We LOVE dumplings, and Xiao Long Bao especially. Just the perfect combination of tender wrapper, savoury filling and delicious “soup”. Combined with the kick of ginger and black vinegar for dipping, it’s basically heaven.
We’ve been trying to make healthier choices, and while the pork version is delicious, turkey seems to work just fine, so we’re going with it!
I’d like to preface that while I love these, I’m no pro at making them, but that’s the joy of this recipe. It’s easy, anyone can make them, and as long as they’re sealed enough to keep that glorious soup intact you can call it a success!
This recipe has been adapted from Andrea Nguyen’s Shanghai Soup Dumplings, but tweaked a bit. This original recipe is beautifully accessible, and if you don’t try my version please try hers! I was on the look-out for so long for a good XLB recipe but the proper traditional way is a lot of work, and a lot of miscellaneous pork bits, that I just can’t be bothered with in a tiny kitchen for two.
For the filling we have to make two components, a delicious soup-flavoured gelatin, and the meat mixture. The gelatin melts while in the steamer and that’s what creates that lovely broth in the bottom of each little parcel.
Turkey Xiao Long Bao
Makes 24 dumplings
What you need:
- 1 slice of bacon, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2″ coin of ginger, peeled (about 1 tbsp)
- 1 green onion, chopped into four
- 1 1/2 cup of chicken stock (I use “better than boullion”)
- 1 1/2 tsp powdered gelatin
- 1/2 lb Lean Ground Turkey
- 1 tbsp ginger, minced
- 1 green onion, minced
- 1 tbsp shaoxing wine
- 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp light, low sodium soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 100 ml hot water (with extra for adjustments)
- 1 1/2 tsp canola oil
Making the “soup”:
First we start by making the soup/gelatin and let it set.
- Slice the bacon, take your coin piece of ginger and crush it either with the side of your knife or a heavy glass, just to release some juices/flavour, do the same with the green onion pieces and place into a pot along with the stock.
- Allow this to boil for about 7-10 minutes then remove from heat and let it sit for about 15 minutes to let the flavours mingle.
- Strain your soup and discard the solids, return it to the pot and whisk in the gelatin, bring to a boil and turn off the heat.
- Pour the soup mixture into a baking pan or shallow dish, I used a brownie pan, you don’t need to line this. This will allow it to cool quickly and be easy to work with later.
- Place in fridge to solidify as you prepare the other ingredients.
Preparing the dough:
- Place flour into a large bowl, add oil and gradually add hot water and mix with your hands (or a spoon if its too hot) until it begins to form a cohesive dough. You’ll have to use your eye for this, but you’re looking for a soft dough without any dry spots, it might be slightly tacky. Err on the side of more water than having it be too dry.
- Gently knead dough with a bit of flour for dusting, until you have a smooth dough that bounces back slightly when poked.
- Place dough into the same bowl or a bag and cover to prevent it from drying, leave it to rest while you make the meat mixture.
Preparing the filling:
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined and everything is evenly distributed.
- Retrieve the pan of set gelatin and chop into small cubes. (I use a pastry cutter to cut lines horizontally and vertically.
- Mix well but don’t over mix, it should be evenly speckled with gelatin.
It’s not the prettiest but you get it.
Before you get to folding, prepare your steamer. Place a large pot of water that you can nestle either a bamboo steamer or regular steamer on top without it touching the water. Line it with a circle of parchment, with holes poked to allow the steam to circulate. Brush lightly with oil to prevent sticking. Cabbage is also used traditionally if you wanna get fancy or have some lying around.
I am not good at this, rarely do I get a complete seal, but I don’t mess it up enough that I lose any soup, just a few of my dumplings are more like..cups?
We’ll use a youtube video of someone else explaining how to do this cause I find the visual is so much more useful than watching me bork about.
- Divide your dough into 24 even pieces, have some plastic wrap or a bowl with a covering to leave these as you work so they don’t dry out.
- Roll out each ball into a disc, leaving a quarter sized portion in the middle slightly thicker, and having it thinner out on the edges. If that makes sense, this way, when you pleat the top everything remains the same thickness.
I cannot roll things in perfect circles, but you get the gist!
- Place about 1 tbsp of filling into the wrapper and fold as per the video above. It does take some practice and patience.
- Place folded dumplings in a steamer basket with 1″ of space in between each, they will expand a bit and you don’t want them touching. If you don’t think they’ll fit you will have to do this in batches.
- Cover with steamer lid and steam for about 8 minutes.
Serve with black vinegar and thinly julienned ginger.
- To eat, place dumpling into vinegar and then onto spoon, gently poke or bite open and let the juice flow into spoon.
- Sip glorious broth and make weird Tim Allen grunting noises because it’s so damn delicious.
- The dumpling should have cooled enough to eat in one fell swoop. Repeat until you wish you made more!