Sake Gumi

After spending two weeks in Europe, eating pasta and paella everyday, my Asian part of the body started screaming "WHERE IS MY RICE?!" Also being away from the kitchen for two weeks made me want to cook continuously this past weekend.

Yes, Italy was great, food awesome, drank grappa like it was water, partied like I am still young (check out the wedding photos, pretty unusual, but very cool).

After seeing Kayoko and UM's posting on soup dumplings (if you are friends with both Kayoko and UM on FB, it's quite annoying since they simultaneously post the same shit), I was getting very hungry for soup dumplings. I could have gone to Grand Sichuan on 24th street, which is only 5 blocks away, but I decided to make my own.

Am I an idiot for making XLB from scratch? Yes, totally, but the satisfaction level was quite high.

Here is the recipe for the gelatin soup:
2 lb. chicken bones (Western Beef luckily sells chicken craps for very cheap)
1/5 lb. pork fat and skin
Scallion, ginger, garlic
2 quarts water


Put everything in a large pot, boil it, and simmer for about two hours. I cheated a little by adding Chinese soup stock after an hour. Once it boils, be sure to get rid of all the crap floating around.
When it's done, discard all the solids, and take four cups of the soup, put back on stove. Once it boils, take it out of the stove, and add two packages of unflavored gelatin. Mix, then chill until it sets. To be sure, I made this part on day one.


For the meat:
1 lb. ground pork (I went to Chinatown and got pretty fatty ground)
3 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. Chinese rice wine
4 stalks of scallions chopped
about 1 inch of ginger, minced
Salt, pepper
Mix together until sticky.


Now take the gelatin out of the fridge. Cut them into small cube, then add to the pork mixture. It's ok if they don't mix too well. You can pick gelatin when you stuff them into the skin. By the way, I only used half of the gelatin, but I could have used all of them.


Here comes the recipe for the skin:
400 grams flour
3/4 cup of boiling hot water
1/4 cup of cold water
1tbs oil

Add hot water gradually into the flour, and vigorously stir with chopsticks. Add cold water and oil, vigorously stir. This gets the gluten going, and make the dough smooth. Dump everything onto the kitchen counter, and start kneading for about 10 minutes.


End product should look like a smooth ball. Elastic and smooth. Rest the dough for about 30 minutes in plastic wrap.


Cut the dough into fourths, and roll each piece out to a long rope, then cut it into eighths (original recipe said 10, but I thought it was too small). Roll it out into very thin rounda, then put a drop of the pork mixture, plus enough gelatin and then nicely wrap them and be sure there's no hole for the juice to escape.


Steam on top of a piece of napa cabbage for about 12 minutes, and it's done.


Is this umamiporn or what?!


They are hot as hell, as you know, and I totally burned my tongue. But it was worth it.


Thinking what could have been done better...


I still have half the gelatin left so I can make it again. I need to figure out a better way to make the dough, though. It was ok, but I wanted it to be a bit thinner than what I did.

Final comment. This is too labor intensive, and I think I will go to a restaurant next time I crave XLB.

*Yamahomo enjoys cooking and baking. He prefers staying in kitchen all weekend long rather than being outside.
Column: ReCPY


  • Never cease to amaze.

    Sonja on


    I am super impressed that you actually made these- god, your determination and unlaziness never ceases to amaze me.

    I turned off my Twitter/FB updates so you can stop bitching now!!!xxxx

    kayoko on

  • Great to see you back on UM. This looks like you have to be really involved. Props to you for following through with this challenge.

    yoko on

  • Please make it again…

    Erns on

  • Although I have a question, do you have to add gelatin? or would it jell enough on its own?

    Sonja on

  • Ryohei! Those look delicious!

    jason k on

  • Tmonkey and I once tried to make XLB when we went to his home in Nashville. BIG FAIL. Actually the flavor was quite good (we used pork AND crab meat stuffing) but we had the same problem with the skin! Could not get them thin enough. As a consequence, once we steamed them and let them cool down a bit, they were all flat and flubby, instead of buoyant… Please invite me over when you attempt #2.

    ayagwa on

  • Yes, either agar agar of unflavored gelatin. I mean you do cook pork fat/skin that contains a lot of gelatin, but to make sure it doesn't easily break while mixing with pork mixture, it's wise to put gelatin and make stock jello.

    Yamahomo on


    What a fun-filled fashionista wedding celebration!

    kayoko on

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