Sunday, 19 February 2017

Siew Mai (Chinese Steamed Dumpling) 蒸烧卖

My husband and I are Cantonese (yes...pure breed!). Typical of Cantonese, having dim sum at Chinese tea house or restaurant has always been a weekend favourite pastime. Since young, I have been in love with many dim sum dishes. If time permits, I would really like to attempt the dim sum menu one by one. This morning's Siew Mai (Chinese Steamed Dumpling) 蒸烧卖 recipe is very much identical to the Fresh Prawn & Pork Dumplings (鲜虾水饺) recipe that I did some time back, except for few minor differences.

Unlike the Fresh Prawn & Pork Dumplings (鲜虾水饺), I have not used soy sauce as I prefer the meat colour to remain lighter in tone when steamed. Also, because I did the seasonings before going to bed last night, I was fearful that the soy sauce might leave a slight tinge of 'sourness' in the meat as the seasoned ingredients would be chilled overnight. Of course, as its name suggests, Siew Mai (Chinese Steamed Dumpling) 蒸烧卖 needs only to be steamed for around 10 minutes before serve. This is more convenient as I do not have to make the soup. The other distinctive difference is that the steamed version has the meat exposed at the opening (top of the pastry) whereas the soup version has to be fully wrapped within the pastry.

Ingredients (enough to make 20 to 24 pcs of dumplings) :
  • 300 gm of minced pork 
  • 4 to 5 pcs of dry mushrooms (soak in water first)
  • 3 small pcs of black fungus 黑木耳 (soak in water first)
  • 4-5 pcs of water chestnuts (peeled)
  • 1/2 a carrot (peeled)
  • 8 pcs of mid to large sized prawns (cleaned, deveined and pre-marinated with a pinch of salt)(gives better texture compared to shrimps)
  • 25 pcs of round dumpling pastry/skin
  • 1 tbsp tobiko (flying fish roe)

Seasonings  :
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 tsp grounded white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ikan bilis or chicken stock powder
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp corn or potato starch 

(tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon) 

Method :
  1. Finely chop mushrooms, black fungus, carrots, water chestnuts. 
  2. Cut each piece of mid-to-large sized prawns into 3. Set aside.
  3. Fold in chopped mushrooms, black fungus, carrots, water chestnuts and minced pork into a large bowl.
  4. Add seasonings into the large bowl.
  5. Mix Ingredients and seasonings well with a pair of chopsticks in one direction (clockwise or anti-clockwise) till the meat and ingredients become sticky and gluey.
  6. Cover bowl with cling wrap and chill for few hours or overnight. 
  7. Get ready to fill the dumplings pastry. Spread flour or corn/potato starch onto tray so that the dumplings do not stick together. 
  8. Use a spoon to spread a portion of minced pork mix and a piece of prawn onto each piece of dumpling pastry. 
  9. Then pleat/pinch the edges of the pastry in a clockwise/anticlockwise direction such that it holds the ingredients and stands firmly in the tray.
  10. Boil water in a large pot or pan.
  11. Oil the steaming plate or line it with baking paper and arrange dumplings onto it. This would ensure that the pastry skin would not stick to the steaming plate when cooked.
  12. Send the  steaming plate with dumplings for steam when water reaches boiling point.
  13. Steam in medium-high heat for 10 minutes.
  14. Insert a bamboo skewer into the meat when time's up. If the skewer comes out clean, the dumplings are fully cooked.
  15. Remove from steamer/pot. Plate the dumplings and garnish with tobiko on top of each dumpling. And serve whilst hot.

Tip 1 : The key to springy (弹牙) meat texture is to ensure that we blend the ingredients with chopsticks in a single direction (clockwise or anticlockwise) till the meat and ingredients become sticky and gluey.

Tip 2 : If someone is allergic to prawns at home, do it without prawns!

Making my own Siew Mai (Chinese Steamed Dumpling) 蒸烧卖 is not difficult, but a labour of love for the family. I am happiest to see them enjoying my works. A sure booster for an energetic and enchanting weekend morning.


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