02 Feb2013

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I had never made siomai or shu mai before this attempt, simply ordered it at reputable Chinese restaurants with dimsum offerings. Over the past 45 years, I, and later Mrs. MM and I, have eaten siomai in several places in Chinatown, New York (where at one point it was said some of the best Chinese food was to be had since China wasn’t so open to the West) to tons of places in San Francisco, Hong Kong, Singapore, Jakarta, Manila, and anywhere else we chanced upon to visit that had large local Chinese communities. I have no idea what constitutes the most original siomai, but here are my personal thoughts on what I seek out. I like shu mai with a good balance of wrapper and filling. I like the wrapper to be thinnish, soft and moist, and the shu mai served straight out of the steamer, not overcooked. The meat/shrimp is flavorful on its own, but better with the requisite chili dipping sauce. I understand the desire to have it in a “one-bite” size, as picking them up with chopsticks, dipping them in chili oil and popping them into one’s mouth is so fast and convenient. And finally, I have always enjoyed them with other dim sum dishes, not as a viand with rice.

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I couldn’t find BettyQ’s posted recipe for shu mai (it’s in a 29 November 2008 post, comments section, thanks ECC for subsequently pointing that out!) yesterday, so I hadn’t consulted it. But I did recall that another reader from Cebu, Wahini, said her mom used some chinese sausage to garnish their shu mai, and I made use of that idea. Here is what I did for the maiden and extremely successful attempt at siomai. Into a large stainless bowl I added 1 kilo of coarsely ground pork, not overly lean pork, perhaps 20% fat content. Had I planned to make this earlier, I would have purchased some pork and minced it with a cleaver by hand… which I am certain provides a nicer overall finished texture. To this I added a handful of rehydrated and finely chopped dried chinese mushrooms, a handful of minced water chestnuts, two handfuls of minced carrots, some minced shallots, minced green onions, minced chinese sausage, several tablespoons of light soy sauce, a tablespoon or two of sesame oil, a couple of tablespoons of shaoxing rice wine, salt and pepper to taste. I used plastic gloves to mix this well by hand and mashed it and threw it against the bowl until well combined. I understand the smashing does something to the proteins in the meat that enhances the texture and flavor. I didn’t have any shrimp in the house or I would definitely have added several handfuls of that. Finally, I added an egg and several tablespoons of cornstarch and mixed that up well. Let this mixture rest in the fridge for at least an hour or two for the flavors to meld…

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Place the meat mixture into a disposable plastic piping bag or a recycled large ziplock bag and cut off one corner. Squeeze the filling onto the circular wrappers (buy the most expensive ones in the grocery, at say PHP1 each) and pleat the wrappers around the filling. I wet the edges of the wrapper with water to help them stick together. My pleating left something to be desired, but if you are curious, there are several sites on the net that show you how to pleat your shu mais better than these ones…

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I thought our shu mai’s were rather modest sized, but once cooked, they were definitely bigger than a single bite. I am of two minds on this… I like the smaller ones for ease of eating, but the bigger ones seem to stay more moist and flavorful and have a good balance of wrapper to filling. Do what pleases you, I suppose. Oh, and I added a piece of chinese sausage to the top of each siomai, for a bit of color and flavor.

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Bamboo steamers have to be more authentic than aluminium ones, but use the latter if that’s all you’ve got. Bamboo absorbs some of the moisture and steam and a bit more escapes as well, so I think the shu mai ends up less soggy or waterlogged from the condensed water dripping off of the cover of the steamer. I also added some greaseproof paper to the bottom of the steamer to prevent the siomai from sticking. If you are wondering about the rather uniform holes, I used an office puncher to make them. :)

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The mixture yielded 57 pieces of shu mai. Total cost, roughly PHP350 for the pork, wrappers, sausages, mushrooms, etc. That works out to PHP6.14 per piece, with no labor, gas, rent, VAT and other taxes, utilities, depreciation of equipment, packing or sauce/condiments imputed. You would have to sell these for some PHP18-20 per piece to make money in a commercial setting! So how some street vendors sell their versions for PHP5 is WELL AND TRULY BEYOND ME. Even if their soimai are smaller, and you eliminate all the other fancy ingredients, these have to cost a good PHP3.50-4.00 per piece just for the food raw materials! What about labor, packaging, sauces, kalamansi, etc.? Hmmm…. Let’s just say cheaper is NOT necessarily a sign of it being better.

