Ever wondered if you could actually make xiao long bao at home? To celebrate the Year of the Sheep, we ask Master Hua of Melbourne restaurant HuTong for a recipe and tips for making the irresistible soup dumplings his Chinese restaurant is famous for.
Make the soup
“The soup is the most important part of xiao long bao. At HuTong we boil pork skin until it becomes a soft jelly and we mix it with the pork filling. When making the soup at home, I suggest using chicken stock or pork-bone stock.”
Control your dough
“The dough is the easiest part as long as you control your flour and water quantity. One kilogram of flour to half a kilo of water would make 150 dumplings. Sprinkle flour on the bench before rolling your dough so it doesn’t stick.”
Close the deal
“The key to wrapping is to make the dough fresh so that it’s flexible enough to wrap around the meats. Make sure the top is closed-off completely and that there are no holes in the wrapping.”
Time to steam
“Without an industrial flame, I would steam them for 8–10 minutes on maximum heat. Do not over steam or the skin will break. If you’re not using a bamboo steamer, use non-stick baking paper.”
“Serve the dumplings with black vinegar and thinly sliced ginger. Don’t skimp on the ginger. It complements the pork filling.”
Practice makes perfect
“We encourage people to make dumplings at home and enjoy the process. It should be fun. Making xiao long bao is not always easy, so it may take a few goes to get all the elements right. I’ve been making them for 10 years!”
XIAO LONG BAO (JUICY DUMPLING) RECIPE (for 4 people)
HuTong’s recipe has been adapted for the home cook. You’ll need a few years’ practice before you can make them like Hua.
100g minced pork leg
½ tsp finely chopped spring onion
½ tsp shredded fresh ginger
⅓ tsp soy sauce
⅓ tsp oyster sauce
½ tsp MSG (seasoning)
½ tsp chicken powder
⅓ tsp sugar
Small dash of sesame oil
Pinch of pepper
1 tsp water
35ml pork bone soup (stock)
100g ultra-white flour
*50ml water *
Place the flour on the wooden pastry board, add cold water two to three times and knead until it becomes dough and then put it aside to rest.
Place the pork mince into a blender and add all ingredients to blend together, mixing for about 3 to 5 minutes until the meat is tender and then add the stock.
Then place in the refrigerator to use later.Roll the dough into strips and cut into pellet shape (about 8g–10g each). Use a wooden rolling pin and roll the skin so it becomes thick in the middle and thin at the edges.
Then add the meat mixture into the thin dough (the skin) and wrap to form the dumpling, ensuring that the top of the dumpling is closed off completely so there are no holes in the wrapping.
Put the bamboo basket into the steamer to steam for about 8–10 minutes. Make sure you put the dumplings on baking paper to avoid the dumpling sticking to the bottom. Do not over cook because this will cause the skin to break.
Once ready, serve with black vinegar with ginger sliced thinly to dip.