For the more adventurous cook, this is a complicated and challenging recipe, but the results are definitely well worth it. Soup dumplings are a classic dish from China, and when made well, each dumpling contains a pork meatball infused with a delicious broth. The trick to getting soup inside a dumpling is to first make a soup that sets into a jelly in the fridge. The jelly melts when steamed, giving you a soup dumpling. Due to its complexity, this recipe is divided into 3 sections, one for the soup, one for the filling, and the final section for the dough and the wrapper.
Ingredients for Pig skin soup
Pig skin 50g
Green onion 1g
Cooking rice wine 1 tablespoon
Salt 1 teaspoon
White pepper 1 teaspoon
Instructions for Pig skin soup
1. Pig skin is a difficult ingredient to find. Some Asian grocery stores may carry them. Or you can ask your local butcher to save you some on your next visit. I usually buy a pork shoulder with the skin attached, and then cut off the skin myself. The skin proper is only several millimeters thick, but it is attached to a fair amount of fat under the skin. Simply dip the skin in a pot of boiling water for several minutes, then scrape the underside of the skin with a knife to remove the attached fat. In the end, you are left with a leathery skin rich in collagen and protein. The Chinese greatly value pig skin, believing that it enhances the complexion.
2. Boil 150ml of water, then add 1 tablespoon of rice wine, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of white pepper, the 50g of pig skin, a ginger piece (about 1g) and several large pieces of green onions (also about 1g).
3. Continue boiling the pig skin for 1.5 hours, occasionally topping up the pot with water to prevent it from drying up. You want to boil the pig skin in a smallish amount of water so that the soup will be thick enough to set in the fridge later.
4. At the end of 1.5 hours, discard the ginger and green onion. Take the skin out of the soup, then dice it into small pieces, and put it back into the soup. Boil for another 20 minutes.
5. Allow the soup to cool, then pour into a bowl and place it in the fridge overnight for it to set into a jelly.
Ingredients for the dumpling filling
Pork, minced, 1 cup
Pig skin jelly, 1 cup
Green onion, minced, 1 tablespoon
Ginger, minced, 1 teaspoon
Salt, ½ teaspoon
Sugar, ½ tablespoon
Soy sauce, 1 tablespoon
Chicken boullion powder, 1 teaspoon
Sesame oil, 1 tablespoon
Water, 1 tablespoon
Instructions for dumpling filling
1. Mix the minced pork, minced green onion, minced ginger, salt, sugar, chicken boullion powder, soy sauce, sesame oil, and water in a small bowl. Mix well, and place in the fridge for an hour to allow it to chill.
2. Add 1 cup of pig skin jelly to 1 cup of filling prepared above and mix well. Replace in the fridge so that the jelly doesn’t mix.
Ingredients for the dumpling wrapper
High Protein Flour (also known as high gluten flour, bread Flour, or strong Flour) 1.5 cups
Water ¾ cup
Instructions for dumpling wrapper
1. Mix the high protein flour with water, knead it into a dough ball, and let stand for 10 minutes. Only high protein flours will make a wrapper strong enough to hold soup; ordinary flour will soften on contact with moisture and cannot be used.
2. Cut parchment paper into 20 small pieces and lay it on your bamboo steamer beforehand. Alternatively, you can also line the steamer with cheesecloth or lettuce leaves, or indeed anything that will prevent the dumplings from sticking to the steamer.
3. Divide the dough ball into 20 equal pieces of small dough pieces. Use a rolling pin to flatten each piece into a circular wrapper.
4. Place a small portion of chilled filling in the middle of the wrapper. Collect the edges of the wrapper over the filling and seal them in the middle to form the wrapped dumpling. Place each dumpling carefully on a piece of parchment paper.
5. Boil a pot of water. When it has started boiling, place the bamboo steamer over the boiling water and steam the dumplings for 6 to 7 minutes. Remove and allow to cool before eating.
Be careful when eating the soup dumplings. Eating a hot soup dumpling is a good way to burn the roof off your mouth. The traditional way is to place the dumpling in a big spoon, nibble the dumpling to create small hole, and then suck the soup from the dumpling through the hole before eating the whole dumpling.
This recipe for juicy pork buns (steamed soup dumplings) is complicated, but the dumplings are delicious. You can give it a try in your own kitchen to see whether you like it or not.