In celebration of Chinese New Year, make these Shanghai Soup Dumplings for you and your guests. These little purses are filled with a ground pork, ginger, and garlic mixture and a perfect bite of hot, savory soup. Serve with black vinegar and minced ginger. Oh, and don't forget the spoons!! **This recipe has slight variations from a couple combined recipes from Steamy Kitchen and Bon Appetit. —Mary Catherine Tee
uncured fatty bacon, each piece cut into thirds
garlic cloves, crushed
inch piece of peeled, crushed ginger
garlic cloves, minced
green onion, finely chopped
rice wine vinegar
all purpose flour
In This Recipe
For the aspic, add salt pork, chicken wings, and bacon pieces to a stockpot. Add about 5 cups of water, 2 green onion (roots trimmed), 3 pieces of crushed garlic, 1 inch piece of crushed, peeled ginger and 2 Tbsp. of soy sauce. Bring everything to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to an active simmer, and let it go, uncovered for at least two hours. Remove solids and put liquid back on the stove, crank heat to medium-high, and boil vigorously until the liquid has reduced to about 2 cups, about 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the reduced liquid into a 8X8 pan and cool at room temperature. You can skim the fat at this point, or you can wait until it has cooled in the fridge. I waited because the fat rose to the top when cooled and it literally came off in one layer. Once the aspic is at room temperature, cover and refrigerate overnight.
The following day, take the aspic out of the fridge and cut into 24 1 in. by 1 in. cubes. Place on a parchment lined pan and stick the cubes in the freezer. As for the remainder of the aspic, you can freeze that for future dumplings or to drop in soup or chili for added all-natural flavor.
For the filling, take ground pork and place in a food processor fitted with an all purpose blade, along with 2 more cloves of minced garlic, 1 finely chopped green onion, grated ginger, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, and 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar. Pulse about 10 times until all ingredients are well incorporated.
For the wrappers, measure 1 cup of flour and add 6 Tbsp. warm water, 1 Tbsp at a time, and mix with your fingertips. Once a ball of dough forms, begin kneading and continue working the dough for about 10-15 minutes. I'm pretty sure you could use a Kitchenaid mixer with the dough hook attachment on low speed here up to a certain point, but after 8-10 minutes in, I would take the dough out and knead it by hand. You want a super-smooth (think play-dough) ball of dough by the end. Set aside, cover with a damp cloth, and let rest for about 20 minutes. Once dough has rested, roll out into a log that is about 1 inch in diameter, and cut into gnocchi-sized pieces, about 1 inch. Roll each into a little ball, and working one-by-one, roll each out into a flat, round wrapper, making sure there are no small holes or tears in the dough. It is helpful if you have an Asian rolling pin (found on Amazon) here because you can make the edge thinner than the middle of the wrapper. This is helpful upon assembly because you won't have a doughy mass at the top of your dumpling because when assembled, all the pleats will come together at the top and if it's too thick, the dumpling will be dough-overload.Place on a plate and cover with a damp cloth while you're rolling the others.
Remove aspic from freezer. taking about 1 (slightly-heaping) tablespoon of pork filling, mold around a frozen aspic cube and place in the middle of a wrapper. To pleat, using your thumb and pointer finger, pinch the edge and bring a small section up and around the pork filling. Continue doing this until the filling is fully enveloped with wrapper. There should be 16-20 pleats per dumpling. Twist and gently pinch the top where all the pleats come together. There are youTube videos that show you how to do this if you're a visual learner.
Once pleated, place in a bamboo steamer lined with napa cabbage (I used romaine because they didn't have napa cabbage at my grocery store), about 2 inches apart. Place steaming basket in a wok with about 2 cups of water and steam for 8 minutes. Serve immediately with black vinegar mixed with minced ginger, soy sauce, and/or chili sauce. Flavor combinations are endless. Also, serve with chopsticks and a spoon because the soup with spill out of the dumpling, into the spoon with the vinegar and chili, and that's a perfect encore to the perfect bite.