Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Making of Xiao Long Bao: Take Two - January 7th, 2009

Unlike the first post, I took plenty of pictures. Some are a tad bit blurry and the white balance is a bit off on some. Just a heads up.

The first time my mom and I made soup dumplings, they turned out really tasty. I was craving it since then and knew that I had to have it once more before I left for Toronto. 'The Making of Xiao Long Bao: Take Two' began on a day when my mom didn't have work...

The filling I made was the almost the same as last time (pot sticker filling with shrimp) featuring some beef balls. I noticed that we had some fresh beef balls in the fridge and thought that it might be tasty in the dumplings, so I chopped some up and threw it into the meat mixture.

I made the soup over two hours before we started to wrap the dumplings, but it didn't fully congeal. I'm not sure if it was the agar agar (gelatin made from seaweed and not err.. how should I say this.. organic material) or if I just didn't do it properly. I used a different brand of agar agar than I did the last time I made it, and well, it barely congealed. Luckily my mom remembered that we had some leftover congealed soup in the fridge. Tada!

My mom quickly whipped up the dough by adding boiled water to the flour...

Room temperature water...

And a bit of oil to bind everything together.

Here's my mom wrapping a soup dumpling.
This is a dumpling-in-the-making (without the soup).

This is a dumpling-in-the-making with soup, in a small dipping dish. (It was easier to put the soup that failed to congeal into the dumplings this way. Less of a mess.)

Steamer # 1, loaded and ready to go in the steamer. The nice ones are my mom's. The ugly ones that don't look like traditional XLB (xiao long bao) are made by yours truly. Notice how my dumplings are bulging? That's because of the cubes and cubes of soup. Muhahaa!
Steamer # 1, loaded and ready to eat.

I got really greedy when I was making these. You can tell by looking at the dumplings with the piece of green onion on top, that I tried to pack the dumplings full of soup. Unfortunately most of them leaked while in the steamer. I was trying to make bombs of soup here. I wanted to see the soup spray out, just like the 'explosive pissing beef balls' did in the God of Cookery. Watch the funny clip. (Skip to 7:09 to see it spray if you're that impatient.) I had a blast wrapping these dumplings. Just imagining how an unsuspecting victim would react when they set off the dumpling. *Cue evil laugh* Muhahaha!

Nah, my dumplings didn't explode on anyone. These were good. The other ones were better, just because we made them too large this time. The first time we made them, they were small enough to fit on your soup spoon. Those were the best soup dumplings - so far. These ones were still good though. There was about a whole spoon of soup in the biggest dumpling (that I made) and, on the other end of the spectrum, there was no soup in the dumpling because either the skin ripped when we tried to take them out of the steamer, or because I stuffed them too full and the soup leaked out when it was steamed. Note to self, oil the wax paper before putting the dumplings on.

"Don't stuff them too much with soup or they'll pop. Then you won't have anything to eat, so just put a bit of soup. If you want more, just warm up the soup and have it on the side." My mom is so wise. "More meat and less soup or you'll just fill up on carbs." The moral of the story, children, is that if you're greedy, you'll just end up eating carbs and getting fat.


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