
Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.
Mine looked totally different from the pictures of the XLB. I think i need to pleat about a hundred for me to perfect XLB!! LOL!!
For the Dipping Sauce:
1/2 C vinegar
1/2 C soy sauce
1 t sesame oil
Well...perfect pleated dumplings or not...they are "The Bomb"....i added the dipping sauce into the dumplings. Wow!!! Amazing that you get to have your soup inside a dumpling. EAT THEM WITH CAUTION THO' THEY ARE PIPING HOT!!!
I love, love it but if you ask me will i make it again? Perhaps on special occasion! okay, okay..here are the reasons.
1. Can i say...LABORIOUS!!! Too much work can you believe that! lol!!!. I had a hard time with the pleating!!
2. These needs to be served right off the steamer otherwise you will loose the broth. I believe it's absorbed by the dough because i didn't have any leak on the steamer nor on the plate. SO NOT GOOD FOR PARTIES.
3. Let's just say I'd leave this to the experts! I rather sit down, order lots of XLB's and enjoy them. But if you haven't tried or tasted these and you're up to making them no matter how long the process will be...go for it!!! It's really good!!!
AT LEAST I CAN NOW SAY THAT I'VE TASTED AND MADE THESE BEAUTIFUL JEWELS!!!! ONE DISH DONE ON MY TO DO LIST!!!