Explosion of patriotic flavor (小籠包 Part 2)

Sarah and I were both fortunate enough to have the 4th of July off this year. Unfortunately, the weather was rather uncooperative so we decided not to slog out to the National Mall in the humidity and rain for fireworks that may or may not have happened. Instead, we enjoyed a morning jog through the zoo, visiting our favorite pandas and great apes who were also enjoying a sleepy and lazy holiday in their exhibits, and came home to meddle about in the kitchen.

Since I had posted about the science behind soup dumplings or xiao long bao (xlb) prior, I’ve been dying to give it a shot at home. I will preface this recipe by saying that it is pretty labor and time intensive. Usually xlb is done with a pork broth and ground pork filling. I happened to have a chicken carcass lying around and leftover ground turkey so I made use of those instead. The finished product still tasted awesome.


The Broth and Aspic

  • Chicken carcass/bones
  • Shiitake mushrooms                3
  • Green onions                                3
  • Ginger                                            1.4 cup, sliced
  • Basil                                                4-5 leaves
  • Water 
  • Salt                                                  To taste
  • Unflavored gelatin                     1 T to every 2 cups

Place all ingredients into a large pot. Bring to a boil then turn down heat to a simmer and let it go for 45 min to 1 hr. Strain your mixture through a sieve so you only reserve the liquid. Mix in the unflavored gelatin (the broth needs to be hot at this point). Pour the mixture into a shallow pan and refrigerate. After a few hours, it should have turned broth jello aka aspic. Use a knife and score the aspic into small cubes and place back in fridge to reserve for later.


Mmm savory jello

*You can skip the time intensive broth part and use prepackaged chicken broth or veggie broth if you desire. I like having a bit more control over customizing the flavors in the broth.


  • Flour                 3 cups
  • Hot water        1 cup
  • Oil                      1 T

Put flour in a bowl and slowly add in the hot water as you mix. Add in 1 T of oil and knead until you get a dough ball that is nice and smooth. Wrap your dough ball in plastic and let it rest for 1 hour.


  • Ground Turkey               1 lb
  • Garlic                               4 cloves, minced
  • Ginger                             2 T, minced
  • Green onions                 3, diced
  • Shaoxing wine              1 T
  • Soy sauce                        1 T
  • Sesame Oil                      1 T
  • White pepper                 0.5 T
  • Aspic                                1 cup

Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix by hand, trying to incorporate the ingredients uniformly. Take a cup of your aspic cubes and mix them in as well.

The Sauce

  • Ginger                       1 inch, julienned
  • Soy sauce              2 T
  • Black vinegar       3 T

Combine all into small saucer.

XLB Assemble!

You have to move pretty fast in this process or else your aspic will begin to melt or your dough may dry out.

Take the rested dough and divide into 4 pieces. Roll out each piece into a long cylinder. Cut each cylinder into roughly 1 inch pieces. Squish each piece of dough with your hand into a small circle. Use your rolling pin to roll out the edges so you have roughly a 3.5 to 4 inch diameter circle. You can let the middle of the dough be a little bit thicker, but the outer edges should almost be translucent.

Place 1 T of your filling in the center of the dough and add an additional small bit of leftover aspic on top. The technique for making the pleats is exactly the same as the dumpling recipe except you just need to go in a circle. You should end up with a small dough nub on the top of your soup dumpling. Pinch it closed and give it a twist to finish.

Repeat this process with the rest of your dough and filling. Place your soup dumplings into a steamer lined with either a baking sheet or some napa cabbage. Steam for 5-10 minutes. Carefully remove from steamer basket and enjoy! Careful. It’s hot.




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