Shumai...Chinese Dim Sum (Chicken and Shrimp Dumpling). I love small bites and I love Chinese food...most of it anyway. And living in Montana, I don't have the chance to experience Chinese cuisine very often. I've resorted to making my own at home and in the process have learned to make quite a few dishes that are a winner for us...the Sweet and Sour Chicken and the Velveted Chicken Stir-Fry are just a few. But you know, I'd never made dim sum at home before. And for that matter, never had dim sum in a restaurant before either....you know, a real dim sum restaurant. The type of restaurant where servers actually push around a trolley full of dim sum... and all you have to do is pick and choose from the different array of dumplings and small bites that are presented. I suppose if I lived in a bigger city, the opportunity to try a dim sum restaurant might have presented itself sooner or later.....but chances are pretty slim around here.
So, you can imagine when I saw the folks on America's Test Kitchen making Chinese dim sum, that I was all ears! The process looked simple enough...ok, the assembling did look like it would take a bit getting used to, but I wanted to try it nonetheless. A couple of days later, I made my first shumai dim sum at home....although with a few changes of my own.
I chose to use chicken instead of the pork, used some fresh mushrooms instead of the dried mushrooms, omitted the water chestnuts, and added a couple of cloves of garlic. I also didn't have the Chinese vinegar or sherry, so I used a couple of different vinegars I had in my pantry. The changes I made weren't very big....or maybe they were:). But I felt the overall product was just delicious. This time around, I used store-bought wonton wrappers, but I would simply love to make my own homemade version.
The shumai are best eaten hot... and since the batch makes quite a few, you can opt to divide the meat filling and make a batch one day and the second batch another day. You can also cut the recipe in half or freeze some( I've heard they freeze very well, though I personally haven't tried that yet). I simply chose to make 2 batches....on 2 different days.
For the first batch, I ended up using my steamer basket insert from my pressure cooker...and that worked fine. Second batch, I ended up placing them in a non-stick skillet with a bit of water and found it much simpler...easier to clean, too. I am sure the way to go is to use a bamboo steamer, but I don't have one of those. In any case, use whatever method works for you. The photos are of my first batch...but I think I got a bit better with the second batch:). It was fun experimenting with making my own dipping sauce/s...no recipe, as I added a little bit of this and a little bit of that and adjusted to taste. We really liked the shumai dumplings. I am wanting to make them again...next time, with homemade wrappers. Hope you enjoy...
Note: I posting the link to the ATK's shumai-making episode...I am not sure how long they will make the video available to watch...as of today, the VIDEO LINK works.
Tip: You can use dried shitake mushrooms(4-5 large) that has been reconstituted...instead of the fresh sauteed version. Water chestnuts are used in the original recipe, so feel free to add some in the filling...about 1/4 cup chopped.
Feel free to vary the meat you use...use all pork, all chicken, all shrimp... or a mixture.
You can probably omit the gelatin, if you don't have or care to use...though it does make the filling moist and juicy and not so dry.
You will need: inspired by America's Test Kitchen ~makes about 40(or so) dumplings
1 pack round wonton wrappers*
*or egg roll wrappers(cut in 3 inch round shapes)...you should get 4 round circles out of 1 egg roll wrapper
2 TBS soy sauce
1/2 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
1 pound chicken thighs( about 5 pieces), boneless, skinless and cut into 1-inch pieces*
1/2 pound medium size shrimp, peeled and cleaned
*you can use pork meat, if you like
Filling Ingredients and Seasoning:
6 oz fresh mushrooms, minced and sauteed
2 TBS fresh cilantro, minced
2 TBS cornstarch
1 TBS toasted sesame oil
1 TBS white wine vinegar*
1 TBS rice vinegar
2 tsps sugar
2 tsps freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, grated( optional)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 red jalapeno pepper, minced( or you can use 1/2 tsp pepper)
*Chinese rice cooking wine, or dry sherry is recommended
carrot , finely grated (optional)
Additional:favorite dipping sauce
sweet and sour sauce
soy/rice vinegar/sesame oil mixture, etc.
1. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce and gelatin. Set it aside and allow the gelatin to bloom while you get the other ingredients ready.
2. Saute the minced mushrooms in a bit of oil and a pinch of salt. Set it aside.
3. In a food processor bowl, place half of the chicken and pulse until coarsely ground...this should be about ten 1-second pulses. Transfer the meat to a large bowl.
4. In the same food processor bowl, add shrimp and remaining chicken. Pulse until coarsely chopped... about five 1-second pulses. Transfer the mixture to the bowl that contains the previous finely ground chicken.
5. Stir in the soy sauce/gelatin mixture, the sauteed mushrooms, cornstarch, sesame oil, wine vinegar, rice vinegar, sugar, ginger, grated garlic, salt, and minced hot pepper( or black pepper).
1. You will want to work with about 6 round wonton wrappers at a time...it's just easier to do the fold and pinch technique with a few than when doing one at a time.
2. Brush edges of each wonton wrapper lightly with water. Keep the remaining wonton wrappers covered so they don't dry out.
3. Place a heaping tablespoon of the meat filling in the center of each wonton wrapper and bring the sides up. Pinch the wrapper on both sides... creating a fold.
4. Make a total of 8 pinches and then squeeze sides against filling... in the crook of your thumb and index finger... shaping dumpling so that top of filling is exposed.
5. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet, or an oiled plate. Make sure to keep them covered. 6. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
7. Top center of each dumpling with pinch of grated carrot, or a single pea.
Using a Steamer Basket
1. Cut a piece of parchment paper that is slightly smaller than diameter of steamer basket. Place the parchment paper inside the basket and poke some small holes in the paper. Lightly coat the parchment with a bit of oil.
2. Place enough dumplings on the parchment to fit inside without having them touch...if they touch they will stick together.
3. Set steamer basket over simmering water.
4. Cook, covered, until no longer pink for about 10 minutes. Serve immediately
1. In a nonstick skillet, add enough water to barely cover the surface....you can add a drizzle of oil as well. Bring to a simmer.
2. Place the dumplings in simmered water and cover with a lid.
3. Cook, covered, until no longer pink for about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.