There are some foods that are just too good not to have, and these Shanghai-style dumplings are they. I made them without their signature broth inside so the kids wouldn't make a mess, but they were still divine. You can buy dumpling skins, but I promise they're not nearly as good as the home made ones. If you're interested, I can point you to the recipe that includes the broth.
Xiao Long Bao
Hot Water Dough
(makes about 40 dumplings)
400 grams of all-purpose flour [1 cup=120 g]
3/4 cups boiling hot water
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon cooking oil
Put 90% of the flour in a large bowl. Pour about a third of the hot water in the flour. Use a pair of chopsticks to stir vigorously. Add more hot water. Stir more. Add the last bit of the water and stir vigorously until the dough begins to form. Add the cold water and oil. Keep stirring vigorously with chopsticks. Stop when you can’t stir anymore. I'm sure yo8u could do this with a mixer and dough hook, but I liked the chopsticks; I felt so Chinese Grandma when I used them.
Dust counter with the remaining grams of flour. Place dough on floured surface, use your hands to knead the dough for 8 -10 minutes, until it becomes soft, smooth and bounces back slowly when you poke with your finger. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes. If you don't let it sit, it won't roll well for you—let the gluten relax while you wash the bowl and prepare the filling.
Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Take one piece (cover the remaining 3 pieces with plastic wrap) and roll it into a long log, about 1-1/4″ diameter. Using pastry scraper or knife, cut dough into pieces about the size of a golf ball. Roll one of the balls between your palms to get a nice, round, smooth ball. Using a rolling pin, roll it out flat. Use 3″ cookie cutter or cup to make a perfect circle. **You could also roll out a large sheet and punch it out like cookies, then reroll the scraps, but they'll toughen slightly each time. I did a variation of that and used a pasta roller and rolled to a thickness of 4 and it was perfect for me. If you choose to use a pasta roller, make sure you dust your dough well or you could really gunk of your machine (which I did not, thank heavens!) You may need more flour as your are rolling out your dough. Keep the counter well-dusted to prevent sticking.
1 lb ground pork [I used 1/2 ground turkey breast and 1/2 mild pork sausage]
1/4 lb shrimp, shelled, deveined and minced finely [I used the already cooked and frozen ones]
3 stalks green onion, finely minced
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (use rasp grater)
1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Mix all ingredients; hands are the best way. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Fill each dumpling round with 1 tablespoon of filling, pinch pleat all fancy or do what works, but do your best to seal them off. You may need to run a moistened finger around to create a sticky edge. Repeat using remaining dough and filling. Make sure that you cover any dough that you aren’t currently using and cover the dumplings with a towel to prevent drying.
Place in a bamboo steamer lined with parchment or cabbage 1 1/2" apart, and steam for 12 minutes. If you're going to steam on a regular basis, definitely get a bamboo steamer. I also used a stove-top vegetable steamer lined with parchment and it did just fine.