Shanghai soup dumplings or Xiao long bao are so amazingly good that I wish that I could eat them every day. Funnily enough I first tried them when I was in Shanghai, however I didn’t get around to eating them in Korea until just recently. They are served at Crystal Jade and Din Tai Fung, both located in Myeong-Dong if you are hankering after them as much as I am. After eating even more of these bad boys I decided it was about time I tried to make my own. A quick search on Google gave me the basic formula of how to make them. You get the soup into the dumpling by making a meat jelly, which you can cut into chunks when it has cooled. Then when the dumpling is cooked, the jelly melts back into the delicious soup. Pretty clever, eh? I also decided to try using mandu wrappers instead of making the dough. Making and cutting tonnes and tonnes of little wrappers would have driven me insane so I though I would try it with the mandu wrappers instead. They worked pretty well actually, although they didn’t taste the same as the real thing.
200g of minced pork
I pack of mandu wrappers (만두피) (the large round ones)
500g of chicken wings
750g of belly pork
1 packet of gelatin crystals
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 an onion
2 litres of water
Place your onion, garlic, chicken wings and belly pork into a large saucepan and top up with the water and place a lid on top. A lot of recipes online recommend using Chinese ham too, but I didn’t have any and the broth still tasted great. Boil them for about 2 hours until the water has reduced to about 1/2 a liter and you’re left with a great stock. Strain the stock and mix in the gelatin. Then pour the stock in to a flat shallow container and leave in the fridge for a few hours to set. Once the jelly has set you can cut it into cubes. Meanwhile season the minced pork and roll it into small balls. Defrost your mandu wrappers then take one and place a piece of jelly on top.
Then place a small ball of the pork mince on top of the jelly.
You now need to gather the dumpling together, making as many pleats as you can. This is a true skill and mine are certainly not all that artistic. You can watch this video on you tube to see how the professionals do it. As long as they seal then that’s the main thing. You can practice working on their appearance the more you make them.
Once the dumplings have been formed put them in a bamboo steamer (I bought mine at Bangsan bakers mart). Place the dumplings on a piece of parchment paper, then cook them above a pot of simmering water for about 10 minutes.
You can tell when they are done when the skin turns translucent.
Carefully remove the dumplings from the steamer and serve with Chinese rice vinegar and thinly sliced pieces of ginger. To eat the dumplings place the dumpling in a soup spoon and make a small bite on the side. Suck out the soup then eat the dumpling. Voilà homemade Shanghai Soup dumplings.