Vietnamese Style Shu Mai or “dumplings” to the uncultured.

Hello again, more eastern dishes for you this time, there has been a bit of a theme lately but i’m not sorry for it.

I have been planning to make dumplings for as long as i have had an interest in cooking that stretched further than attempting tinned soup and some cheese on toast as a nutritious university meal but always lacked the confidence to try. The idea of making tiny dough circles myself and steaming them was so far beyond anything i had ever tried i resolved myself to saving yet another recipe into my bookmarks never to be looked at again.

Then, i snapped out of it…

I stumbled across this recipe looking for something else and couldn’t get it out of my head, i found myself on a day off picking up the ingredients I needed on the high street, actively seeking out rice flour, weighing up whether it would be cheaper to buy pork mince on in a supermarket or butchers (turns out you can’t get it in a small supermarket, what the hell Co-op? However i got 1/2 kg for about £3 and froze half of it) and unpacked it all when i got home.

I was scared.

I was excited.

The first attempt was…a bloody mess. I had misread the recipe (cooking tips #1 is read and understand the recipe before you dive in headfirst). The parcels tore, the filling leaked but i couldn’t have cared less, i was finally making my own dumplings and no one could stop me! I was free from the shackles of fear and leaping into the light! I am possibly over egging it slightly but it was enlightening. I had filling left over so made more dough correctly and they looked fantastic. I highly recommend making double the recipe and freezing the extra for a quick midweek meal. My housemate tried a few and they got a thumbs up, hes addicted to the little blighters from the local takeaway and they tasted just as good (read better) than those.

Remember the below is one version of the dumplings, the possibilities are endless for fillings!

You can find the original recipe here

40g minus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons rice flour
1 ounce boiling water
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
225g ground pork (not lean)
115g pound cleaned uncooked shrimp ….. cut into small pieces
3/4 teaspoons grated garlic cloves
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/4 small onion ….. chopped
1 tablespoon corriander….. finely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 tablespoons cornflour
fresh red chilli….. thinly sliced

Put your two fours in a bowl, add boiling water and the oil and mix up with a fork. Once combined get in there with your hands (watch out its still hot) and knead it till its smooth and feels more elasticy. Cover it with cling film and pop it on the side out the way whilst you make your filling.

Get all the other ingredients, chop them up and put into a bowl (so easy!) use either your hands or a spoon to miz up all the ingredients until they are evenly mixed and a bit sticky.

This is the hard bit, you need to divide the filling into 24 portions, i recommend weight it and doing the maths else you will end up with not enough mixture and different sizes. Take each portion, roll into a ball and pop onto a baking sheet or similar out of the way and close at hand.

Get your dough and roll it into a long sausage, again some maths is required to chop it into 24 even pieces. You might be able to do this by eye and this means you are a wizard. Put your potions onto a floured plate or similar and work with one at a time. On a floured surface roll each ball into a 3 inch circle, put the wrapper on your thumb and index finger and put one of the small balls of meat on top. Slowly push down the shu mai into the hole between your thumb and index finger to wrap the wrapper around the meat ball. Push the edges of the wrapper inward in small folds covering the top edges of the meat.

Put the shu-mai on a floured plate or tray and cover with plastic wrap. Continue this process for the rest of the dumplings. Some will ook weird, some will rip and some will end up on the floor, its ok, you are allowed to cry.

Steam the dumplings in a steamer or colander with a lid on high heat for 6-7 minutes. Take one piece out of the steamer at the 5-minutes mark to confirm the meat is cooked through.

Serve with sweet chilli sauce or soy. If you haven’t had enough cooking there is a recipe for a dip on the website, i haven’t included it because i didn’t like it.

These are uncooked because i couldn’t wait. one greedy person can prob get through 8 before feeling sick

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