It was around 3 in the morning when my little sister and I came up with this crazy idea. I was consulting her for recipes as I often do, and told her we needed one for Chinese New Year. We wanted to do a Filipino riff on one of our favorite dishes, xiao long bao, but couldn’t think what that would look like. We thought of bulalo bao, with a sacred nugget of bone marrow folded in the middle of each dumpling. We thought of one filled with aligue and shrimp, but it was when we were about to hang up the phone when she blurted out half-asleep: “omg kare-kare xiao long bao then the XO sauce so that it can taste like bagoong. Yes, this anecdote is important, because I will call it—this is one of our coolest, semi-hybrid recipes to date.
Our resident recipe developer Kat was able to put our bonkers idea to life, and while it may require a long amount of time, and a daunting dozen or so steps, the payoff is worth it. Cutting into the gently chewy skin has a reveal that is just as exciting as seeing the soup run out of a Chinese dumpling. Instead, thick, peanut-buttery kare-kare sauce nudges out, adding a dense, almost-smoky flavor to the lump crab filling traditional to a xiao long bao.
Even if you’re not a fan of kare-kare, this recipe is so delicious and reminiscent of the complexity of satay or a curry. Add your thrown-together XO sauce made with extra bagoong and garlic, which adds necessary salty and umami to the whole thing. Your ma might call blasphemy, but everyone else will secretly love it.
Kare Kare Xiao Long Bao with X0 Sauce
Total Time: 1 hour 50 mins (90 mins prep, 20 mins cooking)
Yield: 3-4 dozens, estimated
- 2 cups flour (try to add 1/4 cup grf)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 tbsp oil
- Put flour in a bowl.
- Make a well in the middle and pour in boiling water and oil.
- Mix with fork until flour is moistened.
- Transfer to a floured surface and knead for 7-10 minutes or until dough is smooth.
- Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- Roll into logs with 1” diameter. Cut into 3/4” pieces. Flatten and roll out into a circle, about 3” diameter. Make sure to cover dough with towel at all times, to prevent it from drying.
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 sachet kare kare mix
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- salt, to taste
- 1/2 to 1 tsp gelatin powder, dissolved in 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup lump crab
- Boil together water, kare kare mix and peanut butter and season with salt.
- Boil for 5 minutes or until thick; make sure to whisk until smooth.
- Add in gelatin powder dissolved in water.
- Boil for another 30 seconds.
- Turn off fire, mix in lump crab.
- Transfer to a container and slightly cool.
- Freeze for 1-2 hours or until firm.
Ingredients: Bagoong XO Sauce
- 1 tsp cooking oil
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup xo sauce, store bought
- 1/4 cup bagoong, store bought
Procedure: Bagoong XO Sauce
- Heat oil.
- Saute garlic until light brown, add in XO sauce and bagoong.
- Saute for 1-2 minutes. Turn off fire and set aside.
Cooking and Assembly
- Remove the filling from the chiller.
- Fill a piece of rolled dough with a tablespoon of filling.
- Lift edges, and seal in a circular motion with pleats.
- After sealing, pinch the top part to seal in all the pleats you’ve made.
- Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.
- Put in containters, with spaces in between.
- Store in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before steaming. To make it firm
- Steam for 10-12 minutes or until cooked.