• Prep Time:
  • Cooking Time:
  • Serves: 15 Servings

Open-Face Steamed Dumplings (Shao Mai)

  • Recipe Submitted by on

Category: Chinese, Vegetarian, Appetizers

 Ingredients List

  • ----------------------------------WRAPPERS----------------------------------
  • 2/3 c All-purpose flour
  • 2 tb -Hot water, plus:
  • 2 ts -Hot water


5 oz Regular or firm tofu
1 1/2 ts Tientsin preserved cabbage
minced (packed)
1 tb Presoaked & minced tree ears
1 tb Presoaded & minced lily buds
3 tb Black or shiitake mushrooms
(presoaked & minced)
1 1/2 ts Green onion, minced
1 ts Sesame oil
1 ts Vegetable oil
1/8 ts Salt
2 ts Soy sauce

3 tb Water chestnuts, minced
3 tb Black mushrooms, minced
3 tb Bamboo shoots, minced
3 tb Carrot, minced
2 ts Green onion, minced
1/2 ts Gingerroot, minced
1 tb Soy sauce
1/4 ts Cornstarch
1 1/2 ts Sesame oil

Soy sauce
Mushroom soaking liquid
Sesame oil

These little open-faced steamed dumplings, a popular item in dim sum
teahouses, are a special treat, for you seldom see a vegetarian version.
With their flowerlike appearance and savory filling, they are an attractive
luncheon dish. You can use the ready-made wrappers, sold in refrigerated
or frozen sections of some markets ("shu mai skins"). "Suey gow skins" or
"gyoza wrappers" are too thick and will dry out during steaming. Wonton
wrappers can be substituted, but trim off the pointed corners. Better yet,
prepare your own wrappers according to the directions below.

DIRECTIONS: To prepare wrappers, combine flour and hot water.
Knead a couple of minutes into a smooth dough; cover and let rest at least
1 hour. Place on a lightly floured board, and knead for 2 minutes or so.
With palms of your hands, roll it into a long, cylindrical shape, 7-1/2
inches inches long, 1 inch in diameter. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces;
you will have 15. If your climate is dry, keep the dough covered. Shape
these, cut-side up, into a round shape. Flatten them with the palm or heel
of your hand on a flour-dusted board. With a pastry roller, small rolling
pin, piece of dowel, or even an empty jar all of these should be wielded
under the palm of your hand roll each into a round wrapper, 3-1/2 inches
in diameter, thicker in the center, thinner toward the edge. This is easily
done by rolling the pastry roller from the edge of the piece of dough to
the center, and back again, turning the dough counterclockwise a little
with your left hand after each roll. Continue all the way around several
times, also turning the dough over once or twice, until you have a thin,
3-1/2 inch wrapper.

Prepare Filling A or B by combining the ingredients. Place approximately 1
tablespoon filling on the center of each wrapper. Holding the wrapper on
your left fingers, encircle it from below with your right thumb and index
finger, gathering the wrapper up around the filling. Squeeze gently around
the middle to make a kind of neck; some of the filling should emerge at the
top. The bundle should hold together securely or it will collapse during
steaming. Pat the bottom with your left hand to make a flat base. If the
skin is not too floppy, you can also turn the edge slightly outward (like
an open flower), pinching it if necessary to make it secure.

Place a layer of damp cloth in a bamboo steaming basket or on a flat,
perforated race (you can use a heatproof plate if you have neither of
these, but circulation of steam is somewhat impaired this way). Arrange the
shao mai on it. With the rack well above the boiling water in a steamer,
steam for 10 minutes (if frozen, do not defrost first). They will stick to
the cloth, but if you wash and reuse the same cloth each time, they will
not stick as much.

Serve while still hot, before the skin hardens as is, or with small
dipping saucers of soy sauce and mushroom liquid (from the black
mushrooms), mixed in equal proportions. Add a few drops of sesame oil.

Advance preparation: These can be assembled in advance, frozen, and steamed
just prior to serving.

* Source: The Fragrant Vegetable, by Martin Stidham * Typed for you by
Karen Mintzias

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