Last week we welcomed our newest addition, Chase Evan Fluhr to the All-American Chinese family! Life has been busy but Grandma Lucy has been here helping with the kids and cooking! She prepared one of our all time favorite dim sum dishes, steamed open faced dumplings otherwise known as Shao Mai. Shao Mai are typically served in Cantonese style Chinese restaurants, but are also easy enough to prepare at home and wow a crowd.
½ package wonton wrappers (Found in the produce section of most supermarkets)
4 to 6 cups water (Depending on the size of the steamer pot)
Cabbage or lettuce leaves for steaming
Preparation for the Filling:
½ pound lean ground pork
½ pound medium size raw shrimp, peeled, deveined
4 medium size shiitake dried black mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes or longer until soft
½ can sliced water chestnuts (2.5 oz. drained)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
1 tablespoon rice wine or cooking sherry wine
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil
Chop the shrimp into very small pieces with a heavy knife. Drain the mushroom water, remove the stems if any and finely chop. Finely chop the water chestnuts. In a bowl, combine the ground pork with chopped shrimp, mushrooms, water chestnuts, cornstarch, soy sauce, rice wine, salt, sugar and sesame oil. Mix together thoroughly.
Using kitchen shears, trim the four corners of a few wrappers at a time into 3 ¼ inch rounds. Place a round wonton wrapper onto the palm of your hand. Place 1 full tablespoon of filling in center of wrapper. With your other hand, gather the sides of the dough around the filling, letting the dough pleat naturally. Squeeze the middle gently to make sure the dough fits firmly against the filling and tap the dumpling’s bottom to flatten so it can stand upright.
When all the Shao Mai are made, place them on the rack in the steamer (for the best results, place green lettuce leaves or cabbage leaves on the rack as a bed for the Shao Mai. It makes for easy removal of the Shao Mai from the rack when done). Be sure to leave ½ to 1 inch spaces in between each Shao Mai. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, cover the steamer and steam the Shao Mai for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve warm.
If the pot is not big enough to steam all at once, you can steam half of the Shao Mai at a time.
Sauce for Dipping:
In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tablespoons white vinegar and 1 teaspoon red hot chili oil together for dipping the Shao Mai.
Makes 26 Shao Mai
Preparation time: 30 to 40 minutes (depends how fast you can assembling the Shao Mai)
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Tip: You can make the Shao Mai ahead of time and freeze. Steam for an extra 2 to 3 minutes more when steaming the frozen Shao Mai.