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I used a larger bamboo steamer to cook the shu mai right side up (two photos up above), and as an experiment, I cooked some shu mai upside down in a smaller bamboo steamer.

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The steamers went into a wok with boiling water that steamed the shu mai. Roughly 18-20 minutes was just about right for the size that I made. Take care not to overcook, and plan these so that they go straight to the table and waiting diners when they are done.

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They turned out pretty darn good looking, if you ask me. :) They were moist, soft and glistening with moisture and fat. This batch was cooked facing up, and they looked gorgeous. They tasted very good as well. Perhaps lacking a touch of salt, but that was easily remedied with a dipping sauce of chili oil, soy sauce and kalamansi.

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These ones were cooked upside down, and you can tell by the flatter top.

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Photographed side by side, the one on the left is cooked upside down, notice where the fat or oils are on the wrapper… while the shu mai on the right are cooked right side up, and the oils pooled at the bottom of the shu mai. Mrs. MM and I both agreed that we preferred the shu mai cooked right side up, as it was more flavorful, probably due to the increased oil/fat in each piece. The ones cooked upside down were good as well, but just not as good as the ones cooked right side up.

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An essential part of the pinoy siomai experience is to dip it into some chili oil or a mixture of chili oil, soy sauce and for many Filipinos, freshly squeezed kalamansi juice.

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This first attempt was a huge hit, perhaps an 8.5/10.0 and we and the crew wiped out all of the siomai! Some notes on making them better the next time around… I might try a slightly smaller wrapper, and a touch less filling, for a truly one-bite sized morsel. Several recipes I have read suggest adding a touch of sugar to the mixture, so if you want to, add a teaspoon or two of sugar. I don’t use MSG, but I can see how others who do might add a pinch or two. With good base ingredients and careful salting, I see no need for flavor enhancers. Some folks also like to garnish with a single green pea, which I personally find just a bit odd and out of place, but I am not a siomai expert by any means. Bettyq’s secret ingredient is a bit of five spice powder, which would make the shu mai quite fragrant, and clearly Chinese… perhaps as it should be. Some folks use only egg whites as a binder, not whole eggs. So the bottom line is, was this worth the effort to make at home? The answer is a definite YES. It’s quite easy to do, and you could whip up say a double batch in less than 1-1.5 hours total work time. Cook whatever you need and freeze the rest for another day or two. Now, as for commercially sold siomai that are less than PHP10 a piece, I would really have to marvel how they do that if they are using decent to good ingredients to begin with… Sometimes, if it seems too good to be true, it IS TOO GOOD to be true. :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. ECC says:

    Awww … I get a special mention. You are most welcome, MM. This is only because, when I copy and paste recipes to Word, I make sure to link it to the source webpage.

    Feb 2, 2013 | 11:25 am

     
  2. Natie says:

    Hurray!!! Success! I’ll try this again….those pictures are fab, MM. Burp..

    Feb 2, 2013 | 11:28 am

     
  3. Carmela C. says:

    Looks yummy! Are the dried mushrooms and minced water chestnuts easily available in grocery stores or do I have to go to specialty ones? Thanks! =)

    Feb 2, 2013 | 11:54 am

     
  4. betty q. says:

    Now…here on my side of the pond, let me share where I buy the thin yellow wonton wrapper used by most of the Chinese dim sum places here. On the north side of East Pender in Chinatown between Main st. nd Gore is a store called Kam Wai…they have In store frozen and cooked dim sum. The wrapper is not in the showcase. You have to ask for it…just say I would like to buy 1pound or 2 of yellow wonton wrapper. Then they will go downstairs nd get them for you…sorry, don’t have a password! This is the same yellow wonton wrapper I use for siu Mai and my prawn wontons. There are days they might have used them up so best to call ahead.

    Since I am malayo sa kabihasnan, I buy 5 pounds at a time, portion them, vacuum pack and freeze.

    Feb 2, 2013 | 12:13 pm

     
  5. Life says:

    Will definitely give this recipe a try! Made some siomai before and it was so dry coz i used lean meat haha. Fat is good.
    Anyway i have been searching for a good chili sauce recipe as well MM. Did you make that chili sauce too?

