Xiao long bao

Do you ever think about how your food is made when you eat out? Sometimes I do, but sometimes I just eat (devour) and enjoy what is being served. Dumplings are one of those items I just eat. I have had different dumplings since I was little and never really given them more thought, even when I make the ones I know. It becomes a routine. This changed a little while ago, when I watched a TV program about a place in Taiwan that was famous for their Xiao long bao, broth filled dumplings. I have eaten them before, but never thought about the complexity of their making untill it was explained on TV.

These broth and meat filled dumplings, these are time-consuming to make, there are no easy shortcuts if you want good results. Yes, you can use store-bought wonton or gyoza wrappers, but it will not be the same. But if you would like to give it a go, here is a recipe, just make sure you put aside a couple of days for this. What I mean is that this is not something you can make in the spur of the moment, there are some waiting time. The first day you have to mix the dough for the wrappers and make the jelly broth or aspic for the filling. It is this jelly that will turn back into a lovely broth when the dumplings are steamed. Soup that bursts out of the dumplings as you bite into them.

This recipe makes about 60 dumplings.

Aspic, jelly soup

Did I mention that there are no shortcuts, sorry I did cheat a bit. I used  gelatine, to make the aspic rather than cooking bone and pork rind to make jelly. Okay, I did cheat  a lot.

2 liters of water
1/2 pound pork belly or fatty cut of pork
1 inch piece of peeled ginger, coarsely chopped
2 stalks spring onions, coarsely chopped
2 large garlic cloves smashed with side of your knife
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
6 sheets unflavored gelatin, (you can use agar agar, but I do not know how much to use, besides the agar agar acts a bit different)
salt and pepper to taste.

Dough

400 grams all-purpose flour
3/4 cups boiling hot water
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon cooking oil

Filling

400 grams ground pork
200 grams shrimp shelled, deveined and minced finely
3 stalks green onion finely chopped
1 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon  salt
1/4 teaspoon  pepper
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

FOR THE ASPIC (soup gelatin)
  1. In a medium-sized pot, place all of the ingredients except the gelatin/agar agar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes uncovered. You can remove the impurity at this point or wait and strain when it is finished. I usually wait until the end.  I strain the broth by using a fine meshed strainer with two layers of clean cloth like a folded tea towel.

  2. Pour the broth into a clean pot and let it simmer until it is reduced to about half a liter.

  3. Turn heat off and stir in the pr-soaked sheets of gelatin or agar agar(follow the instruction on the packet). Whisk until it is dissolved. Pour broth into a dish. Refrigerate until set, about 3-4 hours.

  4. When the gelatin is set, use a fork to criss-cross the gelatin to break into very small, 1/4″ pieces. Alternatively, you can carefully cut into small cubes.

FOR THE FILLING
  1. In a large bowl, combine and mix all of the ingredients, including the aspic. Stir to incorporate it evenly throughout the filling. Refrigerate until ready to use.

FOR THE DOUGH
  1. Put about 90% of the flour in a large bowl. Pour about a third of the hot water in the flour. Use a wooden spoon and stir vigorously. Add more and  more of the hot water while stirring. Keep stirring vigorously until the dough begins to form. Then add the cold water and oil. Keep stirring vigorously. Stop when you can’t stir anymore.

  2. Dust counter with the remainder of the flour. Place dough on the floured  surface, and use your hands to knead the dough for 8 -10 minutes, until it becomes soft,,smooth and bounces back slowly when poked with your finger, it should feel like fresh play doh

  3. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Take one piece (cover the remaining 3 pieces with plastic wrap) and roll it into a long sausage, about 1″ diameter. Cut dough into 15 pieces. Work one piece of dough at a time, keep the remaining covered with plastic wrap.

  5. Roll a piece of the dough between your palms to get a nice, round, smooth ball. Using a rolling-pin, roll it out flat to about 4″ round circle.

    You may need more flour as you are rolling the dough, keep the counter dusted and a small pile of flour nearby for easy access.

  6. Fill with 1 tablespoon of filling, pinch and pleat all the way around. and give the top a twist. Repeat with the rest until you have made all the dumplings. Make sure that you cover any dough that you aren’t currently using and cover the dumplings with a towel to prevent drying.

