If done right, Shao Lung Bao are absolutely delectable - savory ground pork dumplings that should pop with piping hot juice when you bite into them. Ouch, but oh so delish...
I've tried a couple recipes before but could never quite replicate that quintessential juicy component in the filling. I finally adapted Jaden Hair's recipe http://steamykitchen.com/88-xiao-long-bao-shanghai-steamed-soup-dumplings.html by making a soup stock from pork bellies, Virginia ham, and chicken wings, letting it congeal into an aspic-like concoction and then adding it to the ground pork filling mixture. The dough for the dumpling wrapper is a basic hot water dough, consisting of very hot water kneaded into all-purpose flour and a bit of veggie oil.
In the end, it's not a complicated recipe, but the prepping and rolling out of the dumpling wrappers is somewhat tedious and time consuming. But, if you've got an hour or so to spare, it'll be so worth the while.
STOCK/ASPIC (make ahead the day before):
1 lb. chicken wings
2 lbs. pork belly (about 4 pcs.)
2 oz. Virginia ham, cut into 3-4 pcs.
20 cups water
4 slices ginger
2 large garlic cloves, smashed
2 large scallions, cut into 3 sections
1 tbsp. rice wine
PORK FILLING (for 90 dumplings):
1 lb. ground pork
2 cups finely chopped Chinese (Nappa) cabbage
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. white pepper
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. rice wine
1 1/2 tbsp. sesame oil
2 scallions, minced
2 tsp. ginger, minced
1 pkt. unflavored gelatin
DOUGH (recipe should be tripled for the above amount of filling - best to make dough in 3 batches):
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. hot (boiling) water
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
BLACK VINEGAR-GINGER DIPPING SAUCE:
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 cup. Chinese black vinegar
1/3 cup very finely julienned fresh ginger
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1. STOCK/ASPIC: Combine all stock ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer (medium low to low) and skim off any foam that rises to the top. Continue simmering the broth for about 2 1/2 hours until stock is reduced to about 8 cups. Strain the stock, return to the pan and stir in 1 packet of unflavored gelatin until dissolved. Let stock cool then pour into a casserole dish or baking pan; cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight to let it set.
2. FILLING: Place the chopped cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 tsp. of salt. Mix well and let stand for 10 minutes. Squeeze excess water out from the cabbage with both hands. In a large bowl, combine drained cabbage with ground pork, soy sauce, sesame oil, 1 tsp. salt, sugar, white pepper, rice wine, sesame oil, scallions, and ginger. Take the aspic out of the frig and run a fork through it to break up into small pieces, then add to the pork mixture, stir well, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
3. DIPPING SAUCE: Julienne 1/3 cup of fresh ginger (I like to peel the ginger root, shave thin slices with a veggie peeler, and then julienne the slices super thin with a cleaver). Mix together with the remaining sauce ingredients and set aside.
3. DOUGH: Place 2 cups of flour in a large bowl; gradually pour in boiling water while stirring vigorously with chopsticks (or a wooden spoon). Add the oil; stir until mixture is moist and well-combined. On a well-floured surface, knead the dough until it is soft and smooth, about 5 minutes. Add additional flour as needed. Shape dough into a ball and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest about 30 minutes (this is for 30 dumplings; repeat two more times to make a total of 90 dumplings - I find it easier to make the dough in 3 separate batches).
Remove plastic wrap from the dough and divide in two. Shape each half into a sausage-like cylinder, about 1" in diameter, and cut each cylinder into 15 pieces (repeat two more times for a total of 90 dumplings). Dust the surface of your counter, board or whatever you're planning to roll the dough on with flour; take one of the dough pieces, press down with the palm of your hand, then roll with a rolling pin into a 2 1/2" round (or as thin as possible, so dough won't be too thick and chewy when cooked).
4. DUMPLING: Place 1 healing tablespoon of pork filling in the center of the round; fold dough over to make a half circle and pinch & pleat edges together. Seal the dough well (otherwise, the broth will leak out during cooking). Place dumpling on a baking sheet lined with parchment and dusted with flour. Repeat with remaining dough pieces.
Line a steamer with nappa cabbage leaves or a slightly damp cheesecloth (to prevent dumplings from sticking). Set steamer on wok with water over high heat and bring to a boil. Cover and steam about 8-10 minutes. Serve hot with the vinegar-ginger dipping sauce.