    Feb 2, 2013 | 3:39 pm

     
  6. PITS, MANILA says:

    they look so gooood! better than what we usually buy …

    Feb 2, 2013 | 4:39 pm

     
  7. Pamela says:

    this recipe by David Lebovitz is what i use for siu mai

    http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2006/01/my-sui-mai/

    i use less of the sesame oil and salt. i like how the ginger and cilantro add dimensions of taste to the siu mai

    Feb 2, 2013 | 4:45 pm

     
  8. pixienixie says:

    The recipe’s here at last! WIll definitely, definitely try this next weekend! Thanks MM!

    On another note, in the sentence beginning with “I used plastic gloves…” it’s “to”, not “too”. :)

    Have a great Sunday!

    Feb 2, 2013 | 5:12 pm

     
  9. Dragon says:

    MM, regarding your comment on costing: what cut of pork did you use and where did you buy it? You would have higher costing because you are using premium ingredients (especially with the addition of Chinese sausage). Hole in the walls would use the cheapest (always), hardly quality ingredients.

    Feb 2, 2013 | 5:46 pm

     
  10. Rochelle says:

    Thanks MM! will try and copy your recipe, will put some shrimp in mine. I love the idea of Chinese Sausage :)

    Feb 2, 2013 | 5:52 pm

     
  11. Marketman says:

    Dragon, the cheapest cut of pork, chopped or ground at Cebu’s markets will run you roughly PHP150-170 per kilo, even with significant amounts of backfat thrown in. Add that to say PHP40-50 for the wrappers, then their seasonings, all to yield say 45 pieces or so (without the addition of all my other ingredients that increases number of pieces), and you would have a total cost of roughly PHP230-250 per batch or PHP5.11+ plus per piece. That doesn’t include labor, gas, rent, packaging, sauces, kalamansi, etc. So even if they managed to buy pork for PHP30 less, that still wouldn’t give them a decent profit margin. So it does make one truly wonder how they do it. Trust me, I deal in pork… and buy thousands of kilos of live and dressed pork a month and cost dishes often… :)

    Pigs delivered alive cost PHP110-120 a kilo for backyard raised (maybe 10-20% less for piggery raised ones), and once killed, gutted, cleaned, etc. will cost roughly PHP150-200 for the meat (not counting head, other large bones, etc. When you cook pigs, as in lechon, you will lose close to 40-50% of the purchased weight, and hence good lechons with good stuffing ingredients and payment of taxes runs roughly PHP350+ a kilo without staff costs, rental, landlord commissions on sales, packaging, utilities, transport, etc. So that we sell lechon for PHP 530 in the restaurants (PHP550 at airport) these days is a REAL bargain if you ask me. :) Lechons sold in grocery stalls in Manila runs PHP700-750 these days…

    If you buy french fries or say a hotdog at most grocery stalls, their mark-up is at least 3x the cost of the ingredients, and most restaurants who want to survive need to do a similar exercise. At most, ingredients cost is perhaps 45%-50%, but at most successful fastfood and medium quality restos, I suspect it is closer to 30%…

    pixienixie, thanks, edited.

    Feb 2, 2013 | 6:27 pm

     
  12. trax says:

    Nice one, MM. I have tried doing siomai but I ended up with funny looking ones. Being lazy, I just grated the carrots and water chestnuts. Another thing I learned here is that I should have used the round wrappers. How about trying gyosa next?

    Feb 2, 2013 | 7:50 pm

     
  13. Connie C says:

    You really wonder what additives are in what we buy…..hopefully not bits of cardboard extenders as used in China. Recently in the UK , pork and horse DNA were found in what are supposed to be beef burgers from a Polish purveyor.

    I wouldn’t mind gigantic posteriors from Footloose’s enterprising poultryman’s turkstritches anytime as long as there is full disclosure.

    What unethical and criminal businesses will do for profit!!!

    Feb 2, 2013 | 9:32 pm

     
  14. enna says:

    Thanks for the info of the price of the meat, MM. I noticed that sometimes we get cheaper meat here in Norway whenever it is bargain time.

    Feb 2, 2013 | 9:40 pm

     
  15. Connie C says:

    MM: what an “OCD” you are! The holes in your grease paper are almost perfectly spaced from each other and artfully done too!

    Feb 2, 2013 | 9:41 pm

     
  16. Footloose says:

    Observed the striking similarity of the fillings for lumpia Shanghai, ngohiong, quequiam, and now shaomai, the break in uniformity provided only by a different wrapper and cooking method? This is the same reason why eating for a novice at a Chinese restaurants can be daunting and frustrating at the same time. Particularly so when you don’t have any Chinese background and hapless you happen to be thrown at the mercy of sullen, overworked and underpaid wait staff (who oftentimes do not speak your language either).

