Monday, June 15, 2009

Dumpling dinner party - DC June 2009

**updated, ooppss.. sorry, I forgot to thank Jen from userealbutter for being a terrific hostest on this month's challenge. Please forgive me, I was busy cramming for exam when I made this post =p**

A day late, but I promise you, it will be worth the wait.

I went all out for this month's Daring Cooks. The brief said to make potstickers, but since I love dumplings soooo much, I made it 4 ways.. with 3 different fillings. Plus a dessert version to end the night with a sweet note.

xiao long bao

In the midst of my cramming session for my exams, I allocate one whole day to make this dumplings. The pleating and rolling out the dumpling proved to be quite therapeutic and a short escape from the grueling hours buried in books. I have a couple of dumpling recipe that I want to try so instead of picking one, I decided to try them all. But being the idiot that I am, instead of doing the fillings half the recipe or even less, I did all of them in full quantity, so I end up with heaps of dumplings. Fortunately, they freeze well, so I can enjoy them for weeks.
I invited a couple of friends for a dumpling dinner.

I made the whole dinner with dumplings. Mushroom and tofu potstickers in thick broth for appetizer, prawn & chicken and wafu gyoza dumplings served in 2 ways for the main, and a choc caramel banana mille feuille for dessert. For the main course, I boil the dumplings and made it as a dumpling noodle soup.

xiao long bao

To accompany the noodle soup, I also made some xia long bao. Xia long bao is a traditional shanghai style dumplings where each delicate dumplings holds a tasty soup in the middle. I used to think they inject the soup into the dumpling. But after reading chef Joycelyn's rendition of it, I found out that the broth was first set into a gelee that looks like a translucent jewel-like cubes. Then, from the steaming process, the gelee liquifies back into a broth, hence the soupy centre in the dumplings. I've tried making xiao long bao before, and back then, I was making it for myself, so I can actually use the secret ingredient that makes the broth very gelatinous, even without the addition of a setting agent like agar-agar or gelatine.It is very simple really, the secret lies in the skin of a pig, or pork rind. It is so fatty and rich in albumen and colagen that is very gelatinous when cooked in water. However, this time, as I am cooking for M this time, I used chicken stock and add agar-agar to make it set. I still couldn't get the pleating technique right, but it's good enough for me.
The appetizer is actually inspired from watching masterchef. I'm so addicted to masterchef lately, I sometimes even watch the rerun on my lunch hour. It was the winning dish that made Julia won the invention test which then leads to her win over chef Peter Evans and a guaranteed spot in the finals.

And last but not least, being the sweet tooth that I am, I couldn't resist making a dessert. I deep fried the lefover dumpling skin, and made an asian mille feuille with banana, chocolate and caramel sauce. The chocolate mousse is also leftover from my friend's two tier birthday cake.

As you can see, I enjoyed this challenge so much. Thank you Jenn for the tasty challenge, as well as the recipe. Can't wait for next month's challenge =)

Dumpling skin:
250g flour
1tsp salt (replace with sugar for the mille feuille)
100ml boiling water

Combine salt and flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Boil water, and as soon as it stop's bubbling, pour into the well in the centre of the flour mixture. With a fork, slowly incorporate flour into the water until it forms a dough. Transfer to a work surface and continue working on the dough until it forms a smooth ball. Keep covered in a damp cloth all the time when you're not working with the dough to prevent it from drying out.

Mushroom & Tofu filling:
Recipe by Julia, Masterchef Australia finalist

50g firm tofu, finely diced
2 stems choy sum, finely chopped
50g mixed Asian mushrooms, finely diced
1 tsp fresh ginger finely diced

combine the tofu, greens, mushrooms and ginger in a bowl, mix and season.

3 cups chicken stock
1 tbs caster sugar
¼ cup black vinegar
1 tbs light soy sauce
2cm piece ginger, peeled and sliced

For the broth, pour the stock into a saucepan. Add the sugar, vinegar, soy and ginger. Place over a medium heat and allow to simmer.

Shrimp & chicken filling:

1/2 lb (225g) raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1/2 lb (225g) ground chicken
5 chinese chives, minced
1/4 cup (55g) ginger root, minced
1 tsp (5g) salt
3 tbsp (40g) sesame oil
2 tbsp (16g) corn starch

Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I mix by clean hand). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to a day, but preferably within an hour or two).

Wafu gyoza filling recipe can be found here

Xiao Long Bao:

broth gelee:
500ml of chicken stock - preferably home made
half a packet of agar-agar

in a separate bowl, disperse agar-agar in 50ml of stock, set aside. In a saucepan, bring stock to the boil, season with salt and pepper. Add the agar-agar and simmer for 1-2 mins. In a shallow dish, pour the stock and cool to room temperature. Set in refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight. After fully set, dice gelee into cubes.

For Xiao Long Bao, I use the wafu gyoza filling and the shrimp & chicken filling. Steam in a bamboo steamer over a bed of lettuce.

Noodle soup:
bunch of shitake mushroom
bunch of enoki mushroom
egg noodle
1L of chicken stock
200-400ml of water
hoisin sauce
soy sauce
dash of fish sauce
sesame oil
bunch of chinese chives
bok choy

Boil chicken stock and water in a large pot. Add sauces & ginger according to taste. put dumplings and boil for a couple of minutes until it becomes see-through. Put in mushrooms, bok choy and chives and simmer until it boils again. Cook noodle according to pack instruction. Put noodles in individual bowls, pour the soup over.

