When Malaysians crave for Dim Sum, one particular iconic dish that is a must-have is the Siew Mai! Also known as Shu Mai, it is a traditional Chinese dumpling and usually served as a snack. The Siew Mai is also a staple food for anyone who’s craving Dim Sum for breakfast! In Malaysia, the most well-known variety of Siew Mai is the Cantonese siumaai; with a standard filling of ground pork and shrimp, covered in a thin sheet of lye water dough that is either yellow or white.
Nowadays, you can find Siew Mai almost everywhere besides the Chinese restaurants. On top of that, there are many other Siew Mai varieties which consist of different proteins, fillings and colours!
Origin of Siew Mai
Siew Mai is considered to have originated from Hohhot, which is the capital of Inner Mongolia in the north of China. Back then, it was described by historical materials that the Siew Mai was served as a secondary product in tea houses. The name ‘Siew Mai’ or ‘Shu Mai’ meant that the product is “sold as a sideline” with tea.
The product was also initially in the form of meat and vegetables wrapped in thin sheets. Besides that, a tradition is still kept in Hohhot where they sell this product by weighing only the wrapper. The Siew Mai continues to spread widely as merchants of Shanxi were believed to have brought it to Beijing and Tianjin.
Siew Mai Recipe: How To Make Delicious Siew Mai At Home
For this recipe, we will be making a Cantonese style Siew Mai. The protein used for this recipe is pork and prawns. However, for a halal version of Siew Mai, you can also opt to change the protein to chicken or mutton according to your preference.
1 (4 pieces of large Siew Mai)
40 g of prawn meat (coarsely chopped)
1 Chinese dried mushroom (rehydrated and diced)
100 g of pork belly (coarsely chopped)
¼ tsp of ground white pepper
1 tsp of Shaoxing wine
½ tsp of sesame oil
½ tsp of caster sugar
1 tsp of oyster sauce
¼ tsp of cornflour
¼ tsp of salt
Four wonton skin
- First, marinate the prawn meat with salt for 5 minutes. Then, wash the salt away under running water until the water turns clear.
- Next, place the prawn meat in a colander to drain away as much water as possible.
- After that, combine all the ingredients stated above into a bowl or a plate. Then, mix the ingredients and pound it until it forms a firm mass like a patty or meatloaf.
- When it is firm, place the fillings onto the wonton skin. After putting them in, rotate the Siew Mai and squeeze it gently at the waist.
- Then, use a metal spoon to press down the meat to make it even. Flatten the base of the Siew Mai so that it can sit on the steamer.
- After that, steam the Siew Mai over high heat with a lid on for 10 minutes.
- Your Siew Mai is ready to serve!
If you have time to spare, after mixing the filling, you can leave it in the refrigerator for about an hour until it becomes firm; as it is easier to wrap the Siew Mai with a chilled filling. You can also line the steamer with baking paper to avoid the Siew Mai from sticking. If you do not intend to steam the Siew Mai immediately, you may also freeze it for next time.
Ways to Enjoy Siew Mai
Inspired by how Siew Mai was consumed back in the days, this snack is best enjoyed with a cup of warm Chinese tea. Besides that, it would be great to pair the Siew Mai with other Dim Sum favourites such as Steamed Pork Bun, Shrimp Dumplings (har gow), Chinese Pan Fried Dumplings and more! For a more filling and balanced meal, pair the Siew Mai with some vegetables and rice or noodle dishes. Or you could enjoy it on its own too!
Explore other local favourite Malaysian delights here at Lokataste Recipe!