Chewy wonton wrappers filled with a mixture of juicy pork, sweet shrimp, and smoky shiitake mushrooms. Shumai is a core dim sum dish; it’s an essential part of the experience. Amid the variety of dim sum dishes, which may intricate pastries and perfectly rounded buns, shumai distinguishes itself as one of the simplest to prepare. It’s a great choice for beginners, and what makes it even better is that you can freeze it for a convenient, meal option anytime. Put simply, you could have dim sum at home each and every day if you so desired!
What is shumai?
Shumai (shaomai or siumai) is one of the core dishes featured on a dim sum menu. These dumplings are made of a wonton wrapper filled with ground lean pork, pork lard, shrimp, and shiitake mushrooms. Some other variations of shumai dumplings may use additional ingredients such as garlic, scallions, carrots, water chestnuts, or peas. What sets shumai apart from traditional dumplings is its folding method, which leaves the filling exposed on top while creating ruffled edges on the sides. This technique creates a textural element.
What does shumai taste like?
Shumai is a dumpling with a savory and juicy filling. It features a subtle seafood taste from the shrimp, a delightful nutty scent from toasted sesame oil, and a hint of smokiness from shiitake mushrooms, all enclosed in a delicate, chewy wrapper.
Why This Works
My shumai recipe is made with a balance of smoky, nutty, sweet, and savory flavors. This recipe yields 20 dumplings, but it can be easily scaled up. Shumai is one of the most simple dim sum recipes to learn because it does not require much technique outside of cutting, mixing, and steaming. Learning how to cook it is highly beneficial because it can be frozen creating a convenient meal option that’s ready at any time. If you enjoy this recipe, you might also enjoy: Wonton Soup, Wontons with Spicy Chili Oil, and Chicken Dumplings.
Can shumai be stored?
Shumai can be assembled and frozen, providing a convenient and delicious frozen meal option that can be quickly reheated. I recommend freezing them immediately after assembling. Place them in an airtight container or a freezer-proof zip-lock bag. It’s crucial to take care to prevent freezer burn, which could negatively affect the taste of the dumplings.
How do I reheat frozen shumai?
To reheat frozen shumai, use the steaming method. Start off by filling a pot or pan with enough water to create steam. You will need a steamer basket with a lid for this. For easy removal and to prevent sticking, you can line the steamer basket with a piece of parchment paper. Place the frozen shumai in a single layer on the parchment paper. Be sure not to overcrowd them to ensure even heating. Turn on the heat to medium-high and allow the water to come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat slightly to maintain a steady steam, and steam the shumai for about 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F / 73°C.
What are the ingredients required for making shumai?
Shumai features a round wonton wrapper filled with a combination of ground lean pork, pork lard, shrimp, and shiitake mushrooms. To enhance its visual appeal, shumai is garnished with minced carrots resembling confetti, providing a vibrant burst of color.
What type of pork do I need for shumai?
I’m utilizing ground pork with an 80/20 lean pork to fat ratio. Alternatively, you can opt for pork shoulder (pork butt) and grind it yourself in a food processor until finely ground. In my experience, using pork chops and pork tenderloin results in a leaner filling that can potentially yield dumplings with less flavor and a drier texture. You can easily find pre-packaged ground pork at most grocery stores. In Chinese grocery stores, it’s common to find lean pork and pork lard separated. You can simply request them to combine the lean pork and fat for you.
What are wonton wrappers?
Wonton wrappers are made from a blend of wheat flour and water, resulting in a smooth dough that can be cut into either square or round shapes. For shumai, opt for round Hong Kong Style wonton wrappers, measuring 3.5 inches in diameter. These wrappers have a golden-yellow color and are renowned for their thinness. A single packet can contain as many as 60 wrappers.
How do I buy dumpling wrappers?
You can typically find them available for purchase at your local Chinese grocery store. When selecting dumpling or wonton wrappers, it’s best to opt for those stored in the refrigerated aisle. Sometimes, when purchasing from online delivery services, they may arrive frozen. Frozen wrappers tend to be more susceptible to cracking due to their higher water content, making the wrapping process a bit more challenging.
Here are my suggestions for selecting wrappers wisely. Unfortunately, not all grocery stores maintain the freshness of their stock, and I’ve encountered instances where purchased wrappers developed mold just a week later – a situation that shouldn’t occur. Additionally, wrappers may start to become excessively dry, causing them to crack around the edges when folded. While technically still usable, they tend to result in chewier dumplings.
