This recipe for Cantonese-Style Siu Mai (烧卖) features a savoury ground pork mixture that is partially enclosed in a thin wheat and egg wrapper and steamed until cooked. It is a classic staple in Chinese dim sum restaurants.
What is siu mai?
Siu mai 烧卖 (also "shu mai" or "shao mai") is a traditional Cantonese Chinese steamed pork and shrimp dumpling.
It is served in Chinese dim sum restaurants as a snack, usually paired with har gow (shrimp dumplings).
They are small in size, and contain a pork mixture with Chinese mushroom and/or shrimp that is encased with a thin wrapper skin made with wheat flour, egg and lye water.
Unlike other filled dumplings, the tops of siu mai are not fully covered by the wrapper and have a small decoration of orange-coloured crab roe or flying fish roe (tobiko), diced carrot or green pea instead.
Why you'll love this recipe
This recipe makes a small batch of siu mai, which is suitable a small family.
You can easily double the recipe to make a larger batch.
It's much more cost-effective to make these siu mai at home, compared to enjoying them at the dim sum restaurant.
The filling of the ground pork and mushrooms is juicy with a little bouncy texture, which comes from beating the meat mixture in one direction.
Adding water chestnuts to the filling gives a little extra texture.
My son is allergic to shrimp but he loves siu mai, so I've created this version that doesn't contain shrimp. However, feel free to add diced shrimp to the filling if you prefer (with the option below).
Ingredients you'll need
For the pork filling:
- ground pork (or pork mince): a mixture of 80/20 ratio of meat to fat is optimal; for a more juicier filling, use Berkshire pork or add pork back fat to the mixture
- raw shrimp or prawn: deveined, peeled and chopped; optional -- Note: adding shrimp will increase the yield to 20 pcs
- fine sea salt: for seasoning the meat
- light soy sauce: adds additional savoury flavour; you can also use regular soy sauce
- black pepper: or white pepper
- granulated sugar: a touch to balance out the flavour
- tapioca starch: to bind the meat together and give it a smooth texture
- ice cold water: to moisten and keep the meat mixture from over heating while beating
- dried Chinese/shiitake mushrooms: soaked in water, drained and chopped into small pieces
- water chestnuts: usually comes in a can packed in water, adds a crunchy and slightly sweet texture; optional
- sesame oil: toasted, for flavour and aroma
For the siu mai wrappers:
- small wonton wrappers: if using store-bought, wonton wrappers usually come only in a square shape. For this recipe, trim the wrappers into a round circle.
Note: some wonton wrappers are yellow and some are white; typically siu mai wrappers are yellow due to the addition of eggs and lye water.
Garnish: (use one of the following)
- crab roe or flying fish roe (tobiko): generally used in siu mai found in dim sum restaurants; tiny little round spheres with a salty and crunchy texture; used in many Japanese dishes such as sushi
- carrot: small dice
- green pea: 1 pea per siu mai
How to make them
Make the pork filling
In a large bowl (or stand mixer bowl), combine the ground pork, shrimp (if using), sea salt, soy sauce, black pepper, sugar, tapioca starch, and ice water (Step 2 below).
If using a large bowl, use a pair of chopsticks to stir the pork mixture around in one direction.
If using a stand mixer bowl, attach the paddle attachment and let it beat for about 5 minutes on low-medium speed (Step 3 below).
Add in the Chinese mushrooms, water chestnut and sesame oil and continue to beat for another 2-3 minutes, until strands form in the meat mixture (Step 4 below).
Cover and store in the fridge until ready to assemble (Step 5 below).
Prepare the wrappers
If using store-bought wonton wrappers (Step 6 above), place a round disc on top of the wrappers (Step 7 above).
Use a sharp knife to trim the edges to make it a round circle shape (Step 8 and 9 above).
You may need to do this in small batches.
Cover the wrapper skins with a damp paper towel and set aside.
How to fold and wrap
With one hand, touch the index and middle finger to your thumb to make a hole or "O" shape (Step 10 below).
Take a wrapper in the other hand and place it over top of the "hole" and make a slight divot (Step 11 and 12 below).
Use an offset spatula or butter knife and place a scoop (about 2 teaspoons) of pork filling into the divot (Step 13 below).
Use your fingers to shape the dumpling by gently squeezing it so it forms a short cylinder (Step 14 below).
If there is not enough pork filling, continue to fill up to the top of the wrapper (Step 15 below).
If the siu mai is lopsided, use your fingers to shape and straighten it.
In the case the edges of the wrapper doesn't stick, dab a little water to seal.
Place onto a lightly oiled tray or plate (Step 16 below).
Garnish the top with a small dollop of crab roe (tobiko), diced carrot or a green pea (Step 17 below).
Continue with the remainder.
At this point in time, you can freeze a tray of siu mai in the freezer until frozen (a few hours), or go ahead with steaming (Step 18 below).
How to cook
Arrange the dumplings onto a steaming rack or bamboo steamer and fill with enough water.
Cover with a lid and steam dumplings on high heat for 10 minutes (add additional 5 minutes if steaming from frozen), until cooked through.
The pork will turn from pink to brown/beiege when cooked.
How to serve
Serve the pork dumplings piping hot and freshly steamed with Chinese hot mustard, chili oil, or chili sauce.
There is no particular dipping sauce that "officially" goes with siu mai.
As this is a classic dim sum/"yum cha" dish, it's best serve these dumplings with hot tea: try jasmine, pu'erh or oolong tea.
How to store
Store cooked pork siu mai in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
For uncooked siu mai, store in the freezer in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
How to reheat
The most optimal way to reheat siu mai is to re-steam them.
