International Dumpling Incident Party

Posted on | May 12, 2010 | 20 Comments


International Pizza Pie Incident Party

It’s time for another International Incident Party hosted by Penny from Addictive and Consuming, and this time we’re bringing dumplings to the table. When I started thinking about what I was going to make, I immediately thought of the mother of all dumplings (imho) – Shanghai soup dumplings / xiao long bao. But after a bit of research on the internet I decided it would be too much trouble and tried hard to think of an easier alternative.

I walk past a butcher on my way to work every day and as well as all the usual cuts of meat they also sell a lot of offal. Last week I noticed they had a tray of pork skin in the window – and since pork skin is one of the components of the broth that goes in the xiao long bao I decided it was a sign that it was meant to be!

Xiao long bao

For those uninitiated in the magic of xiao long bao, they are dumplings with a meat filling that contains jelly made from a savoury soup. When the xiao long bao are steamed, the jelly turns into a piping hot soup inside the wrapper. They are WONDERFUL. After picking up my pork skin and chicken carcasses, I set to work.

Stage one in making the dumplings was to prepare a broth out of chicken bones, pork skin, ginger and onions. After the broth was ready, I added flavourless gelatine to set it into a jelly.

On Sunday morning I got up early just so I could make them. First I made the dough for the xiao long bao wrappers. The dough had to rest for thirty minutes, so while that was happening I put together the meat filling, which has the jelly mixed into. I wish I had read the filling recipe before I made the jelly, because it turns out only 1 & 1/2 cups of jelly is required – but the recipe said to make 4 cups of jelly. Rah! I was a bit annoyed – maybe because I was up early and hadn’t even eaten breakfast yet!

After that it was time to roll out the dough and pleat the dumplings. I started off by rolling out the dough and using a cookie cutter to cut out circles, but eventually found it easier to roll the pieces of dough thinly into circles. The thinner the dumpling dough was, the easier it was to pleat (and the better they are to eat as well). My pleating was not great – but hey it was my first time!

Xiao long bao

The xiao long bao were steamed and, after giving them a bit of time to cool down, it was time for a taste test. It probably took me about an hour to make forty xiao long bao – but it certainly didn’t take that long to eat them! I thought my wrappers were still a bit thick, but the filling was tasty and, JOY OF JOYS, the steaming hot soup was contained inside. We ate them with vinegar. Nice! I was rather pleased with my effort – they weren’t complicated to make, just time consuming. The hardest part was not losing the soup after they had been steamed – the little buggers had a tendency to stick to anything and everything!

I also made har gow / prawn dumplings, apparently because I hadn’t spent enough time making dumplings! I found the har gow much harder to make than the xiao long bao. I could tell when I went to roll out the har gow wrappers that it was too stiff. Because the dough was relatively stiff, I couldn’t get the wrappers to be as thin as I wanted them, and I also couldn’t pleat them nicely. You really want a very thin wrapper for har gow, because the best ones have that translucent, thin skin when steamed.

Har gow

The har gow were, as I expected, not great. Bro said they were better than the xiao long bao, but Alastair wasn’t a fan. I didn’t think they were terribly great, although not THAT bad for my first attempt. However, I don’t think I’ll try making har gow again – it’s too much effort to master the wrappers.

So that’s it for my contribution to the International Dumpling Incident Party. See Addictive and Consuming for the round up, I’ll update this post later with links for all the party goers.


Xiao long bao

For the xiao long bao, I found Steamy Kitchen’s post very useful.

Har gow

For the har gow, I followed this recipe on


20 Responses to “International Dumpling Incident Party”

  1. Cherrie Pie
    May 12th, 2010 @ 8:22 pm

    Beautiful pics! You definitely went through a huge effort to make these incredible looking dumplings. Looking at them, I think it was worth all that effort… now to get my hands on some ;)


  2. penny aka jeroxie
    May 12th, 2010 @ 9:42 pm

    I agree that har gao is harder. I hate the crimping but April does it so well! I say good effort for first time.


  3. Shirley
    May 12th, 2010 @ 9:42 pm

    Wow Agnes, this is undoubtedly a neat job. I hope to make dumplings like that some day.


