Chinese Street Food

Siumai (Shaomai) Recipe

Shao Mai, or siu mai (steamed pork and prawn dumplings), were first served in a tea house along the Silk Road during the Ming dynasty. The pork and prawn filling sits in a little cup made of a thin wonton wrapper.



12 wonton wrappers

12 peas


100g pork loin,cut into small dice

175g raw peeled king prawns (shrimp), deveined and cut into small dice

1 spring onion(scallion), finely sliced

3 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, then finely sliced

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp water

pinch of ground white pepper

1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tsp potato starch


Siumai (Shaomai) Recipe

To make the filling,put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix together using your hand (wear disposable gloves if you don’t like touching raw meat or prawns); gather the mixture together and slam it down into the bowl untl it comes together (this breaks down the protein and softens it); do not put the mixture into a food processor as you do not want it too smooth. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave the filling in the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up.

Trim the corners of the wonton wrappers to make them round rather than square.

To make the dumplings, cup the fingers of your left hand and place a wonton wrapper in your cupped fingers. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the centre of the wrapper. Using your fingers, squeeze the filling into the pastry so it becomes a little cup.


Using a butter knife,gently flatten the filling, then place a pea in the centre. Place the dumplings in a greased bamboo steamer basket or on a greased heatproof plate.

To cook the dumplings, place a trivet or round cake rack in a wok and add boiling water so that it is just over a quarter full. Put the steamer basket or plate on top of the trivet, cover with a lid and steam the dumplings for 7-8 minutes. You can check that they are cooked by pressing a dumpling with your finger; it will feel firm to the touch. If the meat still looks raw then cook for a further minute or so. Serve immediately


Shao mai can be frozen raw and cooked from frozen. The steaming time will be approximately 25-30 minutes.

You can fill these with any filling you want, such as chicken, prawn, crab or beef.


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