In a shallow pan, heat oil and fry the dumplings until browned in the bottom. Pour in chicken stock and cover pan immediately, trapping the steam inside. Please be careful, as it will splatter a lot. If you're like me, the thought of oil splattering is unbearable, steam it in a separate pan. While the dumpling is cooking, in a separate pan, heat up chicken stock. As the dumplings browned, transfer the dumplings to the pan with chicken stock and cover immediately. Steam until most of the stock are absorbed by the dumpling and dumplings are translucent.


  1. Wow! So many creative variations! I wish I'd thought of the millefeuille! Amazing job! (And definitely worth a day's lateness!)

  2. WOW.... I think you outdid ALL of us Daring Cooks! I did potstickers on Saturday and Xiao Long Bao on Sunday! Great minds think alike hm?! I can't believe you did all of this in between studying... Great photographs and your dessert is tempting me to eat my screen!

  3. What a wonderful posting and the pictures you did are so professional and I think excellent - an entire dinner of dumplings in every manner. I think the dessert is my fav yet all the others have their virtues. The colour of the potstickers is stop on and top notch. Everything is perfect. High kudos and barvo bravo barvo on the results you achieved. Cheers a credit to all DCooks'. Cheers from Audax

  4. I want to come to one of your dinner parties! Your potstickers look amazing and I definitely would love the dessert!

  5. @Rose - I don't care anymore about my study, hence making dumplings is a good excuse to escape =)

    @Audax & Valerie - Thanks for your kind words. i'm off to visit yours now

    @Barbara - come to melbourne, and I will definitely happy to cook for you =)

  6. way to go that looks wonderful! I love asian dumplings but have not tried making these yet, only ME kinds

  7. i can't believe you havent got more comments you did the most amazing job this challenge!!!

    way to go!!

  8. OH WOW WOW WOW, your dumplings and potstickers are gorgeous, but that mille fuille with bananas, chocolate mousse and caramel is just spectacular and mouth wateringly gorgeous! Amazing job in all facets!!

  9. Ooo, Yum!! Your dumplings look amazingly good =D. Your photos are breathtaking!

  10. Yum... You went all out on the challenge. I love your pictures!

  11. The dessert version is gorgeous! At first, I thought it was a s'more-like-concoction, but the description sounds much better! (By the way, my "roast pork" potsticker was tofu!)

  12. Love, love, love the sweet version!! It looks amazing, and I'm sure it tasted even better! Great job!

  13. you really did go all out! Gorgeous photos and the dessert looks really, really, really good!

  14. Yes, it was definitely worth the wait!!!!!!!!!!. (WEll DONE - ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU ARE STUDYING AS WELL). Fantastic potstickers, great photography and thanks for sharing the secret for Xiao Long Bao and Joycelyn's blog - that little titbit of information is worth it's weight in gold. Your webpage is delightful. Love the sidebars.

  15. gubrakkk keren abizzzzzzzzzzzzz.. salam kenal ya asti :D

  16. Beautiful job! I am really wishing I made soup dumplings now! Yours look great!

  17. Oh WOW! Your dumplings look amazing - I especially love the potstickers - they loog gorgeous! And your photos! Wowowow! You must have some happy friends after being at that dinner party :D

  18. Gee thanks, I always wondered about the broth inside xiao long pao too! So it is the gelee, wow!! Great info!


  19. Very nice! My little guy is beside me now and he really likes the looks of the dessert one.

  20. Wow, you sure did go all out! You did a fabulous job, I love your photos!

  21. Holy Cow! You ARE ambitious! Those look awesome!
    Plus- your whole blog looks awesome! I love the cakes you've done!

  22. Wow your dumplings look fantastic! Love the photos. Great job as always

  23. Wow! Great job! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous. All of your different versions sound sooo delicious!

  24. Such dedication! Wow! All of your dumplings/potstickers look amazing, and you dessert is gorgeous!

  25. Yummy yummy yummy!! I love your Asian millefeuille!! You know how much I love sweet stuff!! And you know what, the syringe method was also the first thing that occurred to me when I thought about making xiao long bao. Emphasis on thought here, because I've never actually made it since thinking about it, hehe. Your photos are making me really hungry now!!

    Thanks for your words of encouragement!! I think I got a bit excited and forgot to tell everyone that it's still going to be a while before I start selling. I still have a few (big) loose ends to tie up, like logo, other permits etc. but hopefully we'll be able to start selling in September. I'll let you know when we do!!

  26. Thanks for visiting me :) Your dumplings look so yummy. Loved the mushroom and tofu filling.

  27. i'm very jealous of you having all those dumplings in your freezer!

  28. Your dumpling dinner party is such a great idea and they all look so so delicious!! Great job on the challenge!

  29. fantastic job on the dumplings - they all look gorgeous!! love your blog! Thanks for visiting mine!

  30. Awesome !! You have really gone all out on dumplings...and so deliciously !

  31. Loving the mille feuille version! So ambitious to take on all these different variations - and they all look fabulous! Great job!

  32. They look absolutely gorgeous! Your freezer must be very well stocked now. :)

  33. These photos and dumplings are simply gorgeous!

  34. I am so jealous of your bamboo steamer!! Your dumplings all sound so delicious! I am going to have to try your desert dumplings, yum!