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snowangel

Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) --Cook-Off 26

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Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index..

Oh, those little dumpling pillows filled with broth! They are a favorite at dim sum places, and it's time we tried our hand at making them.

There are many topics on where to get the best ones in different cities and a few on making your own (and there seem to be many different spellings on these lucious dumplings):

Xiao Lun Bao/ Soup Dumpling Recipes

Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Tang Bao)

Xiaolong Bao

Little Steamed Juicy Buns

Let's talk filling, technique, wrappers, and just how to get those perfect topnots, and then let's eat!


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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i love eating them, but i've never tried to make them. of course my mother says she makes good ones...but has she ever actually made them for me? i also once got sick from eating too many of them in shanghai!

count me in. i'd like to try this for my husband. we miss nyc and "new green bo" the new york restaurant that has (imho) the best "little dragon buns"

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Any thoughts on a vegetarian version? Possible, or culinary abomination?


Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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my first reaction would be culinary abomination...but you can probably do something with mushrooms (duxelles) and a very strong mushroom broth. you'll have to get a bit creative with binding it all together, but it will probably taste pretty good!

Any thoughts on a vegetarian version? Possible, or culinary abomination?

edited to add: i looked online for some sites that have demos and recipes and there was one that included a couple of variations with mostly vegetables (there was probably still pork to bind though). there was tofu, and a chinese type of sauerkraut...among other things.


Edited by alanamoana (log)

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I would love to make these! Can't imagine that they would come out even half as delicate as the ones I had back at Din Tai Fung, but since I'm just a smidge over 900 miles away now, making some at home seems like a good idea :laugh:.


Edited by tejon (log)

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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So, can I just use packaged dumpling wrappers? Or do I need to make them myself (if so, recipes?) Is it a rice flour wrapper or regular flour?

Filling: Other than a cube of soup - what else goes in them? Don't everybody jump on me at once - but no pork in mine. So I'll make a very rich chicken soup with lots of bones. What else?

I need some guidance.

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So, can I just use packaged dumpling wrappers?  Or do I need to make them myself (if so, recipes?)  Is it a rice flour wrapper or regular flour?

Filling: Other than a cube of soup - what else goes in them?  Don't everybody jump on me at once - but no pork in mine.  So I'll make a very rich chicken soup with lots of bones.  What else?

I need some guidance.

My classmates from China cheat with packaged dumpling wrappers, so I guess you could do the same, but they won't be as good.


Edited by miladyinsanity (log)

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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My classmates from China cheat with packaged dumpling wrappers, so I guess you could do the same, but they won't be as good.

Then I expect you to provide me with a good recipe! :laugh:

I'm willing to try, but I've never made my own wrappers. I don't know where to begin.

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Pam, I'm off to the library either this evening or tomorrow to look for cookbooks with recipes. A quick perusal on line indicates that the dough calls for high gluten flour, which I can't seem to find.

And, I'm planning on using chicken stock. I've got some that's pretty gelatinous, but I think I'll cook it with a few more chicken feet. I'm planning on chicken. I know they are typically done with pork, but I'm going with minced chicken.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Excellent. I await your report.

Is that all that we need to put in them though? Just some soup cubes and minced chicken? What about seasonings?

I can't get feet here - but I made some chicken soup a couple of weeks ago with a bunch of necks, wings and some bones - the most 'solid' stock I've made in ages. I'll do the same again.

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I wanna play! But unfortunately I'm living with someone who is on a very strict low-carb diet. BOO! :sad:

Maybe I could make them at home and take them to a friend's house? Does anyone know if they travel well?


-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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Here's a recipe in Gourmet that I found.  I haven't tested it.  Perhaps some brave soul might?

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recipe_views/views/231482

This recipe calls for regular, all-purpose flour and water for the dough. That seems pretty simple.

Is there a difference between 'dumpling' and 'bun' here? When I see bun I'm thinking of the steamed egg buns I get at dim sum - which is obviously different from a dumpling... :unsure:

Is it typical to mix the chopped meat with the aspic? I was envisioning placing a cube of aspic with a ball/mound of filling...

Maybe I could make them at home and take them to a friend's house? Does anyone know if they travel well?

On at least one of the eGullet topics on this ... topic, somebody said that they can be frozen - or refrigerated until cooking. Somebody else may have more info.

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I wanna play! But unfortunately I'm living with someone who is on a very strict low-carb diet. BOO!  :sad:

Maybe I could make them at home and take them to a friend's house? Does anyone know if they travel well?

I'd think if you put them in your steamer, they'd travel nicely!

