Thursday, September 28, 2006

One Last Attempt

Lou and I made one last attempt to get more soup into the steamed pork dumplings by using another form of solidified liquid-ice. Perhaps if it had been frozen soup stock, it would have worked, but a small cube of ice seemed to dilute the flavors of the aspic too much. We also can't deny that the solid form of liquid as ice is no replacement for aspic. As we were working on consecutive buns, the ice rapidly melted in those that were waiting to be steemed, impermeating the dough of the buns and compromising their form, while aspic, which is not solid, but jelled, at refrigerator temperature, only "melts" into a liquid when heated by the steam.

While trying to solve the problem of too little liquid, we also worked on the dough itself. We determined that Yank Sing's dough was rolled to a thickness that was half that of our own. We therefore took great pains to roll our dumplings so thin they were almost transparent. The dough luckily was quite easy to work with so we had no problems with breakage. Even Lou was able to handle it with ease.

To summarize our conclusion, we like the flavors of the recipe for Shangai Steamed Soup Buns from the February, 2005 issue of Gourmet, which can be found on However, the next time we make them, we will double the amount of aspic, halve the amount of the meat filling, and use less dough than prescribed for each dumpling. Then we'll roll it as thin as is humanly possible, thin and delicate enough to pop in your mouth, alowing the soup to flow.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the suggestions. I was planning on following the recipe until I read about your trials. I think I may try to use frozen soup stock instead of aspic.

Inferia said...

I've made xiaolongbao with mom a couple of times. We used pork skin instead of the bone, it gives a firmer aspic that doesn't fall apart or melt when you cut through it with a knife and handle it in your hands. The aspic should be harder than jellos we're familiar with. We tried both mixing the aspic with the meat and just placing chunks of aspic inside while making the bao. I personal found the ones where you place chunks of aspic inside along with the meat more soupy. Oh yeah, if you find your buns falling apart while handling it, use less water.