Chinese Soup Dumplings & Silk Road Teas

Drunken Concubine, White Empress, Black Dragon–no, this isn’t the newest Ang Lee film, these are the names of some of my favorite teas from the Chinese tea company, Silk Road Teas.If you don’t understand or speak Chinese, it can sometimes be intimidating discovering Chinese teas to enjoy. I love that Silk Road Teas takes some of the mystery out of the process, opening up a world of best-quality Chinese teas to those of us who want to expand our appreciation of tea.I’ve tried a handful of Silk Road Teas, my favorites being the Organic Heavenly Blue Peak (a green tea favored by emperors!) and Plum Blossom Fragrance (an award-winning Dan Cong Oolong). The sweet and aromatic leaves of White Empress are delightful enjoyed solo, while Jasmine Pearls and Lapsang Souchong go particularly well with Chinese culinary delicacies like these homemade soup dumplings!Chinese Soup Dumplings, also called Xiao Long Bao are my favorite recipe for celebrating an occasion as special as Chinese New Year. Like an exquisite cup of Chinese tea, these dumplings are humble, artful, impressive.The recipe starts with gelatinized broth or, ideally, aspic. My short cut around boiling chicken bones for hours on end is to use wholesome bone broth, which you can find in the freezer section of well-stocked grocery stores. If you haven’t had it before, this is fantastic stuff–nutritious and rich in protein. Its thickness makes it perfect for enhancing the taste of these savory soup dumplings.Because you want the gelled stock to keep its shape during the wrapping process, make sure that the filling is well-chilled. To prevent a soggy skin, wrap the dumplings just before cooking and don’t overcook. Unlike potstickers, these aren’t the type of dumpling that you want to wrap hours ahead of time.As much as I’d love to tell you that it’s easy to wrap these dumplings, unfortunately it’s not. What I can tell you is that it’s good idea not to overstuff the dumplings and that you can opt out of the more complex wrapping technique at any time by shaping the dumplings into simple half-moons.It’s important to eat these right after steaming them up and hopefully with a spoon. If you let them sit around too long the skins will absorb the encased soup.If I could only eat one meal everyday, forever, it would be Chinese dumplings and tea. I know many of you out there feel me on this, so get those bamboo steamers and gaiwans out–Chinese New Year is a fantastic reason to celebrate with Chinese Soup Dumplings and Silk Road Teas!A special thanks to Silk Road Teas for providing the teas featured in this post. If you want to explore a world of exquisite Chinese tea, please check out their impressive collection! Happy Lunar New Year!!

Chinese Soup Dumplings

Makes 36 dumplings.


{Soup Gelatin Base}

1 1/2 cups chicken bone broth, divided

2 tsp gelatin powder

{Pork Filling}

1/2 lb. ground pork

2 green onions, sliced thinly

1 Tbsp oyster sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp Chinese rice wine

1/2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp ginger, grated

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp white pepper

{Wrapper Dough}

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup boiling water

{Dipping Sauce & Garnish}

Napa cabbage leaves

Chinkiang or regular white vinegar

soy sauce


ginger, sliced into very thin strips


shallow pan

large mixing bowl

work surface

rolling pin

plastic bag

bamboo steamer

wok with slightly larger diameter than steamer OR a stockpot with exactly the same diameter as the steamer


1. Make the Soup Gelatin Base. Combine the gelatin powder with a 1/2 cup of bone broth to bloom. Heat the other 1 cup in a small pot and bring it to a boil. Add the hot broth to the cold broth with the bloomed gelatin. Combine, pour into a shallow pan, then set in fridge to chill completely.

2. Make the Filling. Combine all the filling ingredients, then add the gelatin base and mix until well incorporated, but with a few gelatin chunks still in the mix. Cover and keep in the fridge to chill while you make the wrappers.

3. Make the Wrapper Dough. In a large bowl, pour the hot water on the flour all at once. Stir vigorously with chopsticks for several minutes until you can handle the dough with your hands. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface, then knead until you get a soft and supple dough. Alternately, you can put the dough into a mixer fitted with a dough hook, but you’ll occasionally need to scrape down the sides of the bowl as the dough is soft and slightly sticky.

4. Wrap the Dumplings. Cut the wrapper dough into 36 equal pieces. Place the pieces in a plastic bag, keeping them moist while you work on rolling out one at a time. Place a nugget of dough on a floured work surface, then lightly flatten it with the palm of your hand, coating both sides with flour. Use the rolling pin to roll each round into a 3″ flat round. Place 2 tsp of the filling in the middle of each dough wrapper, then pinch one edge. Continue to pinch the edges of the round together in a circular fashion until you get a completely sealed dumpling.5. Steam the Dumplings. Fill the wok with water by a few inches, then set on high heat until it reaches a full boil. Line a bamboo steamer with Napa cabbage leaves. Place the finished dumplings atop the cabbage, then steam for 7-8 minutes over high heat. Enjoy the dumplings hot, with a sauce of equal parts vinegar, soy sauce, and water along with thin slivers of ginger. Happy Chinese New Year!!

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Jessica Chang Irish

Thanks for the xiao long bao recipe, Bonnie! That would be one of my top choices for a meal I’d love to eat every day too! You’ll have to work with me on making them from scratch though — if I made them by myself, I doubt they’d be edible. 😛


I used to live in Shanghai and miss fresh Xiao Long Bao so much. I’ve been intimidated to make them at home, but your post has given me a bit more courage. Maybe soon…
Oh, and lovely blog.