    MiniMes production of dumplings, for a 10-year-old I think she did a good job..
STEAMING THE DUMPLINGS
  1. Place the dumplings on pieces of lettuce leaves in a bamboo steamer, leaving 1 1/2″ space between each dumpling. Steam for about 10-12 minutes depending on the thickness of your dough. Serve them hot in the bamboo steamer.

For dipping sauce scroll down.

MiniMe even colored some with food coloring
DIPPING SAUCE
2-3 teaspoons of fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup black vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Fresh finely chopped chili to your liking
  1. Whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl with the ginger. Serve it with Xiao Long Bao dumplings

Soft and fluffy Hokkaido milk bread

Milk bread recipe

Holy Moly, if I had just known about Tangzhong earlier, I would have used this method when baking sweet buns a long time ago, worst of all I lived in Asia during the 1990s when this japanese technique got popularized through the book The 65° Bread Doctor. Using this method allows bread to stay fresh longer without needing to use artificial preservatives. I used to enjoy savory filled milk bread while living in Hong kong and little did I know back then that the technique used was quite new, I learnt this method much later.

Tangzhong-water roux is usually one part flour to 5 parts water, but you can use milk or a combination of both. The best ratio for using this is, for every 100 g of flour you need 35 g of Tangzhong

These Hokkaido milk bread are the mother of all fluffy buns.

What is Tanzhong? Well it is just a simple paste made out of flour and milk that you heat up, it is similar to a roux when making sauce, but without the butter. The paste which is the starter, is then mixed into the dough and will produce the most soft and bouncy bread.

Why that happens, I do not know, but I experimented with something similar a little while ago, I made sour cream doughnuts and used a choux pastry base and got super fluffy drop doougnuts see recipe HERE

FLOUR PASTE
5 tbsp milk
1 tbsp flour
DOUGH
5 dl flour
0,6 dl sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1,25 dl warm whole milk
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces and softened at room temperature, plus a little extra for buttering baking pan.

EGG WASH
1 egg
1 tbsp milk

 

First you make the starter, in a small pot, whisk flour and milk together until smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often until it thickens. When it’s ready, the spoon will leave tracks on the bottom of the pot. Put the mixture in a cup and lightly cover the surface with plastic wrap. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a baking bowl .

In a separate bowl mix the milk, egg and the Tangzhong and then pour it into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix and knead until everything is combined for 5 minutes or so. (I used all of the tangzhong I made I did not weigh it, but I guess the amount was in the vicinity of 35%)

Add the soft butter and knead another until the butter is incorporated and then knead 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy and just a bit sticky.

Shape the dough into a ball and cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes.

Punch the dough down and knead lightly and reshape the dough into a ball, cover again and let rise 15 minutes.

Butter a cake tin.

Tip the dough out on a lightly floured work surface and roll it in to a sausage and divide into 9 equal parts.

Shape each part in to round balls. Loosely cup hand around dough and, without applying pressure to dough, move hand in small circular motions. Place the buns into the prepared pan. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and let the rolls rest for another 30-40 minutes, until puffy.

Japanese milk bread

Pre heat the oven to 180 C.

Brush the tops with the egg wash and bake in the middle of the oven until golden brown, 25-30 minutes

Let cool in the pan 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and let cool at least 1 hour, to let the crust soften and keep the crumb lofty. (If cut too soon, the air bubbles trapped in the bread will deflate.)

Hokkaido milk bread

 

 

Light and airy chinese fold-over buns

Steamed buns is a snack that I have grown up with, my dad used to make siopao a Filipino version of the chinese buns. These fold-over buns is something that I have gotten to know in the recent years, quite an ingenious way to make them, this way you can fill them with what you want to put in them. I do not know who originally made these, but for mine I have used my dads siopao bun recipe.
 –
After a quick steam, these pockets are like tender pillows ready to be stuffed with a cooked filling of your choice.
Makes about 20 buns, depending on the size.
250 ml luke warm water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 packet dry yeast
3 tablespoons canola oil
800 ml all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
 –
 Combine warm water, sugar and yeast in a bowl, add oil, salt and flour
Mix everything together and knead to a smooth dough. Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
Flatten the dough and sprinkle on the baking powder and knead to a soft and flexible dough.
Divide the dough into about 20 equal parts and shape them in to round buns, roll the buns into an oval shape  twice as long than it is wide.
 –
As you can see in the picture below I rolled the dough quite thin, but they rise nicely and becomes soft and airy when steamed.
Place a baking paper on top of your rolled dough and place a small jar lid on before you fold it in two, this way you get a nice pocket to put your filling.