Pam, I noticed in the Martha Stewart hors'doeuvres cookbook, there is a recipe for crabmeat soup dumplings, using chicken stock.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Xiao Long Bao are dumplings. NOT bread with a filling, like char siew bao.

They don't travel well after being cooked. They burst, and the soup will be all gone and they won't be yummy any more. I'd say wrap, freeze, take them to wherever and cook them there.

And line your steamers--I've seen some places here use fresh cabbage. Peeling them off the bamboo/plastic will cause a properly made (ie thin skinned, but not too thin) xiao long bao to tear and lose all that precious soup.

Ginger is the flavor that stands out. It is usually served with black vinegar and more fresh, sliced ginger (young ginger please). More ginger is better than less and I personally think that the Epicurious recipe doesn't have enough of it.

Also, I don't think you need high gluten flour for the wrappers, Susan. In fact, I'm pretty sure you don't.

So good luck!

Me, I'll just go to Din Tai Fung to eat some.


May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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if you want high gluten flour, you can always use bread flour which should be readily available at most supermarkets.

the dough should just be flour and water. it isn't too picky.

i've seen both methods: cube of gelatinized stock covered with the filling OR diced gelatinized stock mixed in with the filling. i like the idea of it being a more homogenized mixture. also, the recipes i've seen are mostly chicken (feet) stock based but use pork skin to gelatinize the mixture. so i don't see it being blasphemous to use pure chicken stock if you have a particularly rich batch.

often the names dumpling and bun are used interchangeably, specifically in this case. the chinese term "bao" is most often translated as bun and the chinese name for soup dumplings is "xiao long bao" or literally "little dragon bun". but it is most definitely a dumpling.

(i like using the word "gelatinized" :rolleyes: )

i have some frozen potsticker filling, and i plan on using that for my first batch and just mixing in the gelatinized stock. that's so i can get an idea of how it all works. i think the fillings are relatively similar but the xiao long bao probably don't have as much vegetable in the filling as my usual potsticker filling.

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Thanks for the explanations (the bun thing was confusing me).

Susan, I do believe I have Martha's book somewhere around here. I'll look for it.

While I do eat out, my home and work kitchens are kosher - so it'll be all chicken for me (no pork, no shellfish).

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Pam, I'm armed with cookbooks, and as soon as I get the ribs on the grill (I'm pretending it's summer), I'll peruse them and give you more advice.

I knew the no shellfish for you, but I think my point was more that I think you can sort of do what you want with the filling. It might not be the most traditional, but if you keep the aspic-type soup going, you're probably going to find that in some household, this would still be authentic!

Also, I'm not above buying premade wrappers!


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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OK, Pam. I'm armed with cookbooks, and more confused than ever. Most of the recipes are pork based, but, isn't it the "other white meat?" I'm doing chicken. They all seem to call for a cube of aspic (I read that to mean a chicken stock that is like jello) with some ground meat, a bit of soy, minced onions, whatever. But what is most confusing is the dough. Some call for just hot water and high gluten flour. Then there is a recipe for AP flour and a bit of water and an egg. Then there is one for one with AP flour and water. I just might cop out and buy some wrappers!


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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If you are able to perfect this dish -- which is no easy feat -- do you realize how many Chinese people you will have beating down your door?

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OK, Pam.  I'm armed with cookbooks, and more confused than ever.  Most of the recipes are pork based, but, isn't it the "other white meat?"  I'm doing chicken.  They all seem to call for a cube of aspic (I read that to mean a chicken stock that is like jello) with some ground meat, a bit of soy, minced onions, whatever.  But what is most confusing is the dough.  Some call for just hot water and high gluten flour.  Then there is a recipe for AP flour and a bit of water and an egg.  Then there is one for one with AP flour and water.  I just might cop out and buy some wrappers!

The confusion is contagious! :laugh:

I do believe my first batch will use the frozen wrappers. If it works, then I'll move on to trying my own wrappers.

I'm catering tonight and tomorrow, so this will have to wait - but I'll try to get the stock done on Sunday.

Minced meat - raw? :biggrin:

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If you are able to perfect this dish -- which is no easy feat -- do you realize how many Chinese people you will have beating down your door?

Will they be happy with my kosher version? :wink:

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Will they be happy with my kosher version?  :wink:

Sadly, no. I have had beef xiaolongbao before and rather disliked them. I think most Chinese (except those from the frigid northern and western parts of the country) strongly prefer pork over beef. For the Chinese, pork is much more loved than it is in America and even most parts of Europe. The term rou, meaning meat, refers by default to pork. For example, you would refer to pork dumplings as simply rou, but if they were beef you would specifically specify that they are niu rou (cattle meat).

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