To steer clear of these issues, I highly recommend purchasing dumpling wrappers and using them within 48 hours of purchase. When using them, remember to keep any remaining wrappers securely sealed in their original plastic packaging. This practice helps prevent them from drying out, ensuring your dumplings turn out just right. Be sure to check for any traces of black or green mold.
How do I make wonton wrappers?
While making your own wonton wrappers at home is an option, it’s not always the most efficient choice in terms of time and cost. Using all-purpose flour and water, you may find that the taste and color don’t quite match the store-bought ones. Achieving the perfect roundness and thinness of commercial wrappers can also prove to be a daunting task at home. Furthermore, ensuring the ideal level of firmness to prevent breakage and maintain their shape can be a real challenge. Therefore, for consistent and convenient results, opting for store-bought dumpling wrappers is often the preferred choice.
What type of shrimp do I need for shumai?
When you visit the grocery store, you will probably come across several types of shrimp on sale. The most commonly available type in my region is Black Tiger Shrimp, which usually comes in 16-20 pieces per pound, depending on the season. Personally, I prefer using White Shrimp (Pacific White Shrimp), which is slightly larger in size making up 8-12 pieces per pound. Black Tiger Shrimp has a mild, sweet flavor and a firm texture, making it a popular choice for grilling, sautéing, and stir-frying. Contrary to its name, White Shrimp has a gray and slightly green shell. They have a delicate, sweet flavor and tender texture. It is also a great choice for grilling, sautéing, and stir-frying.
Do I need to devein shrimp?
The dark line that runs along the back of the prawn is actually a digestive tract and not a vein. Some people believe that leaving this intact enhances the shrimp’s flavor, but this is untrue. Removing the digestive tract does not negatively affect the flavor. It is a hygienic practice that ensures that the shrimp are safe to eat. Luckily, most store-bought ones now comes deveined saving you time.
How do I devein shrimp?
As a child, I often helped my grandmother with meal prep. Whenever she cooked prawns, she would take great care to peel and devein each one by hand. To properly devein it, you should ensure that the prawns are fully defrosted if previously frozen. After defrosting, gently peel off the shell, starting from the head and legs, which should come off easily.
Next, use a sharp knife to make a shallow incision down the spine of the shrimp. This will expose the black digestive tract. It’s crucial to make the cut shallow to avoid damaging the meat. After making the incision, gently grasp the digestive tract using a dry paper towel and pull it out. This method is cleaner and more efficient than using your fingers. By following these steps, you can ensure that your prawns are clean and ready to be used in your favorite recipes.
What are shiitake mushrooms?
Growing up, the presence of shiitake mushrooms in my family’s kitchen was a normal occurrence. I remember my grandmother consistently rehydrating dried shiitake mushrooms by soaking them in water. I always found it fascinating to watch them plump up again.
The scent of shiitake mushrooms is one of my absolute favorites, second only to the aroma of pure sesame oil. Shiitake mushrooms come sun-dried or fresh. What makes dried shiitake particularly appealing is their sun-dried technique, which imparts a more intense flavor compared to their fresh variety. You can find dried shiitake mushrooms at Chinese or Japanese grocery stores.
What is pure sesame oil?
Pure sesame oil (roasted sesame oil) is made from pressing roasted sesame seeds. The seeds are toasted before being pressed to create the oil, giving it a deeper and more intense flavor than regular sesame oil. It has a lower smoke point than regular sesame oil making it more appropriate to use as a finishing oil. In other words, it should not be used for deep-frying. However, one notable exception is the use of toasted sesame oil in Taiwanese 3 Cup Chicken (Taiwanese Basil Chicken).
What is shaoxing cooking wine?
Shaoxing wine (Shao-hsing, Shaohsing wine) is a type of Chinese rice wine that is made by fermenting glutinous rice, water, and wheat. It contains a very small percentage of alcohol that evaporates when exposed to heat, so its primary function is to add flavor. The taste and aroma of Shaoxing wine are similar to that of sherry. I find it to be a great ingredient to use with chicken or pork, as it helps to purify any unpleasant flavors of the protein while also adding a fragrant aroma to the dish.
What is white pepper powder?
White pepper is derived from the same plant as black pepper, but is harvested at a different stage and has a white or gray appearance. It is often used in Chinese, Vietnamese, and French cuisine, and can be purchased finely ground into a powder or whole. White pepper has a milder and less complex flavor compared to black pepper, with a slightly earthy and musty taste. It is commonly used as a seasoning in dishes such as soups, stews, and marinades. Unlike black pepper, white pepper does not visibly speckle the food, making it a good choice for dishes that require a smooth appearance.