Place buns in a bamboo steamer lined with parchment, then cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Let the buns rise for about 15-20 minutes in a warm, draft free place, long enough for them to have just doubled in size.  Meanwhile, fill a large wok or pot up with water to a depth of 4″.  Set the water on high heat to reach a full boil.

Place the bamboo steamer filled with risen buns on top of wok or pot, remove the plastic wrap and place the bamboo lid on, and steam the buns for about 8-10 minutes, or until they are light, fluffy, and puffy.  Your Chinese Fold-Over Buns are now ready to be stuffed with a filling of your choice or just eat them plain.
For these fold-over buns we mixed a little east and west and had pulled pork with julienned cucumber and spring onion, pickled red cabbage and hosin sauce. MiniMe dropped hoisin sauce and the red cabbage, she used bbq sauce on hers.
 –
Fill yours with the filling of yoour choise and enjoy 🙂

 

Sio pao with chicken asado

Siopao agj

Yummy ligth and airy buns filled with sweet savory filling. Siopao is the filipino equvalent to Cha siu bao ( steamed bbq pork filled buns). I remember my dad make these buns when I was growing up, I did not like the buns with filling back then, but now I do. When I was growing up he made the plain one for me as I have done for my children.

Siopao 3 agj

These buns are easy to make, follow the recipe and you are on your way, just make sure you have all the ingredients, I didn’t and made it with chicken and not pork.

Dough recipe

Makes about 20 buns, depending on the size

250 ml/1cup luke warm water

3  tbsp sugar

1 packet dry yeast

3 tablespoons canola oil

800 ml all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Filling ingredients:

500 g chicken, chopped into small pieces

1  onions, half chopped and the other half sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 carrots diced in different sizes(for texture)

2 stalks of scalions sliced

1 tbsp lard, shortening or oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp hoisin sauce

1 tbsp cornstarch, diluted in 1/8 cup water

Salt and pepper to taste.

 

Start by making the dough.

Combine warm water, sugar and yeast in a bowl, add oil, salt and flour

Mix everything together and knead to a smooth dough. Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
Flatten the dough and sprinkle on the baking powder and knead to a soft and flexible dough.
Divide the dough into about 20 equal parts and shape them in to round buns, flatten the buns and place a spoonfull of filling in the middle before you close them up.
Place them on small squares of baking paper and place them in a bamboo steamer and cover, let them rise to double the size.
Sio pao filling agj
Next make your filling saute the onion, garlic and chicken in a little bit of oil, when the  chicken is done add the carrots and the rest of the ingredients exept the cornstarch and water.
When everything is cooked and incorporated then add the cornstarch and water.
PhotoGrid_1453384239601
Filling the buns.
Divide your dough in atleast 20 equal parts, roll each part into a ball, flatten by rolling with a rolling pin,
and place a good spoonfull of filling in the middle close them up and put them on a piece of bakingpaper before you put them in the steaming basket.
Remember to give them space so they do not swell into eachother. Cover them and let them rise to double the size befor you steam them,
Steam over a wok or a pot with boiling water for about 10 minutes.

Har Gow, Crystal Skin Shrimp Dumplings

Stretchy translucent dough filled with plump moist chunks of shrimps, this might be the most popular dim sum dumpling.

The filling for har gow is very straightforward, shrimp and pork fat, but for these that I have made, I have used an egg white instead of pork fat. I was also out of bamboo shoots, so I used water chestnuts instead.

Har gow 1 agj

Filling

300 g raw shrimps or prawns

2 tbsp finely chopped bamboo shoots
 or water chestnuts

1 tsp soy sauce


1 tsp Shaoxing wine or dry sherry

1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil


1 stalk scallion

1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp cornstarch


1/2 egg white

1/4 tsp ground white pepper


Mix the filling ingredients together and let stand on the counter while you make the dough.

Har gow 3 agjWrappers

1 1/4 cup  wheat starch (not flour)

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1 cup boiling water


1 tbsp lard or neutral oil( I used oil)

Har gow 4 agj

Combine wheat starch and tapioca starch n a medium bowl, pour in the boiling water and add the lard while mixing in one direction with a spoon or dowel.

