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While on my way back from Burma, I stopped in Hong Kong to visit my oldest and dearest friend, Chelsea. We have been friends since pre-school and although she now lives thousands of miles away, when we come together (especially over food and drinks), there is never a dull moment. She brought me to the famous Din Tai Fung where I was introduced to Xiao Long Bao, Shanghai Soup Dumplings. I was immediately hooked. Its the perfect pork dumpling with soup inside and there is only one proper way to eat it. I reccomend watching this video before you attempt to make or eat them! So I obviously cannot recreate the dumplings exactly, but here is my adapted recipe:

 

Ingredients:

Aspic:

4 cups of homemade broth

4 tsp (2 packets) of gelatin

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup of water

 

Filling:

1 lb ground pork

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sesamo oil

1 1/2 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp mirin

2 green onions, chopped

Some freshly grated ginger, about a tablespoon or so

Some freshly grated lemongrass, about a tablespoon or so

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup of cooked and chopped rice noodles (mai fun)

 

Other Ingredients:

Napa cabbage leaves

Wonton wrappers (round ones are better and so are homemade: 350g of all-purpose flour; 3/4 cups boiling hot water; 1/4 cup cold water; and 1 tablespoon cooking oil)

1 egg, beaten

Black vinegar

Julienned ginger

 

Necessary Equipment:

Bamboo steamer

Brush

 

Preparation:

Day before:

Boil chicken stock, add salt and reduce to about 2 cups;

In the meantime add gelatin to 1/2 cup of water, stir briefly and let it sit so you allow the gelatin to absorb the water;

Once the stock is reduced, add the gelatin and stir until it is completely dissolved; and

Remove from pot into a square pan and refrigerate overnight.

 

Day of:

Prep one pot that is the same size of your bamboo steamer and fill halfway with water and set aside;

Line your bamboo steamer with napa cabbage;

In a mixing bowl, add all of the filling ingredients together and mix with your hands until all ingredients are distributed evenly;

Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for an hour or so to allow the ingredients to set;

When ready, take out the gelatin and the filling and mix them together (you can have clumps of the gelatin, but this way when the dumplings are cooked the soup cooks with it and not separately- also better for assembling them);

Lightly brush a wonton wrapper with egg and put 1-2 tsps of filling inside the center of the wrapper depending on how big your wrappers are (ensure you have a good amount of gelatin in there to get that soup when it is cooked);

One the filling is in the center, follow the method that you see in the video and bring all of the edges of the wrapper together in the center of the wonton and press together firmly (make sure there are no holes or cracks and everything is sealed to ensure the soup stays inside);

Repeat this method for each dumpling and turn on the stove and place the pot of water on it to boil (medium heat);

Steam dumplings until cooked through and you can feel the broth has melted; and

Serve Immediately with black vinegar and julienned ginger.