Pork dumpling: “Siu Mai”

Pork dumplings (‘Siu Mai’)

Makes about 30

Prep time:  30 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes


  • 4 large dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 500 grams fatty pork, such as shoulder (butchers may refer to it as pork ‘scotch’).
    • Either chop it into a coarse mince or ask your butcher to put it through the ‘sausage’ setting in their grinder.
    • Do not use store-bought or readymade mince as that is too fine and the wrapper is likely to fall off during the steaming process
  •  200 grams raw prawns, shells and veins removed, chopped into a coarse mince
  • 1/4 cup  finely diced water chestnuts.
    • If using canned ones, rinse them in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel
  • 3 tablespoons spring onions, finely chopped
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms (prepare as per below)
  •  ¼ tsp salt
  •  1 tsp sugar
  •  ¼ tsp ground white pepper
  •  1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  •  1 tablespoon Shao xing/ Shao Hsing  (Chinese cooking wine)
  •  1 ½ tsp sesame oil
  •  1 Egg white, beaten
  •  1 tablespoon corn flour/ corn starch
    • Add this last, after you have blended all the other ingredients
  •  Wonton wrappers (square shape) 30-35 wrappers
  •  Optional Toppings:  before steaming, top each siu mai with finely chopped carrots or after steaming, just before serving top with some caviar

Prepare in advance:

To reconstiute 4 large dried shiitake mushrooms: 

  1. Soak in cold water until soft (about 45 minutes).
  2. Discard this first round of water .
  3. Trim off the stems and discard. Rub the shiitake with your fingertips under running water to ‘wash them’.
  4. Return to a bowl or container with fresh cold water and cover in refrigerator for 5 hours (overnight is okay).  Some recipes say to soak them in hot water but this may bring out the bitterness in the shiitake.
  5. A softer flavor is had through soaking with the cold water as described.
  6. When ready to use, squeeze out as much of the water as you can.
  7. Put them into a clean tea towel to squeeze out as much water as you can.
  8. Chop finely.

Combine in a large mixing bowl:

The fatty pork, water chestnuts, spring onions and shiitake mushrooms.  Add the remaining ingredients, except for the corn flour.  Blend all the ingredients, moving in one direction. Lastly, sprinkle the corn flour over the meat mixture and combine until the corn flour is absorbed by the meat mixture.


Watch this demo on How to make siu mai 

Tip from my mother: Pick up the entire mass of the meat mixture and throw it back into the large mixing bowl.  Scoop it back up into your hand and throw it down again.  Do this about 10 times, rotating the mass of meat each time. This will make the meat mixture sticky. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.

Get your wonton wrappers ready:  you may want to trim off the corners to make them roundish, so that the corners don’t jut out. Don’t spread out the wrappers, just leave them in the package and take out a few at a time, as you need them, so that they don’t dry out.

With a wrapper on the palm of one hand, place 2 heaping tablespoons of filling into the centre & use a spreading action to “apply” it to wrapper, using a soft flexible blade (such as a spreading knife) or a bamboo spatula.  This method will help minimise any air bubbles. Start to gather up the wrapper in your hand and shape it to form a casing around the filling, squeezing it well to get the wrapper to cling to the filling.

Then flatten the bottom and set it into a steaming basket.  As you place the siu mai into  the steaming basket, place them with enough space around each one so that they aren’t touching, so that there’s…

Cover the made dumplings with a towel to prevent them from drying out while you work.

Optional: Sprinkle finely diced carrot or place a pea on the top as a garnish.

Steam & serve

When the steaming basket is full, place it into a pot already boiling pot of water. The steaming basket should not be sitting in the water but slightly elevated. Steam for 8-10 minutes. Serve with hot English mustard and soy sauce.