soup dumplings

Pan-fried soup dumplings (sheng jian bao)

  • 1 hour 20 Minutes + setting | Makes 12
  • A little effort

A pork, and sometimes prawn, filling is encased in a thin, chewy dough, crisped on the bottom, beautifully pleated at the top, and the first bite unleashes a torrent of heady, fragrant stock. The dumplings are served with chilli oil and black vinegar.

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This year’s most sought after and instagrammed street food is set to be the pan-fried soup dumpling. Foodies have been seeking out xiao long bao, smaller soup dumplings, in Chinatown for years – but their bigger, more rustic sibling is set to steal the show this year – the sheng jian bao.

Dumpling Shack has been churning them out every Saturday at the Schoolyard Market, just off Broadway Market in East London for some time now – if you’re ever in the area, I urge you to order as many as you can carry.

The delivery of the soup can be tricky. Some people stick a little bit of jelly stock on top of the filling, but this can make them a little tricky to shape when pleating – the stock just wants to escape! Instead, chop the jelly up finely, and stir it through the filling, so that as the dumplings cook, the jelly melts through with the filling juices and pools at the bottom. They’re also a lot easier to pleat. These are difficult beasts to master, but we’ve taken out all the trial and tribulation for you. In fact, we’re very happy with our dumplings, and you will be too.

Ingredients

STOCK JELLY

  • chicken stock 250ml
  • shaoxing rice wine 50ml
  • light soy sauce 1 tbsp
  • gelatine 6 leaves

DOUGH

  • plain flour 200g
  • salt 1/4 tsp

FILLING

  • pork mince 400g
  • dried shitake mushrooms 15g, soaked in boiling water then drained well and finely chopped
  • spring onions 4, finely chopped
  • ginger 3cm piece, finely grated
  • garlic 2 cloves, crushed
  • shaoxing rice wine 1 tbsp
  • sugar 1 tsp
  • cornflour 1 tsp
  • sesame oil 1 tsp
  • salt 1 tsp

TO SERVE

  • sesame seeds
  • Chinese black rice vinegar
  • chilli oil
  • ginger 4cm shredded

Method

  • Step 1

    Line a 30cm x 20cm baking tray with clingfilm. To make the stock jelly, mix together the chicken stock, rice wine and soy, bring to the boil and season. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine in ice-cold water until soft. Once the stock is up to the boil, remove from the heat and add the softened gelatine leaves, stir well until dissolved and pour into the prepared tray. Chill for 2-3 hours, until completely set.

  • Step 2

    To make the dough, mix together the flour and salt in a bowl and gradually add 100ml of warm water, mixing until a dough forms. Knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic, then wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

  • Step 3

    Remove the jelly from the tray, cut into thin strips and chop finely. In a bowl, mix together all of the filling ingredients, then add the chopped jelly stock and mix well.

    cutting the stock jelly finely

  • Step 4

    Roll the rested dough into a thick, even sausage, cut into 12 pieces and cover with damp kitchen paper. Take a piece of dough and roll it into a circle approximately 10cm in diameter, rolling the outer edge slightly thinner than the centre. Stamp out a neat circle using a 10cm cutter.

  • Step 5

    Put the dough circle in your hand and fill with 2 heaped tbsp of the filling. Using your thumb and finger, pinch the dough to create the first pleat – this will be the central point to which you bring all other pleats. Gather another edge and draw round to pleat. Repeat, slowly rotating, until sealed. Do the same with the remaining dough and filling.

    pinching the top of the dumpling

  • Step 6

    Heat a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat with a little oil and add the dumplings – you may have to do this in batches. Cook for 2-3 minutes until crisp and golden, then add 150ml of water to the pan and cover with a lid. Cook for 6-8 minutes until the dough is slightly translucent and the filling is cooked. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with black vinegar, chilli oil and shredded ginger.

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 135
  • Fat 3.8g
  • Saturates 1.3g
  • Carbs 14.9g
  • Sugars 0.9g
  • Fibre 1.0g
  • Protein 9.8g
  • Salt 0.80g
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