These Chinese Soup Dumplings are pure bliss! As you bite into one, you get a mouthful of the savory filling and hot soup. It's an explosion of flavors and textures!
If you’ve never had Chinese soup dumplings, you must try them- you won’t regret it! They're similar to traditional dumplings but are taken to a whole new level.
To make soup dumplings, cubes of gelatinized meat broth are incorporated into the dumpling filling. As the dumplings steam, the broth melts.
So when you bite into one, you get a bite of the savory filling as well as a mouthful of hot soup. It's an explosion of flavors and textures. Pure bliss in one bite!
When we lived in New York City, we used to frequent Chinatown and enjoy soup dumplings often. They’re a dim sum staple. I admit that we were spoiled, having access to the best international cuisine available.
Now that I live in South Florida, some of these dishes are a little harder to find so I often try to recreate them at home. However, I never tried to make soup dumplings before because it’s a long process to make the gelatinized broth.
Traditionally, to get that rich, thick broth, several ingredients like pork bones, pigs feet and skin are simmered with aromatics. The collagen melts into the stock, thickening it and eventually it solidifies when refrigerated.
How To Make Soup Dumplings
Fortunately, there’s a much faster and easier way to make the gelatinized broth at home. Simply whisk some gelatin into chicken stock or bone broth and refrigerate until firm.
Once it hardens, you’ll basically have a big tray of jello. Slice it into long planks and then dice it up into cubes. Just look at those beautiful little cubes of chicken goodness waiting to get stuffed into dumplings!
For the dumpling filling, I used a combination of chicken and shrimp, although pork is traditional. I also took a little help from the store by using dumpling wrappers instead of making wrappers from scratch.
You can find dumpling wrappers at Asian grocery stores or specialty stores like Whole Foods. If you can’t find them, you can use wonton wrappers, which are slightly thinner.
Assembling The Soup Dumplings
When you stuff the dumplings, you want to put about 1 teaspoon of the meat filling into the center of each dumpling wrapper and add a couple of the broth cubes. Don’t overstuff them or they will be difficult to wrap- I learned the hard way!
Then, lift up the edge of the dumpling wrapper and make little pleats, working your way around the whole circle until it is closed. It took a few tries to get used to forming the dumplings but after two or three, I had it down pretty well!
Cooking The Soup Dumplings
This recipe makes a lot of dumplings, so at this point you can freeze some and save them for a rainy day. Then when you’re ready to cook them, set up your steamer.
I don’t have a traditional bamboo steamer so I used my rice cooker, which has a steamer basket insert. Add a couple of inches of water to the bottom of the pot and line the steamer basket with some cabbage leaves.
Spray them with cooking spray and arrange some dumplings in the basket so that they’re not touching each other. Steam them for about 10-12 minutes or until the filling is cooked through.
How To Eat Soup Dumplings
To serve with the dumplings, I made a quick sauce with soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar and ginger. If you don’t have black vinegar, you can use a mixture of 1 part balsamic vinegar, 1 part rice wine vinegar and 3 parts water.
One last thing- don’t be shy or dainty when you eat these dumplings! They’re best eaten in one big bite. As you bite into them, the soup will burst out and mix with all of the flavors in your mouth. Serve them as an appetizer at your next party and watch them disappear!
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Chinese Soup Dumplings
- 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
- 2 cups chicken stock or bone broth
- 1 pound ground chicken
- ¼ pound peeled, deveined raw shrimp, finely chopped
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon grated ginger
- ½ teaspoon grated garlic
- 1 ½ tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 1 ½ teaspoons Chinese Shaoxing wine (rice wine) or dry sherry
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- ¼ cup Chinese black vinegar
- 1 inch piece of ginger, cut into matchsticks
- 1 package 3-inch round dumpling wrappers
- 3 or 4 green or Napa cabbage leaves
- Pour 3 tablespoons water into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Let the gelatin soften for a few minutes. Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a medium saucepan until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat and add the gelatin mixture. Whisk until combined. Pour the liquid into a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Cover and refrigerate until solid. Once solid, cut the block into long strips and then cut the strips into cubes, about ½-inch in size.
- Mix the chicken, shrimp, scallions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, wine, sugar, sesame oil, salt, and pepper together in a bowl.
- To make the dipping sauce, mix the soy sauce, vinegar and ginger together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- To make the dumplings, place one dumpling wrapper on a cutting board or flat surface and place a teaspoon of the filling in the center. Add 2 or 3 cubes of gelatinized broth to the filling, pressing them in. Lift up one edge of the dumpling wrapper and make small pleats or folds in the dough, working your way around the entire circle until the dumpling is closed. Pinch the top to seal it. Assemble the remaining dumplings.
- To steam the dumplings, pour water into a steamer to a depth of 1 or 2 inches. Line the steamer basket with a few cabbage leaves and spray it with cooking spray. Place several dumplings on the cabbage leaves, leaving a little space between them so they don’t touch. Close the top and steam until the filling is cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Carefully remove the dumplings from the steamer. Cook the remaining dumplings. Serve dumplings hot with the dipping sauce on the side.