Following on from yesterdays post: Alvin Leung Masterclass Part 1: Dead Garden, here’s Part 2 on Xiao Long Bao.
Nosey as I am, during the Dead Garden presentation, I spotted what looked like a bath of small egg yolks. Hmmm. I wondered what they were!
Egg yolks! First instinct but incorrect, closer inspection revealed that they were too orangey brown and a funny shape, not perfectly round. I wondered some more about what they were.
Patience is a virtue but it ain’t one of mine. So I watched attentively, and impatiently waited for the reveal. At last it came, they were Xiao Long Bao.
Xiao Long Bao?! They can’t be. Xiao Long Bao are dumplings with minced pork and onion and soup inside. One of my favourite Chinese foods, they require precision and delicacy, for if you burst them whilest transporting them to your mouth, you will lose all of the lovely stock. I’ve done it and can assure you that it’s devestating. Well, as devestating as an eating exerience can be. The build up, the care and attention, then spillage and failure. I have mastered the art now.
But these were an interpretation of Xiao Long Bao. Little balls of porky goodness made of pork stock containing minced pork, spring onion, shallot, sugar, sesame oil and hua diao, a type of rice wine, this was starting to sound like the pork flavour from the meat in the parcel. The pork stock is then combined with xantana (one of those magical thickeners used by molecular gastronomists and enthusiasts), gluco, another specialist powder used to create an egg like consistency, sesame oil & sugar.
Finally, spoonfuls are placed in an algin bath for 1 minute to create the little balls of Xiao Long Bao. Decorated with a narrow tart strip of ginger that has been marinaded in Chinese Red Vinegar, representing the vinegar & ginger you would dip your Xiao Long Bao in.
Spoon in hand I was curious. I had no idea what this would be like but was intrigued. A very tender outside burst to reveal the rush of stock and intense meaty flavour so familiar to me from Xiao Long Bao excursions, it was an excellent and very exciting version. I went back for more. Better again, I will try these at home.
Come back tomorrow for Part 3, my piece on Alvin’s interpretation of the English breakfast.