Pig Tail Dumplings, Spicy Crab Broth, Blue Crab, Lemon, and Mint

Adapted by StarChefs.com
February 2016
Yield: 6 servings


Pig Tail Filling
4 pig tails
1 cup coconut oil
1 head garlic, halved and peeled
One 2-inch finger ginger, halved and peeled
1 stick Chinese cinnamon
2 tablespoons saté chile paste, plus additional as needed
2 tablespoons fermented black bean paste
½ stalk lemongrass (white part only)
Zest of 1 orange
3 sprigs basil
1½ bunches cilantro
2 tablespoons crab paste
2 quarts rich pork stock
1 kilogram all-purpose flour, plus additional as needed
6 grams salt
450 grams water
Spicy Crab Broth
1 cup vegetable oil
1 pound gumbo crabs, smashed
2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
7 cloves garlic, minced
One 2-inch piece ginger, minced
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup crab paste
½ cup shrimp paste
2 tablespoons saté chile paste
¼ cup fermented red pepper paste
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 quarts rich shellfish stock
1 stalk lemongrass (white part only), bruised
8 cilantro stems
3 basil stems
1 stick Chinese cinnamon
To Assemble and Serve
2 gallons water
½ cup salt
8 ounces jumbo lump crab meat , picked for shells
½ cup coconut oil
1 cup mint (half cut chiffonade)
1 tablespoon minced preserved lemon rind, pith removed and rinsed
½ cup basil chiffonade
½ cup cilantro chiffonade


For the Pig Tail Filling

Heat oven to 210°F. In a large pot, place pig tails and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. After 5 minutes, remove from heat and drain tails. In a braising pan over medium-high flame, heat coconut oil, and add garlic and ginger. When garlic is golden, add cinnamon, saté, and bean paste. Cook 4 minutes. Add lemongrass, orange, basil, ½ bunch cilantro, crab paste, stock, and pig tails. Bring to a simmer, cover, and braise in oven for 12 hours, until fork tender. Let tails cool in braising liquid. Drain tails, reserving them separately from liquid. Pass liquid through a chinois into a pan and reduce by half. Pick and coarsely chop pig tail meat. Finley chop remaining cilantro (leaves only) and transfer to bowl with meat and 2 cups reduced braising liquid. Season with salt and additional saté. Cover and refrigerate.

For the Dumplings

In a large bowl, mix flour and salt. Slowly stream in water, mixing by hand. After dough comes together knead 5 minutes. (The dough should be very tough and dry, almost crumbly, and look like it needs more water.) Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate 20 minutes. Knead dough 5 more minutes, until soft and silky. Cover with plastic and bench-rest 5 minutes. Cut and roll dough into 5-ounce balls, keeping dough covered with plastic. Dust work surface and one ball with flour and flatten dough with a rolling pin until ¼-inch thick. With a 4-inch ring cutter, cut circles from flattened dough. Place a ¾-ounce spoonful of Pig Tail Filling in the center of each circle and pinch the top into a half-moon shape to seal dumpling. Transfer dumplings to a floured sheet tray. Repeat until there are 18 dumplings. Cover and refrigerate.

For the Spicy Crab Broth

In a large saucepot over medium-high flame, heat vegetable oil. Add crabs and cook until they’re deeply red. Add onions, garlic, and ginger. When onions are golden brown, add celery and pastes. Cook 4 minutes. With a whisk, stir in flour followed by stock. Using butchers twine, tie together lemongrass, herb stems, and cinnamon. Drop bundle into broth and tie remaining twine loosely to the handle of the pot. Bring to a simmer and lower heat to medium- low. Cook 30 minutes, skimming impurities from surface. Remove broth from heat, discard herb bundle, and season with salt. 

To Assemble and Serve

In a large pot over high heat, bring water to a simmer. Lower heat to medium (water should be about 180°F). Add salt. Drop in Dumplings and cook 4 minutes, until dough is tender; drain. In a wide saucepan, warm 1 cup reserved Pig Tail cooking liquid and 2 quarts Spicy Crab Broth. In a bowl, combine crab, coconut oil, mint chiffonade, and lemon; season with salt. Onto center of a deep serving platter, place Dumplings and surround with broth. Top with crab salad and finish with preserved lemon, whole mint, basil, and cilantro.