Make your own shumai or siomai at home with this simple and easy-to-follow recipe. Made of ground pork, shrimp, and classic Chinese seasonings. Juicy and flavorful steamed dumplings, perfect as an appetizer, snack, or even as a main dish (to serve with rice).
Shumai, Siomai or Siu Mai
I'm sure you're confused as I am. But shumai, siomai and siu mai are all valid names for the different variations of the dumpling. Growing up, I call it SIOMAI and it is one of my favorite Filipino-Chinese food–apart from pancit, lumpia, and mami.
I know. I just love them all!
The siomai we're making today is a cross between Filipino and Chinese shumai. And it is one of the easiest dumpling you'll ever make.
Here's what you need to make siomai. You can get the seasonings in most grocery stores (international section), Asian grocery stores, and online (check my affiliate links in the recipe card).
- Ground Pork - preferably with fat for a juicy and flavorful texture.
- Shrimp - use the freshest shrimp you can find. Their flavor makes all the difference.
- Flavorings - classic Chinese seasonings such as soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and Shaoxing wine.
- Cornstarch - to bind and keep the meat from falling apart.
- Carrots and Green Onions - for color and added flavor. You can also use shitake mushroom which is a traditional ingredient in Chinese shumai.
How to make Shumai
Making shumai is not as complicated as you think. In fact, it's one of the easiest Chinese dumplings you can recreate at home. The only thing that takes a bit of time is the wrapping process. But nothing home cooks like us can't handle. The key is preparing all the ingredients and the steamer before the wrapping process.
Here's how I did it:
Step 1: Prepare the steamer
Line bamboo or stainless steamer with perforated parchment paper. This will prevent the dumplings from sticking. You can buy this in grocery stores or just make your own.
To make your homemade perforated parchment paper: cut a regular parchment paper to the size of your steamer. Punching it with holes using a hole puncher or cut small holes using a scissor. Big thanks to Nagi of RecipeTinEats for this helpful technique.
Step 2: Make the Shumai Filling
This process is basically the same as making a meatball with one extra step which is chopping of the shrimp.
- Start off by chopping the shrimp into coarse pieces using a sharp knife. Don't worry about being so exact. For convenience, you can also use a food processor. Just remember not to grind it into a paste.
- In a mixing bowl, combine shrimp and pork then season with salt.
- With your clean hands, mix until sticky. Use food-grade gloves if preferred.
- Add the rest of the ingredients including the vegetables. Then continue mixing until well combined. That is it!
Step 3: Wrap the Shumai
As I've said, shumai is one of the most forgiving dumpling recipes. Even a beginner can make it. The wrapping process may look complicated but, really it isn't. Remember this is HOMEMADE SHUMAI, it doesn't have to look perfect.
It took me a couple of tries, five (probably more) to be exact before I got used to the "rhythm" of wrapping. So don't feel frustrated if you don't get it on the first try. Honestly, don't take it too seriously. If you accidentally tear a wrapper, just throw it out and do it again. You'll eventually get the hang of it.
Here it goes:
Step 1 and 2, scoop a heaping tablespoon of the filling and place it in the center of the wrapper. Press the filling down using a butter knife. Rotate the shumai and squeeze it at the waist. Press down the meat with a metal spoon to level it. Place the dumpling on a surface to flatten the base so it can sit steadily in the steamer.
Step 3 and 4 involves folding the protruded sides and sealing with water. You can skip this entirely if you're using round wrappers or if you don't mind the flappy edges.
Wrapper for Shumai
The wrapper for siomai is called WONTON or DUMPLING wrapper/skins. They are thin and soft yet are able to hold up steam from boiling water. You can buy this in the chiller section of most Asian grocery stores.
The wrappers usually come in yellow or white color and are either square or round. The round ones are the best wrapper for shumai.
In this recipe, I used the square ones. The size is just right for shumai–about 3 ¼ inches or 8cm. The round wrappers I found were too big and didn't want to bother trimming them down.
Step 4: Steam the Shumai
Place the dumplings directly into the steamer with a small gap in between. Top with finely grated carrots for a pop of color.
Steam for 8 minutes over high heat with the lid on. And it's done!
Sauce for Shumai
Shumai is enjoyed in many different ways all around the world. Some eat it plain while others love having it with some sort of dipping sauce.
