• wearegoodatthis

Can I Make a "Giant Soup Dumpling"?

Updated: Dec 2, 2019

My Dad loved soup dumplings! Soup dumplings (Xiaolongbao) are Chinese dumplings that are filled with hot liquid or soup. They are pretty fun to eat. I never thought much about them or how they were made; I just ate them.

Then, recently I was watching YouTube videos and I saw a Tastemade video on dumplings and a giant soup dumpling was one of them. I also saw one on Tasty. It not only looked fun to eat; they looked fun to make too, so I decided to try it out.

So as Stevie Nicks says before Landslide, "This one's for you, Daddy."

Friday, November 29, 2019, Attempt #1:

Note: I wrote a detailed account of my attempts to give you my experience and maybe give you some tips, but it's not that hard to make. Don't get scared away if you want to try to make it. It is super fun and not that hard to make. You are essentially making Jell-O, hamburgers/meatloaf and some dough (all easy).


The way that they get the soup into the dumpling is that the soup is made into gelatin (it's solid) and then as the dumpling cooks the gelatin becomes liquid again or soup. How cool is that?

You might think they could just put liquid into the dumpling, but if they just put liquid soup into the dumpling wrapper, then the dumpling wrapper would just absorb it. Then, when you ate it, there would be no soup.

The recipes I used were an amalgam of things from Tastemade and Tasty YouTube videos/websites. I watched both Tastemade and Tasty YouTube videos while I was making it for tips.

For the dumpling dough: I used Tastemade recipe.

- 1 cup of bread flour

- 1/2 cup flour

- 7 tablespoons of boiling water

They did use a food processor, which I don't have yet.

For the soup gelatin: I used a Tasty recipe because they used gelatin powder (which I had) whereas the Tastemade video used agar agar which I had.

[Side Note: Gelatin Powder vs. Agar Agar -- Btw, in different YouTube videos I've watched, some use gelatin powder and some use agar agar and both result in something similar -- the end results look like gelatin/Jell-O. I didn't know the difference, so I Googled it. The difference is the source from which they are derived. Agar agar is plant-based and a vegetarian substitute for gelatin powder. I did read in some of the comments on some of the YouTube videos that agar agar might not melt as well, so it might not work as well for soup dumplings. I don't know. It worked in the Tastemade video. https://www.diffen.com/difference/Agar_vs_Gelatin ]

- ⅔ cup hot water

- 0.2 oz gelatin powder (which is ~1 packet)

- 1 tablespoon soy sauce

- 1 tablespoon chicken stock (I just used water with a little Chicken ramen seasoning.)


For the dumpling filling: I used the Tastemade recipe pretty much because I had most of the ingredients; I made a couple substitutions. They used ground pork and ground shrimp mixture (~1.25 lbs. of meat total); I used ground chicken (~5-6 oz.). I just divided their recipe by 3 and used what I had.

What I used:

- 5-6 oz. ground chicken

- green onions

- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce

- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

- 1 tablespoon of sugar

- 1 1/2 cloves of garlic (chopped)

- You could use minced garlic or probably even garlic powder. I had fresh garlic around.

Making the soup gelatin - Part 1

First, I decided to make the gelatin before in the afternoon so it could set and I could make the giant soup dumpling for dinner.

To make the gelatin, I mixed the ingredients on a small pot on medium on the stove.

In the videos to make a giant soup dumpling, you pour the soup gelatin mixture into an ice cube tray, then you get big pieces of soup gelatin. If you are making normal-size dumplings, you can mix a little gelatin with your dumpling filling, it doesn't need to be in big cubes, which are bigger than the dumplings themselves. :)

My little ice cube trays are coming in handy. I used them to make Ice Cube Tray Pies also (see links).



I poured the gelatin into the ice cube tray. I put it in the freezer (Ooops!) then I went out for a bit.

I forgot you are not supposed to put gelatin in the freezer. This is what I came back to.

Making the soup gelatin - Part 2

The ice solid soup gelatin batch may have worked, but I made a second batch to give me the best chance of having it work.

I left it in the fridge (correct place) this time for >1 hour and went to work out.

When I came back, yay! they were soup gelatin cubes.

Making the dumpling filling

I made the dumpling filling, which is like making hamburgers, meatloaf or lumpia shanghai filling -- just putting some stuff in a bowl and hand-mixing it together.

Hacking together a "Bamboo Steamer"

Typically, you would steam the dumpling in a bamboo steamer. I don't have one. I just used a colander over a pot of boiling water and then covered it to try to keep steam/heat from sneaking out. That's why there is foil in some of the pictures below; it's blocking an area where there was still an opening when I just tried it with the pot lid alone.

I started the boiling water before making the dough because in the recipe, you use boiling water. So I just took the boiling water from the bottom of the "bamboo steamer" for the dough.

