Steamed Pork and Shrimp Siu Mai Dumplings

Siu Mai dumplings are pork and shrimp bites enclosed in a wonton, and usually served in a bamboo basket. These open-wrapped parcels of deliciousness are a ‘dim sum’ favorite and very healthy too as they are steamed. (Dim sum is a real Chinese tradition that originated in the Canton (Guandong) province of China. Teahouses opened up to provide travelers on the Silk Road with teas and snacks served in bamboo baskets, giving them their ‘yum-cha’ break.) I first tried dim sum in Hong Kong when I was about 13. My father took my brother and me on a trip to visit my aunt. I remember being woken very early on a Sunday morning (suffering horrendously from jetlag) and taken to a bright colorful restaurant in Kowloon Bay. We must have arrived at 8 a.m. because, my aunt explained, we had to get there early to avoid the lines. The timing was perfect: soon after we arrived crowds of Hong Kong residents gathered. We proceeded to eat our way through plates and baskets full of delicacies wheeled to our table on carts. Being Taiwanese, I couldn’t understand the waiters as they spoke only Cantonese but my aunt was very well versed and had everything under control. What a joyous breakfast and lunch it was – we didn’t leave until noon! Whenever I make this recipe, it takes me back to Hong Kong.

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Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the Filling

  • 7 oz ground pork
  • 7 oz fresh raw shrimp, shelled, deveined and finely chopped
  • 1 large spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • pinch of salt and ground black pepper
  • 16 wonton wrappers (available in Chinese supermarkets)

For the Vinegar Soy Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (Chinese black rice vinegar is best)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon chilies, seeded and finely chopped

Method

  1. Put all the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. Take 2 teaspoons of the filling and place it in the center of a wonton wrapper. Gather up the sides of the wrapper and mold around the filling in a ball shape, leaving the center open. Make all the dumplings in this way.
  3. Oil the bottom of a bamboo steamer. Fill a wok or pan with boiling water to a depth that will not submerge the base of the steamer. Place the steamer in the wok and steam for about 6–8 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make the dressing by mixing together all the ingredients.
  5. When the dumplings are cooked, serve with the dressing, or you could dip them in sweet chili dipping sauce.