Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Shrimp and Ginger Siu Mai Dumplings

I visited Hong Kong in 2003 and it undoubtedly has the best dim sum in the world. Dim sum was invented as a bite-sized snack for emperors during China’s Sung dynasty (960-1279). As a whole, dim sum involves wrapping morsels of meat and vegetables in tiny circles – or squares – of dough that are then steamed, fried or baked.

At first glance shumai or siu mai looks intimidating to make, but it’s really not. This is such a simple recipe packed with a ton of flavor.

Shrimp and Ginger Siu Mai Dumplings

For the Shrimp Filling:
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
½ pound ground pork
1 green onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons cornstarch
½ lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, plus some for dipping
1 tablespoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Wrappers:
1 (10-ounce) package round wonton wrappers
Canola oil, for brushing the steamer

Special equipment: wok, bamboo steamer

To make the shrimp filling:
Pulse all the ingredients in a food processor until partly smooth but not completely pureed. It should have a little texture. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble dumplings:
Hold a wonton wrapper in your hand. Dip a spoon in cold water and then drop 1 tablespoon of the filling onto the center of a wrapper (dipping the spoon in cold water first will make the filling come off easier). Gather the edges of the wrapper up around the filling and squeeze the sides slightly with your fingers. The sides will naturally pleat, leaving the filling slightly exposed. Tap the dumpling on the table so the bottom is flat and it stands upright. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. (You can freeze the leftover filling for 2 or 3 weeks.)

Lightly oil the bottom of a 10-inch bamboo steamer. Stand the dumplings in the steamer in a single layer and don't let them touch. You should be able to get 12 siu mai in the steamer at a time. Bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a pot. Set the bamboo steamer over the pot, then cover it with the bamboo lid. Steam for 10 to 12 minutes or until the filling feels firm and is cooked through.

Serve with soy sauce or hot mustard.

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