Shanghai steamed dumplings recipe

Shanghai Steamed Dumplings Recipe | Chinese Recipes
This is a seemingly ordinary dumpling that frequently suffers an injustice by restaurants treating it with heavy-handedness. When done correctly, it is 18 pleats of sheer skill, ultimate precision and Chinese culinary perfection. The pastry skin should be wafer thin, with just enough elasticity to allow the Shanghai steamed dumplings to be picked up with chopsticks without popping, and the inside should be an AK-47 of flavour, generated from a pork mixture suspended in a rich pork broth.

Servings

Ready In

Ingredients

For the pork stock jelly

4 pigs’ trotters, cut in half crossways

skin of 1 pork belly

2kg pork bones

6 litres cold water

300ml Shaoxing rice wine

100g fresh root ginger, roughly chopped

100g spring onion, roughly chopped

5 tablespoons powdered gelatine

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For the pastry

500g high-gluten flour, plus extra for dusting

250ml water

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

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For the filling

300g Pork Stock Jelly

100g Marinated Pork Mince

100g Chinese chives, chopped

.

To garnish

Black Vinegar

Method

  1. For the pork stock jelly, place the pigs’ trotters, pork skin and pork bones in a very large pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold running water. (This process will cleanse the bones and eliminate any nasty smells further down the line.) Clean the pan.
  2. Return the trotters, skin and bones to the cleaned pan with the cold water and bring to the boil, skimming off any scum (impurities) that rises to the surface from time to time.
  3. Add the wine, ginger and spring onion and gently simmer for 5 hours. The liquid will have decreased by one-third through evaporation and look a little thicker.
  4. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container. Stir in the powdered gelatine, leave to cool, then refrigerate until set.
  5. For the pastry , sift the flour on to a dry work surface and make a small well in the middle.
  6. Mix the water and oil together and slowly add to the flour, mixing while you pour. The resulting dough should be quite dry to the touch.If the dough seems a bit damp, try wrapping it tightly in clingfilm and chilling in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up. But never add more flour to it or you will end up with a crumbly dough that won’t work for wrapping.
  7. Knead the dough for around 10 minutes until smooth and stiff. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  8. For the filling , before using the jelly, scrape the layer of fat off the surface with a spoon and discard. Whatever you do, don’t be lazy and add the fat to your dumpling mixture, otherwise it will result in a greasy broth.
  9. Using a sharp knife, finely dice the jelly. You can pulse it in a food processor until it is minced, but make sure you don’t overprocess it, or the blades of the machine will get hot and begin to melt it.
  10. Add the jelly to the mince mixture with the Chinese chives and, using your hands, mix well. Due to the high proportion of jelly, you should not be able to see much minced pork when mixed, but don’t get cold feet and begin to add more meat at this point, otherwise you will end up with a dumpling that has a massive meatball sitting inside the pastry and definitely not the delicate result we are looking for.
  11. To make the dumplings , follow the instructions below.
  12. Steam the dumplings over a high heat for 4–5 minutes – the more filling they contain, the longer the cooking time, then serve topped with Pickled Tapioca Pearls, Chinese chives and a drizzle of Ginger Vinegar.

To make the dumplings

  1. Divide your rested dough in half, then rewrap one half in clingfilm and refrigerate until needed.
  2. Pull the dough into a long sausage shape about 2cm in diameter.
  3. Cut the dough sausage into 5g portions – around 2cm-thick slices.
  4. Lay the slices out flat on a lightly floured work surface, then push down on them with the palm of your hand to form rounds.
  5. Using a small rolling pin, lightly roll the outside of a pastry round into a 6.5cm-diameter circle so that the centre is thicker than the edge.
  6. Keep the rolling pin at a right angle to your body at all times, rotating the pastry instead of the rolling pin.

A. Wong – The Cookbook by Andrew Wong, Published by Mitchell Beazley, £17 Amazon