Homemade Xiao Long Bao – 小籠包

Well, after we came back from Shanghai, China, we were really missing some delicious Xiao Long Bao so we decided to be adventurous and make some!

The process is time consuming, but it was delicious! We just enjoyed some frozen ones, and sadly, I had to say mine tasted better! Not bad for a first time attempt! There is 3 parts to making Xiao Long Bao, and it starts with the soup part

Ingredients for Soup:
Pork Belly Meat
1 Package of Gelatin

First of all, make a soup with fatty meat so it solidifies. I boiled some pork feet with pork belly in water until it reduced to about half. When I claimed it was done, I seasoned it up as though I was about to drink it – with a little heavier hand of seasoning!

Now, we have to let the soup set and become “jello” so I add a package of flavourless gelatin just to make sure it sets. Put it in the fridge at least 3 hours before using it!

The next thing I did was to marinate the meat. I wanted the meat to be full of flavour so I did that before making the dough.

Ingredients for Filling
1/2 lb regular ground pork
2 tbsp 5-Spiced Powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp rice wine
1 tsp sesame oil
chuck of ginger (minced)
chopped green/spring onion
1 tsp salt

Basically here, mix everything together and let it marinate in the fridge!

If your soup has set at this point, pull back the layer of fat/oil and break down the soup jelly and mix it into the meat marinated. If you put this in at this point, make sure you keep the meat in the fridge so your soup doesn’t become “soup”.

Now, as everything is chilling and developing their flavours, we can make the dough!

Ingredients for dough:
200g A/P Flour
1/8 cup of cold water
1/3 cup of hot water (I used boiling water)
1 tsp salt

Making the dough is actually super easy! Basically you measure out the flour and pour the boiling water in. Mix until the dough is smooth and keep mixing as we’re trying to develop the gluten!

When it’s soft and smooth, add the cold water in and knead for a few more minutes! It will have a nice texture and bounce back when you poke it – then it’s ready. When you reach this point, let it rest in the bowl covered for at least 30 minutes.

After it’s rested, roll it out. I rolled mine out in a pasta roller to get the consistent thickness – and on my machine, I had it at setting “6” for the perfect thickness! I then cut out circles so I can fill the xiao long bao

Then, I get to fill the xiao long bao wrappers and place them on a cabbage lining to my bamboo steamer! I tried to make as many pleats as possible as that’s how it’s prettiest.

Now, we prepare the steamer and we’ll steam for about 15 minutes!

Now it’s done! Be careful, it’s hot and the soup you can see at the bottom of the dumpling — this means it’s really hot!! Enjoy!

Homemade Japanese Miso Soup

I love Japanese food, and I’ve always wanted to make my own Miso Soup, so I finally got a package of White Miso Paste from my market, and found some bonito flakes and wakame from the Asian grocery store. They are tricky to find (well, for me at least!) but, I think it’s necessary for a miso soup. This simple homemade soup smells and tastes like miso soup when you go out to have a bowl!

Ingredients (makes 2 big bowls or 4 little bowls):
3 cup of water
3 tbsp bonito flakes
1 heaping tbsp white miso paste
1 tbps wakame
tofu cubes

To begin any soup – start with boiling some water.

When the water has come to a boil, put some bonito flakes into the water and reduce the heat, and let it steep for about 5 minutes.

Once that has steeped, you’re ready to put in the miso paste. Take a heaping tablespoon (or just 2 tablespoons) and put it into a bowl. Take some of the “soup in progress” into the bowl and mix to dissolve the miso paste so you get a dissolved and thinner consistency. Once you’ve achieved this, you’re ready to pour the miso solution into the soup. Bring the soup back up to a boil at this time, and let it boil for another 3 to 5 minutes.

By now, taste your soup to see if it needs additional salt. Add some if it needs more. To finish the soup, add the wakame flakes, and they will rehydrate and add lots of flavour into the miso soup. Once the wakame has rehydrate, you’re ready to serve and enjoy!

I also like to add some udon noodles to my miso soup, and it becomes and excellent and healthy lunch! Just boil some instant udon in the miso soup. Once the udon noodles are ready, you’re ready to eat too! If you want, you can top it off with sesame seeds, scallions or anything you like – really!