While it’s hot, knead the dough for about 5 minutes or until smooth but firm. If the dough is too sticky add a bit more wheat starch.

When done the dough should be soft and not sticky.

Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and roll each section into an 8-inch-long sausage. Place dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, so it won’t dry out.

Har gow 5 agjCut the dough again in 8 equal parts. Place a piece of dough between two small pieces of parchment and flatten with the backside of a heavy clever or underside of a pan. Then, using a dumpling dowel or a small rolling-pin, start to roll from the center out, until you get a 3 to 4 inches disc in diameter and betweet 1/16 to 1/8-inch thick . Place the finished wrappers back in a plate and cover until you finish rolling out the remaining dough.

The thinner you roll the dough the more translucent it will be.

Har gow 7 agj

 

Filling the wrapper

Pleat one edge of the wrapper and make it into a cup.

Drop a teaspoon of filling into the center of the wrapper, try not to get filling on the outside edge, press together the smooth and pleated sides to lock in the filling.

Place dumplings in a steamer, cook on a wok or a pot over full steam. Steam over high heat for 8-10 minutes.

Serve and enjoy with a dipping sauce and remember that the dumplings can be scalding hot right away.

The best part with these dumlings besides the taste, they did not stick to the steamer 🙂

Dumpling sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup rice vinegar

2 cloves of finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 stalk of scallion, chopped

Har gow 6

 

 

Siomai, delicious pork and shrimp dumplings

Siomai is a traditional Chinese dumpling and one of the more famous of the dim sum dishes. This dumpling comes with different filling depending on the local tradition, pork, shrimp, beef, pork and shrimp, and topped with carrots and peas.

Traditionally these dumplings are steamed but they can also be fried.

Homemade siomai agj

1/2  lb raw shrimp or prawns shelled and deveined

1/2 lb minced pork, not the lean kind, the dumplings will be to dry

8-10 finely shopped water chestnuts

2 stalks scallions, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons oyster sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh peeled ginger

1 package wonton wrappers

Carrots for garnish, finely cubed

 

Finely chop the shrimps, water chestnuts and scallions.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix.

Set filling aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but best if you leave it overnight.

making siomai agj

Before I start wrapping the filling I roll it in to little balls, about a tablespoon.

To wrap the siomai, place 1 wonton wrapper in the palm of your hand.

Place about a ball or 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper.

Bring two opposite corners towards each other, and press gently to adhere them to filling. Repeat with remaining 2 corners to form a little cup around the filling, gently squeezing to hold wrapper in place.

Making siomai 2 agj

Add a little bit of the diced carrots on top and set aside. Continue wrapping the remaining siomai.

2016-01-19 10.51.26

To steam, line your steamer basket or tray with parchment paper, cabbage leaves can also be used. Pour enough water into your pot and bring to a boil.( I did not use anything for the picture sake)

Arrange siomai in the steamer basket, leaving room around each one so they won’t stick together.

Steam fresh siomai until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Serve, eat them plain or with a dipping sauce.

Uncooked siomai can be frozen, so make a big batch and freeze the ones you are not going to eat right away and enjoy them later.

Dumpling sauce agj

Dumpling sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup rice vinegar

2 cloves of finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 stalk of scallion, chopped

 

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and let it sit while you make the siomai.

Fried dumpling agj
Same dumpling, but folded differently and fried.

Molo soup/won ton soup

Apparently Wonton means to swallow a cloud, the little dumplings look like little clouds floating around in the soup and the Filipino name Molo is from a place in the Philippines they say the Filipino version come from.
I -2  packets of wonton wrappers
400 minced pork
250 g kminced prawns
100 g ffinly chopped water chesnuts
1 tbs soysace
1 tbs oystersauce
1 tbs sherry
1/2 ts sugar
a few drops of sesame oil
1 sping onion chopped
1 ts grated fresh ginger
mix everything well and put a teaspoon full on each wrapper
This portion gave me about 70 wontons
Heat up 2 to 2,5 liters of chicken broth and when it is boiling put the dumplings in and let it simmer
for 10-15 minutes.
garnish with prefered vegetables. In the picture above I have enoki mushrooms, cilantro, chilli and chopped spring onions in my soup.
These dumplings are nice to fry also and serve with sweet chilli sauce