The typical Filipino sauce for siomai is a mixture of soy sauce, calamansi, and chili oil. It's the only way I knew how to eat the dumpling back then. But that all changed when I came to live here in Singapore and started traveling around Asia.
Here are the sauces I enjoy eating with shumai. You'll probably notice a common component and that is the presence of acidity.
- soy sauce, calamansi and chili oil - I call this the Filipino siomai sauce. So so good!
- soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili - sort of a universal Asian dipping sauce. Sugar can also be added to balance the flavor. Chili can be either fresh or chili oil.
- chili sauce or tangy sweet chili sauce - typical sauce for siu mai here in Singapore and probably other parts of the world?
Frequently asked questions
Like most dumplings, raw shumai can be made ahead and stored frozen. To do this, sprinkle the sides and bottom of a tray with flour. Arrange the dumplings in the tray with a small gap in between. Freeze for 2 to 3 hours. Transfer to a zip bag or airtight container. This recipe should last for up to 1 month.
To cook frozen shumai, steam for 12 minutes over high heat. No need to thaw.
If you're allergic to shrimp, shumai can be made with just pork. Ground beef or chicken can also be used. Of course, the flavor will vary depending on what meat you use.
Steam for 2 to 3 minutes over high heat. You can also pan-fry or deep fry in pan over medium heat. Cook to your preferred doneness.
Most rice cooker nowadays come with a steamer basket. You can definitely use it to cook shumai. Just make sure the water don't touch the basket while steaming. Cooking time should be around 10 to 15 minutes until meat is cook through.
Love Asian food? You MUST TRY these recipes!
- Pancit Canton with the Most Delicious Sauce
- Lumpiang Shanghai
- Pork Humba
- Pandesal Asado (taste like Siopao Asado)
- Spam Fried Rice
- Homemade Beef Pares
- Escabeche (Filipino Sweet and Sour Fish)
- Salmon Fried Rice
Shumai (Siomai) Recipe Video
Pork and Shrimp Shumai (Siomai)
- 10.5 oz / 300g ground pork (preferably with fat)
- 10.5 oz / 300g shrimp (peeled and coarsely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (optional)
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch
- ¼ cup carrots (grated, divided)
- 3 stalks green onion (finely chopped, divided)
- black pepper (to taste)
- 30-40 pcs wonton/dumpling wrappers (round or square) (3 ¼ inches or 8cm in size)
- carrots (grated)
- green onion (finely chopped)
Sauce to serve (see note 4 for alternatives)
- soy sauce
- chili garlic oil
Prepare the steamer
- Line bamboo steamer with perforated parchment paper. This will prevent the dumplings from sticking. You can buy this in grocery stores or just make your own (see video). If using a stainless steamer, brush the surface with vegetable oil.
- In a mixing bowl, combine shrimp, pork, and salt. With your clean hands, mix thoroughly until sticky. Use food-grade gloves if preferred.
- Add soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, salt, oyster sauce, sugar, black pepper, carrots, and green onion. Continue mixing until combined.
Wrap and steam (watch the video, it's helpful)
- Make a hole with your finger and thumb. Place the wrapper on top. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of the filling and place it in the center of the wrapper. Press the filling down with a butter knife or spoon creating a pouch. Add more filling as needed.
- To flatten the base, place on a flat surface and rotate while gently squeezing at the waist. If using a square wrapper, fold protruded sides and seal with water. Skip the folding if you don't mind the flappy edges.
- Place the dumplings directly into the steamer with a small gap in between. Top with finely grated carrots for a pop of color.
- Cover and steam over boiling water for 8 minutes until cooked through. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Wonton/Dumpling wrapper - you can find this in the chiller section of most Asian grocery stores.
- Freezing and shelf life - raw shumai can be made ahead and stored frozen. Here's how: sprinkle the sides and bottom of a tray with flour. Arrange the wrapped dumplings in the tray with a small gap in between. Freeze for 2 to 3 hours. Transfer to a zip bag or airtight container. This recipe should last for up to 1 month.
- To cook frozen shumai, steam for 12 to 15 minutes over high heat. No need to thaw.
- Sauce variations - soy sauce, Chinkiang/rice vinegar, and chili oil. Add sugar if preferred.