Homemade Sweet Green (Mung) Bean Soup – 绿豆沙

Home Made Lu Dou Sha – Chinese Dessert

I was thinking about a refreshing dessert that is simple to make and refreshing would be the Chinese Mung Bean Soup

1/2 cup dried green bean
1/4 cup rock sugar
4 cup of water

First thing you have to do is clean and soak the green beans. Keep in mind that the green beans swells up and doubles in size after soaking.

Once you finished soaking the beans – I did mine overnight, but a good rule is to soak at least 4 hours.

Boil the soaked green beans with rock sugar in water. Once the water boils, turn down the heat to a simmer. The green beans will become soft and swell up.

Once the beans started swelling up, basically you’re boiling out the water to the consistency that you like the dessert to be.

We like our dessert to be more on the thicker side, but I must admit – I’ve over done it on mine! I didn’t feel like adding more water to it since the sweetness was perfect, and it wasn’t bad having it thicker either!

This is a dessert where you can enjoy it hot or cold, and it tastes great both ways as well! I found once chilled, it becomes a little bit thicker as well, and less sweet. It’s a refreshing dessert!

Homemade Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

I was wanting to make a soup for lunch – with a sandwich, so I roamed the grocery store and found some nice sweet potatoes. So, I figured I can make a delicious Sweet Potato Soup

4 Cups Chicken Stock
1 lb chopped sweet potato
1 chopped onion

Smokey Chipotle
White Pepper
Black Pepper
Cayenne Pepper

I first chop my onions and saute them until they’re golden. While they’re browning away, I chopped up my sweet potatoes into sticks. I got lazy to do them into chunks – which didn’t matter anyway as I use an immersion blender to make the soup thick and smooth afterwards.

When the onions have softened, I add the sweet onions into the pot and give it a few minutes to develop it’s flavours.

After a few minutes, I add the chicken stock into the pot and turn down the heat. After about 45 minutes, the sweet potatoes have soften – so I use the immersion blender in the soup. You will find the soup is quite thin, so let it cook down some more and it’ll thicken more and the flavours will become stronger.

Once the soup is to the right consistency, I then season up the soup and serve. This was my version of spicy sweet potato soup so I added smokey chipotle seasoning, cayenne pepper, white pepper, black pepper and some salt. I served this in a bowl with a gallop of sour cream. I’m not sure how much seasoning I used, but I kept tasting it until I was satisfied with the end result. It’s always best to add a little at a time until instead of adding too much and not knowing how to reduce the flavours.

Serve this soup hot and it’s really delicious. The sour cream helps cool the heat from the spicy, so it was a bowl of soup that was beautifully balanced.

Homemade Dong Gua Tong – 冬瓜湯

Wintermelon Chinese Soup

In my family, most of my Chinese soups begin with the same base, and for the most part, this soup is no exception.

1 lb of pork bones
1 slice of dong gua
5 or 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
3 tablespoons of dried shrimp
1 or 2 dried scallop
2 tablespoons of ginger
2-3 carrots
1 piece of dried orange peel

It is good to rehydrate all the dry ingredients a few hours ahead if you can. If not, it’s not a big deal as it all cooks together and will soften.

First, take a pot of boiling water and cook the pork bones in the pot of water. Then, when it’s cooked through (or most of it), rinse it with cold water and place into a soup pot.

In a the soup pot with the cooked pork bones, place peeled carrots which is cut into large chunks, dong gua into chunks as well – which I usually leave the peel on as well, so make sure you clean everything, and the ginger! Then, I place all the dry ingredients into the pot and fill it up with cold water.

Once the water boils, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for at least 3 hours. The longer you let it simmer, the more flavours get developed into the soup. When you’re ready to enjoy, skim the fat off the top and add some salt to taste! Then, serve and enjoy this refreshing winter melon soup!

This particular time, we bought the edge of the dong gua and my other half decided it would be fun to make a bowl out of it as a dong gua zhong – winter melon pot. If you’re doing this properly, you steam the soup in this bottom piece and it then acts as a serving platform. Here, we just carved it and he used it as a bowl.