How To: Make Xiao Long Bao.

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When I was in Shanghai last year I had an incredible culinary experience – a Xiao Long Bao masterclass with dumpling master Chef Tony Su from the Langham Xintiandi.

Xiao Long Bao is Shanghai’s most famous dumpling. An absolute Bucket List dish, nothing prepares you for the sensation of perfectly steamed dumpling, moist pork mince and a pop of warm chicken soup.

All delivered in one perfect bite size bundle of goodness.

This is the King of Dumpling, chinese comfort food and my new food obsession. Now I order them everywhere I go in the quest of replicating the ones I made and ate fresh in the kitchen in Shanghai.

There are two sticky points:

1) getting just the right amount of gelatinous broth and meat in the dumpling mix so that when it steams a lovely liquid fills the bun.

2) It’s an Outliners dish – if I applied the 10,000 hour rule I’m certain I could be a dumpling master too. Learning to fold is so much harder than it looks, so start by getting the top as elegantly closed as possible and then work on your technique over the next decade.

It’s delicious even if it looks a bit of a mess and I reckon much of the fun is in making mistakes.

Let me know how you go and if you have a favourite dumpling house please share – I would love to know your recommendations.

The Dumpling.

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ingredients
500 g flour
250g water

Mix flour and water together in a electric mixer using the paddle attachment. Beat on low speed for about 5 minutes until a dough forms.

Wrap in plastic and rest for 30 minutes.

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Knead the dough into strip then cut into small pieces.


Using rolling pin to roll the dough piece into a thin, flat circle that will later be filled with meat and rolled (as per above).

The Filling.

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Ingredients

500g pork mince
150g homemade chicken soup – the best local soup recipe is from the genius Lorraine Elliot
Pinch of salt
Pinch of sugar

Combine salt and sugar into the pork mince and then slowly fold through the chicken soup until a nice thick meat paste forms.

Fill each circle of dough with the meat and then fold up like a flower. They should look like this.

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Place Xiao Long Bao in a steamer over boiling water and cook for  about eight minutes. Then serve with vinegar, soy sauce and chilli.

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