上海烧卖 – Shanghai ShaoMai, step by step

Shanghai Shao Mai -1

Betty Shanghai ShaoMai-21

上海烧卖 is Shanghainese shaomai, or more commonly known as pork shumai, is a very common breakfast street food you can find in Shanghai, China. It’s different from the ubiquitous dimsum shumai, which is made with pork and shrimp. Shanghai shaomai is filled with sticky rice and pork and very specific to its region (Jiang Su area). I learned this from my mother, who was born in Shanghai, and I grew up munching on these.

You can also omit the wrapping and just eat the filling. In fact, I do this quite often. My recipe for this nostalgic dish is up on Food52 today. There’s a whole story of how this came to be (from my lovely beautiful mother), and you can read that on Food52! I’ve included step by step photos for the wrapping process, because I find that sometimes, photos can speak more than words. My words, in any case. I’ve also included a gif, because gifs are cool and I love seeing a shaomai being wrapped, like a little action movie.

shaomai

warning: very very photo heavy!! Be prepared for tons of step by step photos. I sort of went nuts.

Betty Shanghai ShaoMai-1

Betty Shanghai ShaoMai-16

SHanghai ShaoMai-1

These are the basic ingredients: sweet glutinous rice, scallions, ground pork, shaomai skins, fresh ginger, soy sauce, shaoxing wine, and sugar (not pictured). Seems quite simple, no?

Shanghai Shao Mai Ingredients-1

The first step is to soak the sweet glutinous rice overnight in cold water. The rice should be completely covered by 1″ of water. I do this right before I go to bed, so that I can make it the next day when I wake up. Line a steamer with cheesecloth and spread the rice evenly over it. Steam until fully cooked, about 15-20 minutes. The rice should be more translucent and soft. Set aside and cover with a damp cloth to prevent drying out. Heat up a wok. When wok is steaming, add some cooking oil. Add ground pork and cook until browned. Add soy sauce and stir. Then add cooking wine and sugar. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add water to just above meat level. Add in ginger. You can do a taste test – it should be a bit salty. If not, add 1 more tbsp of soy sauce. Add in sweet rice and sauce until liquid has all been absorbed. Remove from heat and fold in scallions. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet or a shallow pan and let it cool to room temperature.Betty Shanghai ShaoMai-17

Betty Shanghai ShaoMai-2

And now it’s time for the wrapping process. Place about 1 tbsp of rice filling onto a shaomai skin in the palm of your hand.

Betty Shanghai ShaoMai-4Begin to loosely pleat the edges.
Betty Shanghai ShaoMai-5Once you’ve gone around the circumference, hold the pleats together and twist down. Press it as if you were tying a plastic bag.
Betty Shanghai ShaoMai-6Betty Shanghai ShaoMai-7You will end up with a little upside down mushroom, or a little pouch of rice. Betty Shanghai ShaoMai-8Unwrap the pouch and stuff in another 1 tbsp of rice filling.
Betty Shanghai ShaoMai-9Betty Shanghai ShaoMai-10Betty Shanghai ShaoMai-12Betty Shanghai ShaoMai-13And you have your shaomai. You want to make sure that it is stuffed tightly, otherwise it might fall apart when you are steaming. Use your thumb and fingers to really stuff the rice in, nice and compact.

Betty Shanghai ShaoMai-14

Now you can steam them. Betty Shanghai ShaoMai-18

RECIPE: 上海烧卖 – Shanghai ShaoMai
Also on Food52

Ingredients
3 cups glutinous sweet rice (sticky rice)
1/2 lb ground pork
3 stalks scallion, very finely chopped
1 tsp ginger, finely grated
oil for frying
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
3 tbsp shoaxing cooking wine
1 tbsp sugar
pack shaomai skin (you can find this in asian grocery marts)

1| Prepare: soak sweet rice in cold water overnight (8-10 hours)
2| Drain sweet rice. Line a steamer with cheesecloth, and spread sweet rice across the surface. Steam until cooked, about 15-20 minutes.
3| Remove sweet rice and let cool. Cover with a damp towel to prevent drying out.
4| Heat up a wok. When wok is steaming, add some cooking oil. Add ground pork and cook until browned. Add soy sauce and stir. Then add cooking wine and sugar. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add water to just above meat level. Add in ginger. You can do a taste test – it should be a bit salty. If not, add 1 more tbsp of soy sauce.
5| Add in sweet rice and sauce until liquid has all been absorbed. Remove from heat and fold in scallions. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet or a shallow pan and let it cool to room temperature.
6| Wrap Shaomai: Holding the wrapper at its bottom, start loosely pleating the edges. Once you’ve pleated the circumference, start to hold the pleats together and fold them back onto each other to form an accordion shape around the rice. Twist the edges together as if you were twisting a plastic baggie and push down, forming a little pouch of rice. Unwrap the edges to form a tiny cup-shape, and stuff more rice in. Set aside.
7| Once you’ve finished wrapping everything, steam for 10 minutes, then remove.
8| To store: let steamed shaomai cool to room temperature. Then, place them on aluminum foil lined baking sheet, and freeze. Once they have frozen, you can place them in ziplock bags.

Betty Shanghai ShaoMai-20

83,104,97,114,101,32,111,110,58:no erahSFacebookTwitterPinterest
  • OH EM GEEEEE THAT GIF THOUGH!ReplyCancel

  • How interesting! The “siew mais” i’ve had in singapore is usually with yellow skin and filled with pork or chicken. Your version seems so tasty! Not confident on making the sticky rice though.ReplyCancel

    • I know exactly what you’re talking about! I usually see those in dim sum, and I think they’re the more commonly known version of shao mai (or shu mai or siew mai!!). I grew up with these, though, so I’m definitely biased :P.ReplyCancel

  • Superbes photos. Cant wait to try it as wellReplyCancel

  • LOVE this post. Great photos and I’m so feeling the gif. This rice looks so amazing. Awesome. ReplyCancel

  • beautiful, beautiful food and photos! a fantastic blog, I’m so glad I found it!ReplyCancel

  • Just found your blog and adoreeee it. My grandmother is from Shanghai and I grew up in Brazil and now live in California. I miss a lot of the Chinese food we had growing up and am just now starting to find out the proper names for everything. Bought some glutinous rice to make Shanghainese style zongzi so I want to try these out!ReplyCancel

    • Hi!! Thank you so much for dropping by!! Wow Brazil – must’ve been amazing. There are definitely a LOT of Chinese food options in California – that’s where I grew up! And omg YES ZHONG ZI. My other favorite thing in the WORLD!!!!! I’m actually working on a post (also from my mother, of course!) – I’d love to hear what you think of it – if it’s similar to what your grandma made.ReplyCancel

      • For so long I could only find Taiwanese and Cantonese style zongzi here that had shrimp and egg yolks and wasn’t the one i grew up with…Can’t wait to see your
        post! ReplyCancel

  • […] go to the gym, this is me. EVERYTHING COUNTS. I want one nowwww. Butter as a side dish. I want these for breakfast with a fried egg on top. Looove the secret ingredient in these cookies & cream […]ReplyCancel

  • Yixiu

    This is amazing. My mom asked me to search up how to make 烧卖 and many websites I found were Chinese… I may be Chinese but I suck at reading characters so it was a relief to find this website. I have always eaten 烧卖 but it was always store bought. Now we can make our own. Thx soooo much!!!ReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

*

*