If you're new to dumpling making then siu mai are a great one to start with. Super easy and fast to shape these will come together in no time at all. And today my mother shares her recipe for siu mais!
I will add one caveat with these. It's only for special occasions that she will make these with crab meat. Normally she just subs the quantity for crab with prawn meat and she may or may not use tobiko or flying fish roe on top. I know that she considers someone a real VIP if she uses crab meat (it's a complex Chinese social code ;) ).
The best example of the Chinese social code in action is perhaps at a Chinese wedding. I recently wrote about how my parents were seriously debating about to get to a wedding in the city as they didn't want to Uber or taxi in and how it become a huge deal to pay for parking. Well they finally got to the wedding (and how? A friend gave them a lift-an easy solution).
They were very impressed with the wedding because if there's one way to impress Chinese parents, it's with an expansive spread of food. "There were five suckling pigs," my mother said wide eyed, my father nodding his head in agreement next to her. "Do you want to see a picture?" he said and they showed me the pics of the suckling pigs on the table. The couple in question were apparently doing very well for themselves and they had to show the guests the best as that was what was expected of them. My mother reeled off a list of the courses-lobster, duck, abalone etc.
But as wealthy as this couple was, they also understood the love of Chinese takeaway. When the dinner was over and people had eaten more than enough of lavish food, they had containers and foil for everyone to take suckling pig home with them because another thing is, Chinese people hate waste! And my parents had proudly brought back some suckling pig that they served with dinner along with the siu mai!
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever taken anything home from a wedding? Do you like taking food home from dinner? Have you ever made siu mai?
My Mother's Sui Mai
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Makes around 30 siu mai
- 300g/10.6ozs. pork mince (good quality)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 300g/10.6ozs. prawns in shell, shelled and minced
- 100g/3.5ozs. crab meat, minced
- 40g/1.4ozs. water chestnuts, chopped
- 3 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water until soft, squeeze out water, remove stem and finely diced
- 3 sticks spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1.5 tablespoons cornflour/fine cornstarch
- 30 egg pastry wrappers (ideally round, if square, cut to be round)
- 50g/1.7ozs. tobiko
Step 1 - Place minced pork in bowl. Add in salt, sugar and soy sauce and mix until it becomes sticky. Then add the minced prawn, crab meat, spring onion, water chestnuts mushrooms, egg, sesame oil, oil and white pepper and mix well. Lastly add the cornflour and mix together until sticky, Place the mixture in the fridge for an hour to firm up.
Step 2 - Grease the base of a metal steamer (or line a bamboo steamer with parchment). Fill the wonton pastry with the filling (around a heaped teaspoon) and shape it with your hands pressing down on the top with the base of a teaspoon or the flat edge of a knife. Place onto the steamer. Steam on high heat for 10 minutes. When cooked, add the tobiko or flying fish roe on top.