Making the dough

There are only 3 ingredients: 1 cup of bread flour, 1/2 cup of flour, and a very specific amount of 7 tablespoons of boiling water. When I tried it with only 7 tablespoons of water -- it was not a dough at all -- still pretty much just flour. I had to add ~16 tablespoons of water (which ends up to be 1 cup of boiling water) to make it into a dough. They did use a food processor, which I don't have yet.

I rolled out the dough and tried to make it pretty thin as I could, so I could try to ensure that it would cook all the way through.

I couldn't get it to be a square / rectangle / circle or any really symmetrical shape, so I knew that it was going to be tough to form the dumpling, but I kept going anyways. Haha. :)

Filling and Forming the Giant Dumpling

In the video, they put the meat filling in the middle and they surround the meat with the little cubes of soup gelatin, so I kind of did this. I did flatten my meat a little bit more than in the video because I was a little worried it wouldn't cook through.

Also, until I was ready to put the soup gelatin cubes into the dumpling, I left them in the fridge, so they would still be solid.

Like I said above, as I was making the dough, I knew that it was going to form the dumpling. I brought the edges together to form a dumpling, but one side where there wasn't as much dough -- there were a few little holes, so I knew it was going to leak from the start. Haha. :)

This is what it came out to look like -- pre-cooking. You can see some little holes. Haha. :)

Steaming the Giant Dumpling

Here it is in the "bamboo steamer" and with the pot lid plus foil cover.

In the video, they steam it for ~30 min. I probably steamed it for 45 min. because I was afraid the ground chicken wasn't going to cook through with the thickness of the dough. This was probably too long; I will explain this later.

RESULT: Success / Fail. :)

We are good at this? / We are good at this. There was a tiny little soup in there. You can't really see in the demonstration with the straw, but I could suck up 1-2 mL of soup from the middle of the dumpling. I knew that it was going to leak from the start because there were some holes. :) Also, I think I may have cooked it too long. Once the solid gelatin melted and became liquid, I think it started to get absorbed in the dumpling dough (much like if I just put liquid soup in it from the start). For my next attempt, I decided to cook it for ~30 min. as in the videos.

The giant dumpling cooked through though and tasted good!

Because I didn't get as much soup in there as I wanted to, I added another soup gelatin cube to the middle and then microwaved it for 30 min. :) That's the bottom rows of photos below. I put one giant photo of the giant dumpling with the extra soup at the bottom of the post.

It is a giant dumpling, but if you only eat part of it like I did, it's pretty healthy. It's steamed, so there is no oil.

It is super fun to make and not that hard to make. Like I said above, you are essentially making jell-O, hamburgers/meatloaf and some dough (all easy).

Give it a try! We are good at this!

Adding More Gelatin & Microwaving the Giant Dumpling

I added another cube of soup gelatin, stuffed it in there and then microwaved it for 30 sec.

Saturday, November 30, 2019, Attempt #2:

I did the same steps as in Attempt #1, except: (photos below)

1.) Raviolo al' uovo / Giant Chicken Carbonara Raviolo technique for filling the dumpling

I used a technique I learned from making raviolo al' uovo and Giant Chicken Carbonara Raviolo from a Twisted YouTube video to try to give the soup the best chance of staying in the giant dumpling and not leaking.



2.) I tried to roll the dough into a more symmetrical shape to help with forming the dumpling and minimize holes.

3.) I cooked the dumpling for ~30 min. (instead of ~45 min.) so that the soup gelatin could melt, but not have enough time to get absorbed by the dumpling dough.


1.) Raviolo al' uovo / Giant Chicken Carbonara Raviolo technique for filling the dumpling

What I did:

I made a ring of meat along the edges and put the soup gelatin cubes in the middle. I thought the meat would form a second barrier so the soup couldn't leak out.

Note: When making raviolo al' uovo / Giant Chicken Carbonara Raviolo (which is a variation of raviolo al' uovo), you put 2 pieces of dough and crease the edges to making a raviolol. To bake a bao, you use one piece of dough and then bring it together in the middle. It is possible you could just use 2 pieces of dough and make a giant raviolo with soup gelatin in it. That would be real international fusion. :)

2.) Rolling the dough in a slightly more symmetrical shape

I tried my best, haha. :) It did seem to come together into a bao better with no holes or not that many holes this time.

3.) I steamed it for only ~30 min.

RESULT: Success! :)

We are good at this! I couldn't find my clear plastic straw to do another demonstration, but when I peaked in the middle (photo to the right), I could tell there was a lot more soup in it this time. :)

It tasted good like last time.

How good does that look? Photo below.

I'm definitely going to try to make it again soon. Stay tuned! Like I mentioned, it's super fun to make and super fun to eat and pretty healthy too.

Give it a try! We are good at this!

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