Shanghai Sticky Rice Siu Mai

Photo by avlxyz/flickr
Photo by avlxyz/flickr

You don't have to travel to Shanghai to discover how different their siu mai is from the classic Cantonese version. It is not surprising that the regional cuisines of China have similar items that are made from different ingredients. This is one such item. Shanghai siu mai is made with sticky rice, or glutinous rice, while the Catonese version is made with ground meat. This version is from the Shanghai Cuisine Bar and Restaurant in New York City's Chinatown. You can freeze the dumplings before steaming for up to one month.

Makes about 60 dumplings.

Ingredients

4 to 6 dried black mushrooms

For the Seasonings
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster-flavored sauce
2 teaspoons dark sou sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar

For the Filling

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 pound ground pork
1/4 cup finely chopped smoked ham
2 cups cooked glutinous rice, at room temp
1/4 cup finely chopped bamboo shoots
1/4 cup finely chopped water chestnuts
1 green onion, trimmed and finely chopped
One 16oz package sin mai wrappers
1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
Cabbage leaves (optional)

Directions

1. Pour enough warm water over the mushrooms in a medium bowl to cover them completely. Soak until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain the mushrooms. Discard the stems and finely chop the caps.

2.Prepare the seasonings: Stir the soy sauce, oyster-flavored sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar together in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved.

3. Make the fillings: Heat a wok over high near until hot. Add the oil and swirl to coat the sides. Add the ground prok and ham and stir-fry until the pork is crumbly and cooked through, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, rice, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, green onion, and seasonings. Cook, stirring, until heated through about 1 minute. Remove the filling from the wok and let cool.

4. Make the dumplings: Place 1 tablespoon of the rice mixture in the center of a wrapper. (Keep the remaining wrappers covered with a damp towel to prevent them from drying out). Gather up the wrapper around the filling, pleating it as you go to form an open pouch. Carefully squeeze the sides of the dumpling about halfway up to give the dumpling a "waist," and center a pea on top of the filling. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, keeping the formed dumplings covered with a damp kitchen cloth.

5. Prepare the wok for steaming. Line a bamboo steamer with cabbage leaves or parchment paper. Place as many dumplings in the steamer as will fit without touching one another. Cover and steam the dumplings until the wrappers are cooked and tender to the touch, 3 or 4 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dumplings. Serve with classic dim sum accoutrements like hot mustard, chili paste, and soy sauce.

Recipe excerpted from Martin Yan's Chinatown Cooking: 200 Traditional Recipes from 11 Chinatowns Around the World (HarperCollins, 2002).