I first had these broth-filled dumplings at a recent visit to New York City and loved them (Joe's Shanghai!). For those who don't know, and for those who do know and might find cause to correct me, these are Chinese dumplings filled in a special way, so as to end up with, after cooking, a rich broth making up half or more of the interior.
I gather from googling that the assembly is roughly this: grind up a seasoned meat or other protein-oriented filler, place that onto a flattened round of dumpling dough, then place onto that some cubes of gelatinized broth, then wrap the dumpling up around all that, so that (forgive the R-rating) the dumpling comes together at the top pinched into a nipple-like shape, so all the broth stays inside when the dumpling is steamed and the broth melts. You eat them by spooning the dumplings up and nibbling off the nipple top to suck up the broth first.
I've noticed that most online recipes call for using a pork broth with gelatin powder or agar agar (why isn't one "agar" enough?). Now, it so happens that I saw some beef bones and scraps on sale recently, so I have in my fridge a seriously high quality beef stock, almost to demi-glace level. At fridge temp, it's more solid than most Jellos. It might even be too intense for this application.
So, any ideas about whether I might use this beef base for xiao long bao effectively, or might it be too much? Do i really need gelatin or agar agar?
Not sure I'd want to mix pork or shrimp or other fillings with beef broth, so should I look to a beef or soy protein filling?
Any tips appreciated.