Xiao long bao is usually filled with pork and aspic (meat stock set to jelly). When it cooks, the aspic melts, forming a 'soup' within the dumpling. Here, the soup comes from the melted bone marrow.
- 1 tbsp grapeseed or vegetable oil
- ½ bunch Chinese water spinach (ong choy) (see Note), washed, trimmed, cut into 8 cm lengths
- 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 100 g each scallops and prawns, cut into 1 cm pieces
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp finely grated ginger
- 2 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine (shaoxing) (see Note)
- 70 g beef bone marrow (see Note)
- 1 egg white
- 30 round gow gee wrappers
- spray oil
- white pepper, to season
Black vinegar dipping sauce
- 60 ml (¼ cup) Chinese black vinegar (chinkiang) (see Note)
- 1½ tbsp soy sauce
- 1 red bird’s-eye chilli, thinly sliced
- 1 star anise
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- chopped coriander and ginger, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Heat oil in a pan over medium–high heat. Cook spinach and garlic for 1 minute or until wilted. Drain and remove liquid, then cool.
Place remaining ingredients, except bone marrow, egg white and wrappers, in a bowl and stir well to combine. Season with ground white pepper. Gently mix in bone marrow, taking care not to break it up too much. Place 2 tsp filling in the centre of each wrapper. Lightly brush edge of wrapper with egg white, then pleat edge, twist and press to seal.
Line a steamer basket with baking paper. Pierce a few holes in paper to allow steam through, then spray lightly with oil. Working in batches, place dumplings in steamer, set steamer over a pan of simmering water, then cover and cook for 12 minutes or until dumplings are heated through.
To make sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Serve dumplings with sauce.
• Ong choy is available from selected greengrocers and Asian food shops.
• Chinese rice wine is available from Asian food shops; substitute dry sherry.
• Some butchers will extract the marrow for you. Otherwise, buy 2 large beef marrow bones and remove marrow using a chopstick.
• Chinkiang is from Asian food shops.