Siomai is one of those Chinese dishes that’s made its way to the heart of a lot of Filipinos and has been deeply ingrained in Filipino cuisine.
You’ll find it often served in local food stalls and kiosks as a side, snack, or even main (siomai with rice!).
When I was still in school, kiosks often served siomai and you can scoop up all the sauce you’d like, which was usually a mix of soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, calamansi (Philippine lime) juice, and fried garlic.
SIOMAI OR SHU MAI TWO WAYS:
I cooked the siomaior shu mai 2 ways: fried and steamed! I personally prefer the deep fried ones since I love the crispy exterior but also really enjoyed the steamed ones.
Fried Siomai or Shu Mai
Steamed Siomai or Shu Mai
You can check out the recipe video below to see how I made these!
Though siomai or shu mai is usually filled with ground pork, I filled these vegan ones with a mix of tofu and mushrooms.
WRAPPERS FOR THE SIOMAI
For the wrappers, I used store-bought round dumpling wrappers.
It’s very important to make sure they’re thawed at room temperature.
This way it’ll be easier to work with them because they’re pliable. They also won’t easily break apart!
I simply added the filling into the centre of each wrapper before bundling them together.
You can also check out my video below to have a better idea on how to wrap and shape these vegan siomai or shu mai!
I also added in a pea for each one on top, just to give it that nice pop of colour, but it’s totally optional! 🙂
I finished them off with some chili sauce and chopped spring onions before eating.
You’ll find the full recipe for these below. Enjoy! 🙂
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Tofu and Mushroom Siomai/Shumai
- Bamboo Steamer, for steaming or steamer
- Parchment paper, for lining
- Pan, for steaming
- 25 pieces 3” (7.5 cm) dumpling wrappers thawed at room temperature (I used store-bought ones)
- Oil for cooking if frying
- 450 g extra firm tofu
- 5 dried shiitake mushrooms or other mushrooms of choice diced (I rehydrated mine by soaking in boiling hot water for 15 minutes)
- 1 medium carrot finely grated (100g)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 onion diced
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- Pinch five spice powder (optional)
- 2 1/2 tbsp corn starch
For topping and serving
- You can watch the video below to see a step-by-step.
Preparing the Filling
- Press tofu for at least 10 minutes to drain excess liquid. Afterwards, place tofu in a bowl and crumbled with your hands or a fork.
- Heat a medium-sized pan or wok over medium high. Add in the sesame oil. Once hot, add in the spring onions and garlic, for 2 minutes. Add in the carrot and mushrooms. Sauté for another 3 minutes until tender. Add in the crumbled tofu, soy sauce, pepper, salt, and five spice powder, if using.Mix well and leave to cook over medium high heat for 2 minutes. Add in the cornstarch and mix until well incorporated. The cornstarch will help bind the mixture together. The tofu mixture will thicken as the cornstarch dissolves. Turn off the heat and transfer the filling to a bowl and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
Forming the Siomai
- See video below on how to form the shu mai.Prepare a small bowl with water. Carefully separate the wrappers. It’s best to work with the wrappers thawed at room temperature so they’re pliable and won’t easily break.
- Hold together your thumb and index finger. Place a wrapper on top. Dab some water around the edges of the wrapper. Add 1 tbsp of the filling in the centre. Note that the amount of filling will depend on the size of your wrapper. (You can check out my video below for stuffing and shaping). Push the filling with your finger and carefully press down to create a pouch. You can opt to add more filling as needed as you push down the filling. Add a pea if desired. Repeat for the remaining mixture and wrappers. Make sure to cover the finished siomai with a towel while you work on the others to prevent them from drying.
- Mix all the ingredients together and feel free to adjust to your liking! Calamansi are locally grown in the Philippines and they’re these tiny limes that are much more sour than regular limes, so they pack a nice sour punch. You can also use any other hot sauce if you don’t have chili garlic sauce!
Frying the Siomai
- Heat a large frying pan over high heat. Add enough oil to submerge at least half of the siomai.
- Once the oil is hot and bubbles, add in the siomai. Cook until golden brown and crisp for 2-3 minutes. Flip over if needed. Cook until golden brown and crisp throughout.
- Remove from the oil and drain out any excess oil by placing them on a strainer or on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Enjoy hot and serve with some dipping sauce!
Steaming the Siomai
- Heat a large pan enough to fit the bamboo basket or prepare your steamer. Line the basket or steamer with some parchment paper. Place the siomai at least 1/2-inch apart from each other.
- If using a bamboo steamer, add some water to the pan and leave it to boil over medium high heat. Note that the water should be enough the graze the bottom of the bamboo steamer and not submerge the steamer and wet the siomai underneath.
- Once the water boils, place the bamboo steamer onto the pan.
- Steam the siomai for around 8-10 minutes or until wrappers are translucent. Remove the basket from the pan or remove the siomai from the steamer. You can top the siomai with some chili garlic sauce and chopped green onions. Serve with some dipping sauce. Enjoy!
Storage and Freezing Tips
- Place wrapped uncooked siomai on a tray. Make sure there is enough space between each one so they don’t stick. Leave to freeze for 3-5 hours until hardened before transferring to a container or bag.
- To cook, steam the siomai from frozen (no need to thaw) for around 12 minutes or until wrappers are translucent. You can also fry the siomai from frozen.
- Freezing frozen siomai: you can fry all the siomai and freeze them after cooling. To reheat, place on an oven toaster from frozen and cook until crisp.