    Re hot oil. If the suspiciously low price makes you ever skeptical of what’s in it, make your own. This is true about prepared food in general and any food with ground meat like the Tisa shaomai and Taco Bell in particular. Use a good neutral tasting oil of your choice and fresh or dried chili. I make mine with finely processed (right before it becomes a paste) ginger and green onions. Sometimes I add dried chili and Szechuan pepper and maybe add some chopped cilantro as a last minute garnish.

    Feb 2, 2013 | 10:06 pm

     
  17. Footloose says:

    @ConnieC Construction material in food is not all that new. They used gypsum to whiten bread in eighteenth century England. The Germans extended their short supply of rye flour with sawdust to make Ersatzbrot in WWII. Finally, I would have a fundamental problem with fully disclosed poultry posteriors.

    Feb 2, 2013 | 10:21 pm

     
  18. Connie C says:

    Footloose: You are something else!:):)

    Feb 2, 2013 | 11:20 pm

     
  19. MlleD says:

    I wonder if your recipe will hold together if, instead of using wonton wrappers, you roll them in glutinous rice and steam?

    Feb 3, 2013 | 12:27 am

     
  20. betty q. says:

    FOr chili oil…I like a bit of body or substance in my chili oil besides the chili, garlic and shallots, .so I add finely minced practically puréed dried shrimp.

    Feb 3, 2013 | 1:00 am

     
  21. Natie says:

    like XO, BettyQ…..

    Feb 3, 2013 | 1:22 am

     
  22. betty q. says:

    …pressed the submit button too fast. f I may add for those wishing to try other dipping sauces besides those already mentioned…in our household, different dips for different folks! Go to tan Asian store, Gng. EBba…buy a jar of chili bean sauce. I use Yuet Heung Yuen brand…not related to them or worked for them! Mix equal amounts of chili bean sauce and finely minced scallions…then heat to smoking twice the amount of peanut oil with a touch of sesame oil. Then when smoking, add it to the chili bean sauce mixture. Let it sit for a few minutes. No need to add more chilis unless you want it fiery hot!

    Another is less hot than th usual chili oil you find in Restos…this is the dip for my Caucasian kapitbahays…in a deep ceramic bowl, add 2 swirls of light soy, 1 swirl of dark soy, 1 finely minced red Serrano pepper, seeds and vein removed, 1 green onion, finely chopped, about 1/2 cup peanut oil heated till smoking and poured over the stuff in the bowl. let it cool. f I use as a dip for halabos na hipon, I add a touch of sesame oil

    Feb 3, 2013 | 1:25 am

     
  23. Papa Ethan says:

    Please pardon my ignorance, but what exactly are “chinese mushrooms”?

    Feb 3, 2013 | 1:35 am

     
  24. betty q. says:

    Ok…Footloose, Lee…am so anxiously awaiting your response to Papa Ethan’s query! yeah….why is it called Chinese mushrooms. …why not Japanese?…ok…google time!

    Feb 3, 2013 | 2:37 am

     
  25. Footloose says:

    Here complying, Chinese mushrooms as used in this shaomai recipe is dried black mushrooms you can get in all asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.) food markets. They are soaked in water first to soften and the hard stems discarded before being sliced and used. It imparts a rich savory umami sort of flavor to dishes which the majority of Chinese must value since they also have mushroom flavored soy sauce. If you can get them fresh like we can here in Toronto, it is identical to the unfortunately named (if you understand Ilokano) Japanese shiitake.

    Feb 3, 2013 | 3:40 am

     
  26. karr says:

    mm, most commercial siomai vendors use tvp or textured vegetable protein as meat extender so they are able to sell it that low. The lower the price, the higher tvp ratio over real meat.

    Feb 3, 2013 | 3:41 am

     
  27. EbbaBlue says:

    Yesterday at work (hahhaah, bulakbol), I downloaded about half dozen recipes, and when I read it, naguluhan lang ako, ayyy naku, mabuti na lang you’ve posted this recipe. And I scrolled down right away what Ms. BettyQ will say. And thanks.. for the tip for the sauce.. Ngayon naman, my assignment will be to go into each chinese store here that might sell the wonton wrapper, sus, sa dami ng mga lil stores dito hopefully one would sell me some. I know they have it, its a matter of the “codeword” or magpasama ako sa isa sa mga vietnamese friend ko, hahahaha. Kung hindi, baka mapilitan akong gumawa ng sarili kong wrapper.. magawa ko naman kaya.

