Xiaolongbao and Pork Belly Tacos

As usual it’s been a number of months since I’ve last posted. I don’t know that I have much to update. I guess I hit my six year anniversary of being at Epic and in Madison. It’s hard to believe I’ve been here so long… but this is definitely the place that I would call home now.

Anyhow, onward to the food.

Tonight we made sous vide pork belly tacos and xiaolongbao (Shanghainese soup dumplings) with some friends. The pork belly I’ve made many times but I’ve never written about it. Xiaolongbao are definitely one of my favorite foods but they’re pretty complicated to make, so I’ve never attempted them before. Both recipes come from Chef Steps and were followed fairly closely.

For the pork belly I seasoned with a little bit of soy sauce, cooking wine, sesame oil, and black pepper. Sous vide at 176 degrees Fahrenheit for around 7 hours before finishing in the oven. This time I made a glaze from soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, black pepper, and garlic. I simmered that over low heat until it reduced (maybe to 2/3 of its original volume? Not sure.) then brushed over the pork belly before broiling. I broiled for 5ish minutes (should be sizzling and browning) before turning over, glazing the other side, and broiling for another 5ish minutes. Served on corn tortillas with chopped kimchi and green onions.

For the Xiaolongbao we followed the recipe as closely as we could. We used bacon for the broth, and we doubled everything. When cooling the broth/gelatin we used a 9×13 pan to attempt to get the same thickness. We found that because of the extra volume it took quite a bit longer for the gelatin to solidify. Used a two-tiered bamboo steamer that fit quite nicely in a dutch over to steam.

Overall both dishes came out really well. The main thing I think would be a good change for the future would be to cut the gelatin and add pieces in the wrapping process rather than mix it all up with the meat first. This should lead to a more consistent amount of soup in each dumpling. Other than that, I don’t know that there are any other changes I’d make.

That’s all for this time. In all likelihood expect another post in 2018 (hopefully sooner, but my track record would suggest that that’s how long it’ll take me to post again. Happy Labor Day weekend!