Chinese white pepper powder is widely available in Asian grocery stores and can also be purchased online. It is important to note that white pepper should be used sparingly, as its flavor can easily overpower other ingredients if used in excess.
What is parchment paper and what can I substitute it with?
Parchment paper is most often used in baking. Parchment paper has non-stick properties making it a perfect option for steaming food with. Using it is crucial, especially when steaming sticky foods like dumplings or buns, as it effectively prevents the food from adhering to the equipment and potentially breaking apart.
You’ll find parchment paper in various varieties, and while some may come pre-cut. Anyone can easily make it fit in their steamers by cutting a whole sheet with scissors. If you don’t have parchment paper, don’t sweat it! (let the shumai do the sweating) because can also use Napa cabbage leaves or banana leaves.
What type of steamer do I need?
There are several types of steamers that can be used to cook steamed dumplings. Here are my recommendations from most recommended to least:
- Steamer Inserts: These fit into most pots and pans, making them a versatile choice for steaming various dishes. They are easy to use and maintain.
- Bamboo Steamer: If you have ever dined at a dim sum restaurant, you have most likely seen this before. It is an affordable choice in Chinese cuisine. It is made with bamboo trays with a lid on top that can be layered and stacked with more trays. The steam rises from the boiling water in the bottom pot and cooks the food placed in the trays with high heat. These steamers are the most efficient as they excel in trapping the majority of the steam, allowing minimal escape.
- Metal Steamer Insert: A metal steamer insert is a kitchen tool made of stainless steel, designed to fit inside a pot, pan, or rice cooker. It’s used for steaming food, like vegetables. The insert has small holes to allow steam through, can be used for various foods, and is easy to clean.
- Tiered Metal Steamer Pot: Similar to bamboo steamers, metal tiered steamers consist of stacked metal trays with a lid. They work in the same way as bamboo steamers but offer the advantage of being more durable and easier to clean.Tiered metal steamer pots, while not space-saving due to their bulkiness, are exceptionally durable and can last a lifetime.
- Improvised Steamer: If you don’t have a dedicated steamer, you can create an improvised steamer using a large pot with a tight-fitting lid and a heatproof wire rack or a few heatproof bowls. Place a small amount of water in the pot, set the heatproof rack or dishes above the water level, and cover the pot with the lid.
- Limited space: The improvised steamer setup may have limited space, making it challenging to steam larger quantities of food at once.
- Inconsistent results: Without precise control over the steaming process, you may experience inconsistency in the texture and doneness of your food.
- Limited capacity: The size of the steamer insert may limit the quantity of food you can steam at once, especially for larger gatherings or meals.
Pork and Shrimp Dumplings (Shumai)
- 0.6 lbs 80/20 ground pork
- 0.4 lbs shrimp peeled, deveined
- 1/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms or 1/2 cup fresh
- 1 tbsp shaoxing cooking wine
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp pure sesame oil
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp chicken bouillon powder
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp white pepper powder
- 1 package Hong Kong style wonton wrappers
- 1 3 inch piece of carrot peeled
- Prep | Place the dried shiitake mushrooms in a cup of water and let them soak for 20 mins until plump. Squeeze out any excess water. Julienne into thin slices then finely mince. Cut the carrot lengthwise into thin slices. Stack the slices and then cut them crosswise into thin strips. Finally, finely slice the strips into confetti-like pieces.
- Filling | Place the shrimp on a cutting board. Use two knives and chop the shrimp until it is finely ground. In a bowl, combine the ground pork, ground shrimp, minced shiitake mushrooms, shaoxing cooking wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch, chicken bouillon powder, sugar, and white pepper powder.
- Shape | Place a wonton wrapper flat in your non-dominant hand, forming a cup. Add two tablespoons of the filling to the center. With the wrapper in your hand, create a C shape around the middle and gently squeeze, forming wrinkles. Rotate the dumpling using your other hand, ensuring even pleating. Flatten the filling on top. Garnish with a sprinkle of minced carrots in the center for a pop of color. Repeat for the remaining ingredients.
- Cook | Add the shumai into a steamer basket lined with parchment paper and an adequate amount of water. Bring the water to a boil and steam for 10 minutes with the lid tightly covered. Serve hot!If you've tried this recipe, please let me know what you think in the comments below! Your feedback is greatly appreciated and it helps me improve my recipes for future cooking adventures. And if you enjoyed it, don't forget to give it a thumbs up or share it with your friends! You can help my channel by tagging @vocabularyoffood in your cooks. ۶(◠ 。◠)۶