    I will want to make my own fried chili sauce too.

    Feb 3, 2013 | 4:42 am

     
  28. betty q. says:

    Footloose! I was expecting something like your Jupiter response!

    Anyway, my Ate there can relate to people who make food and sell them to office people for mind boggling “very low tubo”. i know for a fact that she will not sacrifice the quality of her food just to make a huge profit plus her prices have to be very competitive. Her profit margin is really thin…she believes in volume like my produce suki here who just makes $1 profit from me when I buy a case of 40 pound mangoes. Besides one has to really like what they do and give it their all though their tubo is very marginal. Everyone is looking for good food at bargain prices ESP.if you are earning minimum wage and have to feed a family! That is why my nephews in the East Coast decided to sell on line for next to nothing prices their granola and granola kits I formulated for them. Just like their auntie, they believe in volume.

    So, the sio Mai ladies most likely would rather sell volume making small profit but no leftovers rather than a huge profit for their product but one that does not sell!

    On the other hand, if you have a product that no one else has and you can claim being the only vendor of such a product and people want your product then you can sell them at rooftop prices! I am looking at the moment an ad on TV for pajama jeans…they claim to be so comfortable you would want to sleep in them…cost maybe with tax…over $50!

    Feb 3, 2013 | 4:49 am

     
  29. AM says:

    MM, you can also use napa cabbage on the bottom of the steamer to prevent the siomai from sticking.

    Feb 3, 2013 | 5:43 am

     
  30. betty q. says:

    Another option is to line your bamboo steamer with damp cacha….very cost effective…the cacha soaks up any water droplets so your dumplings do not get soggy… Wash, rinse and wring…hand to dry and use the next day!

    Feb 3, 2013 | 6:24 am

     
  31. Marie says:

    That looks yummy!

    I didn’t realize that there were different versions of sio mai. When I first started working in Shanghai, I ordered some and was surprised to be served sio mai wrapped in thicker-than-normal skin with sticky rice filling (sort of the rice in ma chang) in the Philippines. I found out later on that the sio mai we have back home is the Cantonese style one. Have got to admit that I still prefer that version.

    Feb 3, 2013 | 8:14 am

     
  32. betty q. says:

    MM..if you want to try the one Marie is talking about…much like cabbage roll filling…the long grained malagkit is best to use. the Korean and Japanese malagkit is sort of round than long grained. FOr every 1 1/2 cups of your pork mixture, add 10 to 12 oz. of cooked malagkit tossed lightly to separate the grains. if you use chopped pork, just sauté it first with the rest of your ingredients and seasoning….no binder at this point. Then add your cooked malagkit. You wi ll end up with sort of a sticky fried rice. Then wrap in wonton wrapper. but shaping it, cup it in your hand, make a waist and tap it on the counter or tap the surface with back of spoon. steam.

    Feb 3, 2013 | 8:42 am

     
  33. Betchay says:

    @BettyQ: Thanks for the recipes of other different dips.Am sure it will bring the taste of otherwise ordinary siomai into another level! I have tried doing your siomai recipe with the secret Five spice ingredient several times and it did bring a new twist to what we used to prepare at home. And I do agree with you re: volume vs. big profit.When you have quality product, even if the profit is small it will be offset by the volume of sold product as consumers trust you.BTW, I have a small bottle of Bullhead barbecue sauce in the fridge and I just used it on stirfry BokChoy. I remember you once commented on its other uses but I couldn’t find that thread, maybe you can refresh me again where else can I use it? Thanks.

    Feb 3, 2013 | 9:52 am

     
  34. millet says:

    dimsum is one of my “favoritest” foods, and siomai tops that list! i agree, MM, i can’t imagine how others can sell them at such low prices.

    Feb 3, 2013 | 10:44 am

     
  35. Khew says:

    I see what you mean about the fat pooling.
    Apart from taste & texture, the advantage of adding stuff like mushrooms and other vegetables is that they help bulk/shape retention as the fatty meat shrinks. While healthy, I personally wouldn’t add carrots as I feel they’re more suited for deep fried types of dimsum. Instead, some finely cubed pork tenderloin, shrimp( as you mentioned ) or shredded crab does the trick marvelously for taste, texture and shape. The Chinese sausage topping is a great idea. Simpler and less expensive than the traditional topping of crab roe or a contemporary one of tobiko.

