The delicate soup dumpling, popularly known as Xiao Long Bao here in Manila (and the rest of Southeast Asia), is Shanghai’s signature take on dim sum. Most restaurants serve six to twelve of these inside a large bamboo steamer lined with cloth. Making them on your own is not as difficult as you think—but it can be very time-consuming. A lot has to do with the preparation of the soup, which makes its way inside the raw dumpling skin in gelatinized form.
This is a recipe where you cannot substitute the homemade dumpling wrapper for the store-bought variety since the latter cracks easily and tends to crumble. You’ll need your dough to be flexible enough to fold them into its proper shape, so we also provided the recipe for that below. The measurements we gave for the wrapper yield a thicker skin, but feel free to thin it out by rolling it flatter so you get a skin that’s similar to Lugang’s and Din Tai Fung’s.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- 1 cup ground pork
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp Shaoxing wine
- ½ tsp ginger, grated
- 1 tsp chicken powder
- salt, optional
- 1 cup gelatin broth
- 2 liters water
- ¼ kg chicken neck
- 1 cup pork fat
- ¼ cup bacon, chopped
- 1 stalk leeks
- 1 pc thumb-size ginger
- 1 pack gelatin powder
- chicken powder or salt, to taste
Make the Wrapper
In a bowl, put flour. Make a well in the middle and pour in boiling water and oil.
Mix with a fork until flour is moistened. Transfer to a floured surface and knead for 7-10 mins or until dough is smooth.
Allow the dough to rest for 30 mins.
Once rested, roll the dough into logs about 1” in diameter. Cut into 3/4” pieces.
Flatten and roll out into a circle, about 3” in diameter. Make sure to cover the dough with a semi-damp towel at all times to prevent it from drying.
Make the Filling
In a large pot, place in water, chicken neck, pork fat, bacon, leeks, and ginger. Let it boil for 2 hrs. It should yield approximately 2-3 cups.
Season with chicken powder or salt, then add in gelatin and dissolve.
Remove from heat and transfer on a flat container, then store in the fridge until ready to use.
Assembly and Cooking
Remove the gelatinized broth from the fridge. Slice into small squared pieces, just enough to fit inside the wrapper.
Fill a piece of rolled dough with a tbsp of meat filling and a bit of the chopped gelatinized stock.
Lift edges and seal in a circular motion with pleats. After sealing, pinch the top part to seal in all the pleats you’ve made.
Repeat with the rest of the ingredients. Put in large containters, with spaces in between to avoid from sticking.
Store in the freezer for at least 30 mins before steaming to make it firm.
Once ready, steam the xiao long bao in a bamboo or stainless steel steamer lined with parchment paper for 10-12 mins or until cooked.
Serve immediately with black vinegar and ginger dipping sauce on the side.