My Brother in law Mike, who is a very knowledgeable home cook, loves traditional Chinese food. So much so that my niece and nephew, although having fewer than a dozen years between them, can order all the tastiest dim sum by name. We tend to eat out quite a bit and he always recommends the finest food and restaurants whether we are craving American, Japanese, or Chinese food. Getting take-out or a seat at most places is not usually a problem, but whenever we try to get in at Kirin Seafood Restaurant, we are always too late. Known by many as having the best dim sum in Vancouver it’s the reason why getting a reservation without planning weeks ahead is so difficult. I had eaten dim sum before, but it was at Kirin that we were introduced to it in a formal way.
Siu Mai, otherwise known as shumai, shaomai or by various other spellings, is a traditional Chinese dumpling originating from Mongolia. The most popular Cantonese version of this dish is prepared with pork, shrimp, and mushroom. We will be using pork and shrimp for this recipe in addition to some Shaoxing cooking wine, sesame oil, ginger, and white pepper. Let’s omit the mushrooms this time because we are also making Korean mandu at the same time with pork and shrimp and wanted to use mushrooms in that recipe instead so the two dishes would taste quite different.
We start with the pork. The best cut of pork for this recipe is probably shoulder. It has a sufficient amount of fat to balance out the leanness of the shrimp (and mushrooms when used) but even still, some recipes call for the addition of pork back fat in order to make the dumplings extra succulent. We cut the pork into cubes and then used a food processor to mince into our desired consistency. It’s nice to have pork that’s a little chunky compared to regular ground pork for this recipe as it provides a bit of bite. We blitz the peeled shrimps to the same consistency.