  4. Conor @ HoldtheBeef
    May 12th, 2010 @ 9:46 pm

    What a labour of dumpling love, yes it was surely meant to be! I happen to think your pleating is great, so there.

    Your photos are great as always, but they are looking super great in this post – then I realised it may be because I'm so used to seeing people's photos of these taken within dingy dark restaurants!


  5. Emma @CakeMistress
    May 12th, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

    How on Earth did you do that amazing swirl effect on your dumplings? They're gorgeous :)


  6. mademoiselle délicieuse
    May 12th, 2010 @ 10:48 pm

    Oh goodness, you really set yourself some challenges here! Firstly, xiao long bao are not easy to master and then har gow with their crystal wrappers…you deserve a massive pat on the back.


  7. 5 Star Foodie
    May 13th, 2010 @ 12:34 am

    Beautiful! These look amazing!


  8. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite
    May 13th, 2010 @ 12:47 am

    They look absolutely amazing – my favourite kind of dumplings and so cute too!


  9. Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz
    May 13th, 2010 @ 4:09 am

    Ge3e, except for the filling you would think we copied each other lol. Nice work!


  10. Trix
    May 13th, 2010 @ 5:37 am

    You did so much work on this, I am very impressed! The pleating on your dumplings is beautiful!


  11. Ms Baklover
    May 13th, 2010 @ 10:22 am

    Wow – I am such a stock obsessive that the prospect of having stock IN a dumpling is just… beyond words!


  12. Hannah
    May 13th, 2010 @ 3:43 pm

    Those look so professional! Congratulations in a big big way – I'd love a plate of 'em!


  13. tigerfish
    May 13th, 2010 @ 5:45 pm

    Always love dumplings served in a bamboo steamer :)


  14. Maria@TheGourmetChallenge
    May 13th, 2010 @ 9:36 pm

    wow, so impressed with your efforts, those are some difficult dumplings to make….at least you started at the top though!!!


  15. Casey Angelova
    May 14th, 2010 @ 5:32 pm

    These look yummy! I like the idea of the soup on the inside. Great photos.


  16. Agnes
    May 15th, 2010 @ 9:50 pm

    Cherrie: Thanks! It was certainly an effort – glad that I have tried it though because now I appreciate the effort involved in making them. ;)

    Penny: I don't mind the pleating, but I obviously need lots more practice!

    Shirley: thank you :) I'm sure you will be able to – the xiao long bao aren't hard if you have a couple of hours to spare.

    Conor: Yes, it was certainly a labour of dumpling love. Not sure why I do these things to myself… oh yeah, supposedly I think it's fun?! I must be crazy!

    Emma: I think it was mostly luck! :)

    mademoiselle: hehee, thanks! *pat on the back*

    5 star foodie: thank you :)

    Mardi: they're certainly one of my favourite dumplings too.

    Evelyne: yes, our dumplings do look very similar! Dumpling twins :D

    Trix: thanks, it was a bit of an effort. I'm glad I did it though. :)

    Ms Baklover: oh I love making my own stock as well. Yummy yummy yummy.

    Hannah: If you come to Melbourne, I'll make you some. Or… maybe we'll just go out and get them. ;)

    tigerfish: yep, aren't bamboo steamers just the best!

    Maria: Started at the top… so the only way is down….?? Uh oh. ;)

    Casey: thanks, they're very yummy :)


  17. Celeste @ Berrytravels
    May 16th, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

    I thought about making Xiao Long Bao as well! But in the end I chickened out.

    I must gather up the courage and make them some time soon. I absolutely love Xiao Long Baos!

    Yours are making me crave them more now…


  18. What's For Tea?
    May 16th, 2010 @ 6:12 pm

    I'm so impressed! Those stock infused dumplings are my favourite – yours look amazing!


  19. Jo - SecondHelping
    May 18th, 2010 @ 8:34 am

    Happy to see someone else who thinks one kind of dumpling is simply not enough! Brilliant job with both of them.


  20. Agnes
    May 18th, 2010 @ 9:56 pm

    Celeste: they're not hard – I reckon it would be good to do them in a big group and get through the pleating faster! A xiao long bao party would be a good idea! Would you be interested?

    What's for tea: they're one of my faves too!

    Jo: yep, one kind of dumpling is definitely never enough! ;)


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