Oh, yum cha… All the little tasty morsels of food going past the table, teapots which leak all over the place, wait staff yelling out their wares, ordering more than you can really eat because everything looks so good… you just can’t beat a good dim sum lunch.
I always feel like a yum cha meal isn’t complete without some of the classics, and for me, one of those is siu mai (or shumai). In NZ, when you get siu mai at a restaurant, it’s usually the Cantonese version which consists of pork, prawn meat and shittake mushrooms. My family know that when we go out, they have to order a plate because I always have to have my siu mai fix.
I haven’t made my own siu mai before, but figured it was time to have a go. I had a look online and bookmarked this recipe from the China Food Menu website. I didn’t really look at it properly until I started to pull the ingredients out of the fridge. Then I got annoyed.
If you look at the site, you will notice that the step by step photos DO NOT match the recipe. There are mushrooms and eggs in the pork mixture, but they are missing from the recipe. Also, the ingredients list states that you use round wonton wrappers, but the pictures show square ones being used to wrap the siu mai.
Needless to say, I ended up changing the recipe out of necessity. I think my version is pretty tasty, although it didn’t turn out as spongy as the ones you get at yum cha – this wasn’t a surprise as restaurants tend to use really fatty pork mince. I used thick wonton wrappers, but thin ones would work just as well. Also, for the garnish, I used only a tiny bit of carrot which was very finely chopped. You end up with most of the carrot left over, so if you’re not keen on snacking on carrots, you could easily miss it out – it really is just for the appearance of the dish and doesn’t add much in terms of flavour. There are plenty of videos on Youtube if you need more of an explanation for how to wrap these.
I’m keen to try out more dim sum recipes in the future… so watch this space!
Cantonese siu mai
40-50 round wonton wrappers (if you only have square, stack them up in small piles and use a round cookie cutter to press through)
400g pork mince
200g prawn meat, roughly chopped
handful of dried shittake mushrooms, reconstitued in hot water, tough stems removed and then finely chopped
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
finely chopped carrot to garnish
Mix together the pork mince, prawns, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, corn starch, sesame oil, salt and pepper in a bowl.
Spoon a heaped teaspoon into the centre of a wonton wrapper. Pinch/crumple up the sides of the wrapper to make a cup shape. Dip your finger in a small bowl of water and use it to stick down any wayward flaps and to smoothe the top of the siu mai. (This may take a few times to get right – just expect your first attempts to not be too attractive.) Repeat until you have used up all of the filling. Garnish the top of each siu mai with some of the chopped carrot.
Line 1-2 bamboo steamers with cooking paper and then place your siu mai on top – they can be close, but not touching as they will stick. Steam for 12-15 minutes until cooked through. Serve with chilli oil/sauce and soy sauce.