Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Xiao Long Bao - Got Juice?

Today I made another run at my pursuit of the perfect xiao long bao.  My very first posting talked about my work in progress and the challenge of keeping the broth from escaping the shell.  I  actually started yesterday by preparing the pork filling, which is the same recipe as used for my kuo tien , but with one essential addition of a gelatin broth.  I took 2 lbs of pork neck bones, 1/4 onion, a few slices of ginger and 5-6 cups water and made a broth.  Simmer together for about 2 hours, let cool a bit, remove bones and strain soup.  I think in the end, I had about 4 cups of broth.  I put half away in a jar for later use and to the rest, I added a packet of gelatin stirring to dissolve.  Pour into a square shaped pan and refrigerate until set.  It's like making an aspic.
Today, I removed the gelatin from the pan, same as you would remove jello from a mold and sliced into pieces to add to the pork mixture.  When cooked, the gelatin will melt and turn back into a broth.
For the dough, mix unbleached flour and boiling hot water with a pair of chopsticks first, and then add cold water to finish.  The hot water brings out the gluten in the flour.  I make my dough purely on feel.  My guess is in the past, my dough has been a little too moist, soft and stretchy and that is the reason why it does not hold in the broth during cooking.  Today, it was more firm, and unyielding.  My arms got a good workout kneading.  Let rest for 30 minutes or so before rolling.  
Divide the dough into small enough pieces to work with.  Squeeze and roll each piece into one long thin piece about one inch thick, like a thick rope.  Then cut into small pieces, flatten with your palm, and roll out each individually.  To roll, use a small rolling pin working the edges out as you rotate the round.  This creates a thinner edge while the center stays a little thicker.  When you pinch and fold the dough over itself at the top edge to form the bun, it will make the top less doughy while keeping a slightly thicker and stronger bottom.   
With my main meal already on the stove, this was going to have to be an appetizer.  I could not resist testing them out.  Tonight I tried a different steaming method.  I was thinking my cute little bamboo steamers were perhaps doing the job too slowly, causing the shell to become too wet and flimsy.  I might not have the right set up for those small steamers.  So, I decided to use the metal steaming pot my mom bought for me.  Not as cute, but it cooked them perfectly.  
 Maggie beamed, "I've got juice!  YUMMMMY!"  

2 comments:

  1. Please do let me know the next time you make these. ;)

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  2. Yes, I'm sure we can make a party out of it!

    ReplyDelete