The first time Molly Yeh tried soup dumplings, she was 10 years old and convinced that they were magic. “I was so mystified by how soup got stuffed into a dumpling,” says the Spring Baking Championship host. Years later, she discovered the secret: The soup starts out as gelatin that melts down as the dumplings cook. Soon she had her own recipe in the works, a riff on her family’s go-to potstickers. Molly makes them in big batches: “I sit at a table and fold a million of them at a time, usually with the TV on in the background. They’re like pancakes: The first few are ugly, but after that they’re not bad!”
Make the wrappers: Combine the flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl and create a well in the middle. Add 1/2 cup boiling water and mix it in with a spatula, then incorporate with your hands until you have a mealy, shaggy mixture. Mix in 1/2 cup cold water and bring everything together into a dough, then turn it out onto a work surface and knead, adding more flour if it gets too sticky to work with, until you have a smooth and slightly sticky dough, 7 to 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and set aside for 30 minutes while you make the filling.
Make the soup gelatin: Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan until hot, then add the soy sauce and gelatin powder. Whisk to combine. Pour into a shallow dish and chill until set, about 1 hour. Break up the gelatin by fluffing it with a fork. Set aside.
Make the filling: Put the pork in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the soy sauce, ginger, sambal oelek, sesame oil, rice vinegar and scallions. Mix with your hands (don’t overmix), then set up your dumpling folding station.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and dust with flour. To assemble the dumplings, divide the dough into 32 balls (keep them covered when you’re not working with them). Roll out the balls into 3 1/2- to 4-inch circles, flouring the surface as needed. Put a wrapper in your non-dominant hand and make a cup. Place 1/2 tablespoon pork filling in the center and top with 1/2 tablespoon soup gelatin. Begin gathering and pleating the dumpling wrapper using your thumb and pointer finger. Work your way around the edge of the wrapper until you’ve gathered all the dough; your thumb stays in the same place — it’s the pointer finger doing all the work. Twist it at the end, pinching everything in the center. Repeat with the remaining wrappers, filling and soup gelatin and place the dumplings on the sheet pan. (You can freeze the dumplings at this point and steam them directly from the freezer.)
To steam the dumplings, line a bamboo steamer with cabbage leaves or parchment paper with a few holes cut out. Place a single layer of dumplings in the steamer, leaving a bit of room between them, then set the steamer over a pot of boiling water. Steam in batches until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. (Alternately, line a plate with cabbage or parchment. Place in a pot of boiling water, making sure the water doesn’t cover the plate; cook 8 to 10 minutes.)
Let the dumplings cool slightly, then enjoy with a sauce of equal parts vinegar and soy sauce with sambal oelek to taste.
The proper way to eat a soup dumpling: Put it on a spoon and poke or bite a little hole in it, slurp out the soup, then eat the rest of the dumpling!
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Photograph by Mike Garten
Tools You May Need
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