    Feb 3, 2013 | 11:28 am

     
  36. lee says:

    Please teach my mother how to make this. Translated in Chinese – Shu Mai Mami.

    Feb 3, 2013 | 11:38 am

     
  37. betty q. says:

    Betchay…Aug. 23, 2011 MM’s post on Scallion sauce for noodles David Chang’s.
    If you want to use it for hot pot, I have used an electric skillet to do hot pot on the table…works just the same!

    Betchay…add a tsp or to taste of the bullhead BBQ sauce to the chili oil instead of finely minced hibe! Instead of adding it to stir fry vegetables…stir fry pea shoots just in garlic then season lightly. Then make a pot of plain congee, deep fried squid, etc. Dip the pea shoots in the BBQ sauce bullhead. Top your congee with it. Remember your congee is so plain that this condiment will elevate the taste of your plain congee.

    Feb 3, 2013 | 12:54 pm

     
  38. Betchay says:

    Thank you BettyQ for pointing out that post. A hotpot!….that will be great…so is the congee with fried peashoot…you and MM are really so generous with your great ideas! Salamat po!

    Feb 3, 2013 | 1:35 pm

     
  39. Marketman says:

    karr, the addition of TVP or Textured Vegetable Protein, if that is far cheaper than pork, would make a LOT OF SENSE. Definitely stretches the meat and lowers the cost. I should have really chopped up one of those purchased siomai to see what was in them. I have had TVP in vegetarian dishes before and they were reasonably edible… :)

    Feb 3, 2013 | 1:56 pm

     
  40. Maki says:

    now this is the fancy type of “Siomai sa Tisa” I was talking about. You never fail to impress us MM… good job!!!

    Feb 3, 2013 | 7:41 pm

     
  41. K says:

    Holy cow, this is making me nostalgic for my grandma’s cooking :) always thought that the upside down cooked siomai (depicted in a previous post) was done that way to facilitate an easier transfer/plating after it was cooked (using a receptacle just as large as the steamer…), and the dripping fat would coat the other siomai to prevent them from sticking to each other during the wholesale steaming process…

    Feb 4, 2013 | 9:35 am

     
  42. Fards says:

    Thanks, MM and bettyq for all your tips. Love siomai. Must look for that chinese store on E. Pender when I go there come Feb 16th.

    Feb 5, 2013 | 11:09 pm

     
  43. betty q. says:

    Ebba, Fards…there is wholesale supplier of those yellow wrappers. I had to ask my produce suki on Victoria drive to bring them in so it is easily accessible to others without having to ask someone at the store to go downstairs. Drawback is the wholesaler does not sell thm to the public…only if you on a store or a restaurant. However, I was told that they sell retail in the US. So, try the Asian stores in Seattle. For Ebba, they sell them most likely in Asian stores in Dallas.

    Feb 6, 2013 | 4:21 am

     
  44. Marie says:

    I wonder if they’ll freeze/reheat well. Obviously, they’d taste better fresh, but, has anyone tried freezing them?

    Feb 6, 2013 | 6:37 pm

     
  45. Marketman says:

    Marie, we did freeze a few and steamed them another day. They turned out okay, but fresh is indeed better…

    Feb 7, 2013 | 7:03 am

     
  46. DhayL says:

    One of our faves whenever we go out for dimsum! I make it at home once in a while, it’s just that I find it labour-intense! :) But your photos really looks yummy, so I might make it over the weekend! I usually make a big batch, and since the ingredients are kinda similar with making shanghai, I portion my ingredients, half goes to shanghai making and the other goes to suimai!

    Great idea to put the suimai mixture in a ziplock bag then tearing off the corner, much easier to handle, rather than using two spoons or by hand! :)

    I should try the round wrappers, I always buy the squar-shaped ones…I must make my own chili sauce as well, since we love chili sauce at home!

    Quite innovative there MM, I thought you were using “paper doillies” :)

    Feb 8, 2013 | 1:23 am

     
  47. betty q. says:

    MM…driving home I had another AHA moment…when I make steamed chicken with Chinese sausage and Chinese mushrooms or steamed spareribs with garlic and black beans served over a bowl of rice just like dim sum, I add a touch of baking soda (as tenderizer) …just a touch or it will taste like ammonia and cornstarch with other seasoning to the meat and marinate them before steaming. I think adding baking soda to the chopped pork could be the Chinese dim sum secret ingredient to their siu mai. It is generally not included in any recipes I have searched. Yet, I deconstructed a siu mai I had for dim sum today nd it had the same texture as the steamed spareribs or chicken I usually make above. The chopped pork was very tender, the yellow wrapper not mushy. So I cn only assume that the baking soda/ constarch did the trick!

