Recipe: Steamed Shrimp-and-Pork Siu Mai Dumplings

pork and shrimp siu mai dumplings recipe

Life in Mexico is great, except for one thing. The food. That’s not to say we haven’t had some good meals here…we have. But let’s just say Mexican isn’t our soulmate cuisine.

Asian food (of any kind) is what we love, and life without it is brutal. After traveling through SE Asia and spending ten years in Vancouver (with all its mind-blowing Chinese and Japanese restaurants), we’re suffering here in Mexico.

That means we have to produce our favorite flavors at home. Sourcing ingredients can be tricky (sushi-grade fish comes to mind), but some dishes are actually fairly easy to make here. Enter siu mai dumplings. What’s not to love? The ginger! The garlic! The sesame oil! They’re a snap to make, and all the ingredients (or reasonable substitutions) are fairly easy to locate.


pork and shrimp siu mai dumplings recipe

Here’s what you’ll need. I’m not a big recipe follower and don’t use specific amounts of anything, but I’ve included rough measurements to give you a general idea of proportions. Just use what seems logical and you can’t go too wrong. The most important thing is to cook and taste a small spoonful of your filling, before making the dumplings. That gives you a chance to adjust the flavor (if necessary) rather than ending up with 35 crap dumplings.

  • wonton wrappers — shanghai-style if possible but don’t get hung up on it. (You can make these if necessary.)
  • minced or ground pork (make sure it’s fatty and flavorful!) — about 1.5 cups
  • raw shrimp — chopped roughly, about a cup
  • dried shiitake mushrooms — as many as you want, rehydrated & chopped. Be sure to pick out any hard bits.
  • garlic — minced, two or three cloves
  • ginger — minced, about half a tablespoon should do it
  • soy sauce — a glug (maybe a tablespoon
  • oyster sauce — a glop (maybe a tablespoon)
  • shaoxing (rice) wine (if you can’t get it, substitute dry white wine or dry sherry) — just a glug
  • sesame oil — maybe a teaspoon or more, depending on your taste
  • cornstarch — a small spoonful
  • two egg whites
  • salt — about a teaspoon, maybe more if you’re using low-sodium soy sauce
  • sugar — pinch
  • pepper — pinch

Making the filling

steamed pork and ginger siu mai dumplings

Siu mai are pretty hard to mess up.

Chop your shrimp roughly. (You want large enough pieces to give you distinctly shrimpy bites, not just a pork-shrimp mush.) What I usually do is this. Put everything in the food processor except for the shrimp, and then process for 20 seconds or so to combine everything thoroughly. It should still have some texture. Then put the mixture in a bowl and gently fold in the shrimp.

Heat a pan, then fry and taste a tiny bit of the meat mixture. You want to make sure it’s perfect before stuffing and steaming 30-odd dumplings. I almost always have to make adjustments…more soy sauce or more ginger. Whatever.

If you let the meat sit for few hours or even overnight, the flavors will meld. Having said that, melded flavors require too much advance planning on my part, since I’m usually making these bad boys about 15 minutes before we plan to eat them. They still taste great.

Stuffing the dumplings

If you have square wrappers, use a glass or a cookie cutter to make them round. If your wrappers are already round, you’re good to go. Sometimes I buy square ones because they’re five pesos cheaper, and then make Scout spend 45 minutes cutting them into circles. She loves it when I do that.

Put a dollop of the meat mixture into the center of the wonton, fold up the sides, and then pinch the edges together. Afterward press down the bottom so your creation sits upright. Make sure there’s enough filling to go all the way to the top. (Any part of the wrapper without filling next to it will dry out when it cooks.) Scout claims I overstuff, but if you ask me, she’s a classic understuffer.

Scout will demonstrate (with proper stuffing).

pork and shrimp siu mai dumplings recipe

pork and shrimp siu mai dumplings recipe

pork and shrimp siu mai dumplings recipe

pork and shrimp siu mai dumplings recipe

pork and shrimp siu mai dumplings recipe

Steaming your Siu Mai

Put a few inches of water in the bottom of the pot and bring it to an easy boil. Oil the bottom of the steamer or line it with parchment or maybe cabbage leaves. I usually grab a banana leaf from one of the trees in the yard and then oil that. Don’t forget this step, because otherwise your dumplings will stick and you’ll wreck them as you pry them up.

pork and shrimp siu mai dumplings

When you put the dumplings in the steamer, leave room between them so they cook thoroughly. If you’re like me, your family will pressure you to cram in tons dumplings at once as they moan about “being really hungry.” Ignore them! Just steam a few at a time.

Cook the dumplings until they’re firm, so maybe 8 or 10 minutes. I like to taste the entire first batch for quality-control purposes. You might want to do the same.

Serve them with a little dipping sauce. Soy sauce with a splash of sesame oil works nicely.


pork and shrimp siu mai dumplings recipe

pork and shrimp siu mai dumplings recipe

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 alyson December 6, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Love the photos, they’re great. What sort of camera, full DSLR? I’m looking for a new one. We don’t eat pork, but they still look delicious!
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2 Renee December 6, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Thanks Alsyon. If you don’t eat pork, try them with shrimp and fish. Easy peasy. Yes, I use a crap Canon DSLR but am hoping to upgrade… 🙂


3 Rhonda Albom December 7, 2013 at 3:33 am

These sound great! We have the opposite situation. In New Zealand, Asian food is everywhere, but no Mexican food. We love it, miss it and have to make it ourselves.
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4 Renee December 7, 2013 at 10:54 am

That’s always the way! 🙂


5 Andrew December 7, 2013 at 4:59 am

I would love to try the shrimp and fish version. I do like Mexican food too though, but I guess it could be a bit samey after a while. 🙂
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6 Renee December 7, 2013 at 12:13 pm

“a bit samey….” Exactly.


7 Manfred @ Renegade Travels December 7, 2013 at 6:00 am

Great photos. But being a veggie, I suppose I could use some veggie filling instead.
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8 Renee December 7, 2013 at 10:54 am

Cheers, Manfred. Sure, experiment with veggies. The filing needs to be soft. So more mushrooms…perhaps a mix of different kinds since the shiitakes have such a strong flavor. Why don’t you try a combination of Shiitake, oyster, and enoki mushrooms. Those should all be available in Bangkok, I’d think.

Thanks for commenting!


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