Monday, January 30, 2012

Siu Maaih Pork and Shrimp Dim Sum dumpling

Siu Maaih Pork and shrimp dumpling

There is no item that so epitomizes dim sum as this little morsel.  It will be served in every dim sum restaurant, no matter how humble the offerings.  Its name, Siu Maaih, which literally translated from Cantonese means "cook sell," might describe its humble beginnings as a street snack to go with tea, and therefore may have been dim sum's first dumpling.  Luckily for those of us who are willing to slave away in the kitchen making traditional Chinese delicacies, this one is relatively easy to produce.  One can make their own skins for siu maai, if one wants to destroy one's kitchen over the course of a very long day, but few cooks try it; the thin, factory made wrapper, available in every Chinese store, is inexpensive and foolproof.

2 small to medium shitake dried mushrooms
11 oz pork (picnic country rib boneless), minced (previously ground pork is acceptable)
6 oz shrimp, after shelling and deveining; 1/3 of this pureed or pounded, 2/3 should be chopped.
1 sm green onion, minced
1 Tab soy
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
dash white pepper
3 tablespoons water

1 pkg  "thin shao mai" wrapper (i.e., Seattle's Rose brand)

Reconstitute the dried mushroom by submerging in very hot water for 1 hour.  Press out water, cut out stems, mince and set aside.

Prepare all other ingredients and combine, including the minced mushroom.  Mix vigorously in one direction for 3 or 4 minutes to make a uniform, cohered filling. 

With wrapper on flat of your left palm, wet edge of skin.  Using a small spatula or wide knife, slather approx. 2 Tab filling on wrapper.  Begin to close the palm, wrinkling the edges of the wrapper.  Close gently, gathering the edges together for pleating.  Pinch the wide pleats to make them more uniform.  Pressing in a bit more filling flattens the pleats and firms up the dumpling.  Applying some pressure to the bottom flattens the Siu Maaih and rounds the top.  Add a garnish of green onion, carrot slivers or 3 peas and they are ready to steam.

The dumplings can be frozen; I suggest you freeze them, separated, on a parchment lined tray before putting in a freezer bag to prevent sticking.

Steam 7 minutes if dumplings are fresh, 12 minutes if frozen.

makes approx. 24 dumplings

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