    I am off to tell my Ate of my newfound Aha moment so she can add it to her siu mai when she makes them for this coming Chinese New Year.

    Feb 9, 2013 | 4:43 am

     
  48. Marketman says:

    bettyq, the baking soda wouldn’t surprise me at all, it is used quite frequently in meat dishes at chinese restaurants, which for me, results oftentimes in an overly tenderized, less than appealing texture to large chunks of meat… but I can see why they use it…

    Feb 9, 2013 | 6:59 am

     
  49. May says:

    Hi! First let me say a big Thank You MM, you’re one of my inspirations in my cooking journey. Am starting to sell siomai here in Palawan, to do away with TVP, I started using grated turnips (squeeze the water out, else it will be too soggy). My problem is the quality of wrappers available here. Not really a lot to choose from and buying from Manila would up the cost way too much. Now in the process of perfecting the cooking process, I still end up with siomai with dried wrapper tips in some batches.maybe some of you have some ideas?

    Feb 12, 2013 | 8:41 am

     
  50. Marketman says:

    May, my guess would be that your filling doesn’t have enough fat, so the wrappers dry out. If there is sufficient fat, it will soak into the wrapper and keep it moist and succulent.

    Feb 12, 2013 | 9:06 am

     
  51. ConnieC says:

    Feb 12, 2013 | 12:57 pm

     
  52. betty q. says:

    May…the stuffing, all the way to the top…if you can help it, wrapper on the top, not too much exposed…can you picture it? I know it might cut down on your profit…but instead of making it siksik sideways but short, try making it a little on the sexy side…with a waist but taller. You will have the same amount of filling. The top should be mounded, with none of the wrapper peeking through. If it peeks through, as it sits, it will be exposed to air so the tips will harden agad. The wrapper…best if it is round so the wrpper adheres to the sides of the siu mai just like smoothing fondant around a cake.

    Dim sum stores here sell ready to eat siu mai in a table top steamer showcase with shelves. They have har how in there, stuffed lotus root packages with sticky rice among others. That s the best table top appliance to use. I wouldn’t recommend a warmer or chafing dish…your siu mai will dry up in there unless the insert is perforated…you need constant steam!

    Hope that helps, too!

    Feb 12, 2013 | 3:54 pm

     
  53. May says:

    Thanks MM, Connie C and betty q! Will several test batches using your suggestions MM and betty q. and will keep everyone updated.the lafujimama recipe for gyoza wrappers is what I use for the cabbage and pork mince dimsum I make for my family Connie C. It is quite good and, yeah it is really labor intensive.

    Feb 12, 2013 | 6:24 pm

     
  54. ConnieC says:

    May, when I make it again to Puerto Princesa ( is that where you are?) where we usually winter, I shall look you up to try your dimsum. Good luck with your experiment.

    Feb 12, 2013 | 8:16 pm

     
  55. May says:

    That would be great Connie C :) !

    Feb 13, 2013 | 6:13 am

     
  56. archie says:

    ang sarap nyan..nakakagutom..

    Apr 28, 2013 | 9:06 pm

     
  57. Janis says:

    BettyQ would you mind sharing your siumai recipe? I’ve been trying different recipes but can’t seem to find a good one, flavorwise. Also, would appreciate it if you can share the recipe of chili oil. Thanks,

    Jun 5, 2013 | 3:26 pm

     
  58. Ced says:

    Hi,i tried this recipe but it turned out so disappointing.i didnt achieved the exact firmness and texture as what i saw in some resto.the one i made was soggy,and when i sliced it the meat was “durog” not firm,and i think i also used a wrong wrapper because it became so thin when it steamed.i want to improve it so pls help me.what should i do or add to make the result firm.thanks

    Nov 21, 2013 | 9:15 pm

     
  59. Marketman says:

    Ced, did you follow the instructions? Particularly for mashing the meat together, throwing it against the bowl until really smushed together? And use a piping bag? That should yield the texture that is shown in the photos. The comments above, especially by Bettyq have other tips as well. As far as getting it like commercial versions, perhaps these are too “homemade” and have no extenders, shortcuts, etc.

    Nov 22, 2013 | 6:46 am

     

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