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Cantonese Shumai (Siu Mai, 燒賣)

Refer to the post for step-by-step photos on how to wrap the dumplings.

Ingredients

Additional Equipment

Instructions

Prep the Filling

  1. Place the ground pork into a mixing bowl. Add the tapioca starch and water to the bowl and start mixing everything together with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring for several minutes until the pork starts to turn into a paste-like consistency. This step helps to tenderize the ground pork. You should hear squishing sounds as you stir the meat. Add the peanut oil and sesame oil to the bowl and stir to incorporate. Set the bowl aside.
  2. Chop the shrimp into small 1/4-inch pieces and add them to the bowl with the ground pork.
  3. Add the chopped water chestnuts, shiitake mushrooms, ginger, and scallions to the bowl with the pork and shrimp. Stir to combine. Then, add the oyster sauce, salt, sugar, and white pepper. Mix the ingredients until well incorporated.

Make the Dumplings

  1. If you are cooking the shumai immediately, line a bamboo steamer with parchment paper. If you plan to freeze the dumplings, line 1 or 2 large plates or a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. (Refer to the photo collage in the post for visuals on how to form the dumplings.) Take one dumpling wrapper and place it on your left hand. Place about 2 tablespoons of filling on the center of the wrapper. Shift the wrapper and filling so that it is laying on top of the crook of your left hand (Photo 1).
  3. Using a butter knife or spoon on your right hand, start pressing the filling down into the gap formed by the crook of your left hand (Photo 2).
  4. Use your left hand to squeeze the dumpling together (Photo 3). I usually form an “o” shape with my thumb and pointer finger to help guide the dumpling into a round shape. My dumplings are usually about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Use your ring finger to cradle the dumpling underneath (Photo 4). This makes it easier to pack the dumpling with filling.
  5. Make sure to fill the dumpling all the way to the top (Photo 5). You don’t want to see any excess dumpling wrapper on the top because the dumplings will not look as nice when cooked.
  6. Place the filled dumpling on the counter and check to see if it stands upright without leaning over. If the dumpling is leaning, use your fingers to straighten it. Transfer the dumpling to your lined bamboo steamer or plate. Continue filling and shaping the dumplings until you run out of the filling.
  7. Top each dumpling with about 1/4 teaspoon of finely diced carrots.
  8. To cook the dumplings, cover the bamboo steamer with the lid. Fill a wok with water. It should cover about 2 ½ inches from the bottom of the wok. Bring the water to boil. Then, carefully place the covered bamboo steamer directly over the boiling water. (See photo in the post for reference.) Let the dumplings cook for 7 to 8 minutes. You can stick a thermometer into a dumpling to see if the meat has reached 165ºF. Remove the steamer basket from the wok and serve.

How to Freeze Shumai 

  1. To freeze the dumplings, place the plate of uncooked shumai into the freezer. Once they harden, you can transfer them to a freezer bag. To cook the dumplings, place the frozen shumai on a bamboo steamer lined with parchment. You do not need to defrost them. Cook the shumai for 9 to 10 minutes. Refer to the post for more tips on freezing shumai.

Notes

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Amount per dumpling: Calories: 62, Total Fat 2.2g, Saturated Fat: 0.6g, Cholesterol: 21mg, Sodium: 196mg, Total Carbohydrate: 6.3g, Dietary Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 0.3g, Protein 4.5g

*I like adding water chestnuts for texture. You can find fresh water chestnuts at Asian supermarkets. Simply peel the outer skin with a paring knife, rinse, and chop the water chestnuts. If they are difficult to find, feel free to leave them out. I hate canned water chestnuts, so I wouldn’t bother using them for this recipe.

**For this recipe, I used 3 dried shiitake mushrooms that I soaked in water for an hour before chopping. Dried shiitake mushrooms have more intense flavor, which is why I tend to use them for my cooking.

You can usually fit about 15 shumai in a 10-inch steamer basket.

You can cook 2 racks of the shumai at a time. Because the top rack is further away from the boiling water, it may need an extra 30 seconds to 1 minute to cook.