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.
warning: very very photo heavy!! Be prepared for tons of step by step photos. I sort of went nuts.
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?
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.
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.
Begin to loosely pleat the edges.
Once you’ve gone around the circumference, hold the pleats together and twist down. Press it as if you were tying a plastic bag.
You will end up with a little upside down mushroom, or a little pouch of rice. Unwrap the pouch and stuff in another 1 tbsp of rice filling.
And 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.
Now you can steam them.
RECIPE: 上海烧卖 – Shanghai ShaoMai
Also on Food52
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.