If the dumplings have been cooked through (and stored in the fridge), you may use a microwave to briefly heat them up. Be careful to watch the timing as the skins may dry up.
For any excess wonton wrappers (trimmed, or otherwise) separate them and add to a pot of hot boiling water to make "noodles."
Cook until they float and drain them.
Add a little soy sauce and a drizzle of sesame oil or enjoy with a soup broth.
Can you boil siu mai?
No, it is preferable to steam them. The garnishing ingredients would also fall off if boiled.
Are dumpling wrappers and siu mai wrappers the same?
No. Dumpling wrappers are made with wheat flour and water, whereas siu mai wrappers use wonton wrappers, which have egg and lye water added to the dough.
What's the difference between dumplings and siu mai?
Dumplings such as har gow, sheng jian bao, ham sui gok, or in this rose-style siu mai, the filling is fully enclosed by a thin or thick dough wrapper.
In siu mai, the filling is only partially enclosed.
Can you freeze them?
Yes, siu mai freezes very well, in an airtight container.
Can you cook siu mai from frozen?
Yes, you can steam the siu mai straight from frozen. Just be sure to add 5-10 minutes to the overall steaming time.
Are they healthy?
Siu mai is not considered a health food due to its higher fat content.
However, making it at home is much more healthier as you can control type of ground pork you're using.
Other dim sum recipes you may like
Be sure to check out these dim sum recipes:
Rice Noodle Rolls 豬腸粉 (Chee Cheong Fun)
Preserved Century Egg Pork Congee
Steamed BBQ Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao)
Homemade Pineapple Buns (Bo Lo Bao)
Homemade Chinese BBQ Pork Pastry (Char Siu Sou)
Green Onion Pancakes (Edmonton/Donut-Style)
Let me know if you try out this recipe -- tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below!
Cantonese-Style Siu Mai 烧卖
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
- 285 g lean ground pork or diced lean pork shoulder meat
- ½ lb (226g) raw shrimp, whole, cut into ¼ pieces optional
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce or adjust to your taste
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper or white pepper
- 2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoon tapioca starch
- 2 tablespoon ice cold water
- 3 dried Chinese mushrooms soaked and diced
- 2 whole water chestnuts diced, optional
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil plus additional for greasing
- 16 pcs wonton wrappers 20 pcs if adding shrimp
Garnish: choose one
- crab or flying fish roe (tobiko)
- diced carrot
- green peas
For key visual step-by-step photos, refer to the body of the post.
Make the pork filling:
- In a large bowl (or stand mixer bowl), combine the ground pork, shrimp (if using), sea salt, soy sauce, black pepper, sugar, tapioca starch, and ice water.
- If using a large bowl, use a pair of chopsticks to stir the pork mixture around in one direction.
- If using a stand mixer bowl, attach the paddle attachment and let it beat for about 5 minutes on low-medium speed.
- Add in the Chinese mushrooms, water chestnut and sesame oil and continue to beat for another 2-3 minutes, until strands form in the meat mixture.
- Cover and store in the fridge until ready to assemble.
Prepare the wrappers:
- If using store-bought wonton wrappers, place a round disc on top of the wrappers.
- Use a sharp knife to trim the edges to make it a round circle shape.
- You may need to do this in small batches.
- Cover the wrapper skins with a damp paper towel and set aside.
- With one hand, touch the index and middle finger to your thumb to make a hole or "O" shape.
- Take a wrapper in the other hand and place it over top of the "hole" and make a slight divot.
- Use an offset spatula or butter knife and place a scoop (about 2 teaspoons) of pork filling into the divot.
- Use your fingers to shape the dumpling by gently squeezing it so it forms a short cylinder.
- If there is not enough pork filling, continue to fill up to the top of the wrapper.
- If the siu mai is lopsided, use your fingers to shape and straighten it.
- In the case the edges of the wrapper doesn't stick, dab a little water to seal.
- Place onto a lightly oiled tray or plate.
- Garnish the top with a small dollop of crab roe (tobiko), diced carrot or a green pea.
- Continue with the remainder.
- At this point in time, you can freeze a tray of siu mai in the freezer until frozen (a few hours), or go ahead with steaming.
- Arrange the dumplings onto a steaming rack or bamboo steamer and fill with enough water.
- Cover with a lid and steam dumplings on high heat for 10 minutes (add additional 5 minutes if steaming from frozen), until cooked through.
- Enjoy while hot and juicy with mustard or chili oil/sauce.
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.
Recipe adapted from Chef Tsang.
David @ Spiced
I must admit that I don't have any experience cooking steamed dumplings. I've always been impressed by them, and I do love the flavor...I just haven't attempted cooking them myself. Great post here, Michelle!
I have never made dumplings like this before, only ate restaurant or store-bought ones. I love those, but I bet homemade are amazing!! These are seriously making me hungry right now!!
Mmm, yummy siu mai. Making at home is so much easier than to go out and eat, as so much time is wasted for the food to arrive at the table in the crowded restaurant. Thanks for the method of making the siu mai!
Raymund | angsarap.net
Definitely one of my favourite dimsums! Cant get enough of these
Delicious yet simple recipe that the whole family loved. Can’t wait to make it again!
Thank you for trying the recipe, Suja!
I really had no idea siu mai was this easy to make. I appreciate the step-by-step pictures and directions. I am excited to give this recipe a try.
I love dim sum so much, but have never tried to make it myself. So excited I can make these at home now!
Thank you for making a recipe that's detailed enough for even my novice-self could make these and have them turn out delicious! The pork filling was phenomenal
Thanks Michelle, for the kind words! Glad the recipe worked out for you! 🙂
I've never made these before but always wanted to try. Thanks for the great tips and instructions, I can't wait to have a go!