I have made this dish before, but son-in-law Chris asked for this hot and sour dish as his birthday meal. Last time, I made this fairly close to the traditional recipe. This time, I decided to add more meat and use some tricks I have picked up to boost the flavor.
Tag Archives: Chinese cuisine
Daughter Miriam has been sick recently and is going in for a procedure in a few days. The doctor has put her on a restricted diet—no fiber; no red, orange or purple foods; nothing from the lily family. This cuts out many foods in our normal diet—no brown rice, whole wheat, tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, leeks, or any other “stringy” vegetables. How do I create a Sunday dinner that is both satisfying for everyone, but where she can still keep within this diet?
While we lived in China—1988-1990—we would occasionally be invited to a family meal by our Chinese friends. One Chinese New Year, Mrs. Wong made us lion’s head meatballs—with her own family’s recipe. Lion’s head meatball is one of the good luck dishes of Chinese New Year’s. The big round meatball is meant to represents the lion guardian spirit that will protect you through the next year.
Note: This recipes for Xiao Long Bao is very complex, basically an article—10 pages—rather than a post. Jan and daughter Miriam suggest that blog readers generally do not like such long posts. This recipe is actually four recipes in one, so I will post three of these as separate posts with an introductory and concluding post. For my readers who do not mind reading a long post, I will also post the entire article separately.
Since it is impossible to pour hot soup into a raw piece of dough, there had to be a trick to making these soup filled buns. The secret is to turn the soup into aspic—a meat jelly. Many of the “quick” recipes call for using powdered gelatin. The more traditional recipes call for boiling pig skin for hours to break down its collagen to make the gelatin. If you are using this technique, it is advisable to begin making the soup the day before you plan to make these dumplings.
The most of the fillings, I found, for XLBs were fairly standard for Chinese dumplings. Pork or pork combined with shrimp with the usual set of seasonings—ginger, green onion, salt, soy sauce, and a touch of sugar. This is not to say that than you cannot make chicken or vegetarian versions of this dish.
The dough for xiao long bao is the regular hot water dough that you make for any Chinese dumpling. Flour, salt and warm water that is then kneaded until smooth and elastic. Since this dough usually has only three ingredients—flour, salt, and water—you would think this would be simple.
While the dough is resting set up an assembly station. You will need a floured flat surface and a small rolling pin. Put the meat mix with a spoon on one side, the cabbage pieces—drained and dried—and a steamer basket on the other.
Xiao long bao (小笼包, literally “little-basket bun”) is the hot new food in San Jose this year—several restaurants have opened or recently started specializing in these Asian delights. XLBs—for short—is a kind of dim sum that falls somewhere between a steamed bun (baozi) and a dumpling (jiaozi). Both of these are usually filled with meat and/or vegetables. Boazi tend to be dry both inside and out. Jiaozi may be moister inside, but are frequently put into a soup. With xiao long bao the hot savory soup is actually already inside the bun with the filling. Son-in-law Chris has challenged me to learn to make this uniquely Shanghai dish.
Note: Although the Taiwanese claim it as their own.
Jan’s friends from childhood—she has known Barbara since the second grade—are coming once again for the Quilt Festival. One will not eat anything with chunks of cooked tomatoes and the other will only eat chicken or fish. To top it off, Jan has just had two crowns and needs soft foods like soups. How to please everyone?