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From South China, 'Dumplings' are a misnomer, I believe. These are really 'open-faced' won tons. Or, at least, best made from won ton skins or wrappers or their round kin 'gyoza' skins. Occasionally, I've seen recipes where the pastry for Shui Mai was made from a dumpling dough recipe and this may be the source of the confusion.

Shui mai are usually open along their top side, sitting flatly with their ends pinched closed. They are always steamed once the filling is added. Since this process doesn't enhance the color of the wrapper, the fillings are sometimes chosen for their colors as well as flavor.

Two types of fillings SAVORY and SWEET are used. Thus, they are very similar to Won Tons.

I recommend buying the won ton skins or the gyoza round skins for Shui Mai. However, you can make your own.

Below is a sample recipe for 'skins':

* SKINS makes: 24 *

2 + 1/2 c. flour 1/2 c. water, boiling 1/4 c. water, cold 1 Tbls. lard or shortening

1. Put 2 cups of flour in a bowl. Reserve remainder. 2. Add boiling water and mix well. 3. Add lard and cold water. 4. Knead into a smooth dough. Use reserved flour as necessary. 5. Form into 'french bread' long loaf. 6. Cut into 24 pieces. 7. Roll into a thin two inch circle. Repeat with all pieces.

Below are directions for finishing Shui Mai:


1. Place a 'skin' across a hollow 'ring' made by your index finger

 meeting the tip of your thumb.

2. Using a 'soup' type spoon place a reasonable amount of filling

 on the gyoza skin.

3. Depress the filling and skin through the 'ring' leaving an opening

 at the top edge.

4. Set shui mai with the open side up, like a boat, or drawstring purse. 5. Press down the filling so it is smooth.

Your shui mai should look something like this:

               ../ filling   \.
              /  \.........../ \

6. At this point you can add a green pea or some chopped ham,

 crab, mushrooms, scrambled egg, or seaweed in the top
 opening for color if you want.

7. In some cases, you can use cabbage, lettuce, or other leaf as

 a base upon which to set the filling.  Thus, there is no skin
 used at all to hold the meat ball.

Assemble all of them before the next step.


8. Put a good amount of water in your wok. Bring to a boil. 9. Lightly oil the rack or bamboo steamer basket so shui mai

 won't stick while steaming. Can also use a cloth.

10. Place basket or rack in wok above boiling water. 11. Place filled shui mai on rack and cover tightly with wok


12. Steam 5 to 10 minutes or till done. 13. Remove from wok and serve in steaming basket.

All the recipes in this file require you to use either gyoza or won ton skins for the appetizers. Be sure you have enough on hand.

The shrimp used in the recipes in this file is uncooked.


SAVORY FILLINGS: _ * BEEF SHAU MAI Makes: 24 * 1 lb. beef, ground 1 Tbls. wine 2 Tbls. coriander, chopped 1/2 Tbls. sesame oil 1 Tbls. orange peel, chopped 1 tsp. sugar 3/4 tsp. salt 24 cabbage leaves 1/4 tsp. pepper 1. Combine wine, sesame oil, sugar, salt, and pepper. 2. Mix coriander and orange peel with the ground beef. 3. Marinade in the wine mixture for 10 minutes. 4. Make meatballs. 5. Place the meatball on a leaf. 6. Steam and serve. ————————————————————— * FOUR FLAVOR DUMPLINGS (shrimp) Makes: 24 * This is complicated to assemble so shape carefully. 5/6 lb. shrimp, shelled Sauce: 1 + 1/2 oz. pork fat 1 Tbls. wine 1 c. bamboo shoots, pre-cooked 1 Tbls. cornstarch 1 Tbls. green onion, chopped 2 tsp. sugar 1 Tbls. ginger root, chopped 3/4 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. pepper Toppings: green onions, chopped carrot, chopped egg yolk, soft scrambled egg white, stir-fry till solid 1. Combine sauce ingredients together. 2. Rinse and devein shrimp. Cut into three pieces. 3. Dice pork fat. 4. Sliver bamboo shoots and squeeze out water. 5. Mix fat, shrimp, sauce, bamboo shoots, and ginger root together. 6. Place a small spoonful of filling on gyoza skin. 7. Now comes the hard part…. You want to make a 'four-leaf clover' shape. 8. Bring the opposite edges together at mid point and seal tightly. Leave most of these edges open except right at the center. 9. Now bring the open ends in toward the center till they meet the mid point where the sides are joined. Seal the ends to that mid point. Be sure to leave four openings along these edges you have joined. Shape them if necessary. 10. Dust the top of each opening with a different topping so there are four different colors on this Shui Mai. Repeat. 11. Steam and serve. ————————————————————— FIVE COLOR HSAO MAI (pork) Makes: 20 1 large onion, finely chopped 2 Tbls. rice wine 1/2 c. cornstarch 1/2 tsp. salt 1 + 3/4 c. lean pork, ground 1/2 tsp. sugar 1 Tbls. soy sauce Toppings: 1 Tbls. sesame oil pinch pepper seaweed 1/2 tsp. ginger, chopped 3 slices cooked ham 1 small can crab meat 3 mushrooms 2 egg yolks, scrambled chives peas 1. Combine cornstarch and onions. Mix well. 2. Mix all the seasonings together ( wine, salt, sugar, soy sauce, siesame oil, pepper, ginger. 3. Place the ground pork in a bowl and add the seasoning mixture. Mix well like meat loaf until smooth. 4. Add in the onion mixture and blend well. 5. Assemble shui mai 'dumplings'. 6. Add various toppings, one type to each shui mai. 7. Steam and serve. ————————————————————— * PHOENIX EYE DUMPLING Makes: 24 * This is complicated to assemble so shape carefully. 2/3 lb. pork or beef Sauce: 6 water chestnuts, chopped 1 Tbls. cornstarch 1/3 carrot, chopped 1 Tbls. wine 3 oz. shrimp, shelled 1/2 Tbls. sesame oil 1 Tbls. green onion, chopped 2 tsp. sugar 1 Tbls. ginger root, chopped 3/4 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. pepper Toppings: shrimp, shelled mushroom, black, chinese, presoftened 1. Combine sauce ingredients. 2. Add meat to sauce. 3. Add water chestnuts, carrot, shrimp, onion, and ginger root. Mix thoroughly. 4. Place a spoonful of filling on a gyoza skin. 5. Now comes the tricky part… making the 'eye'. 6. Bring two edges of the skin together to meet in the middle, or fold together. seal the ends at this mid point so you form a shape similar to a taco or noodle yet open at the new ends. 7. Now fold together, again, bringing the two open ends toward the sealed mid point. Folding these two ends toward the middle should flatten them to a fan shape. Hold a finger on each side of the mid point as you draw the open ends up with other fingers. Don't attach the open ends to the mid point or seal the opening closed. 8. With this new folded shape, the points of the flattened open ends of the opposite sides will be near each other and should be sealed together. 9. You should have two long cresents of filling surrounding the two smaller ovals which form the pupils of the 'eye'. 10. Dust the ovals with the toppings. 11. Steam and serve. ————————————————————— * PORK SHAU MAI Makes: 24 * 1 lb. pork loin Marinade: 1 + 1/3 oz. pork fat 1 Tbls. wine 4 black mushrooms, Chinese, presoftened 1/2 Tbls. sesame oil 1 bamboo shoot, precooked 1 tsp. sugar 3/4 tsp. salt 24 Green Peas 1/4 tsp. pepper 1. Make marinade. 2. Dice pork loin, pork fat, mushrooms, and babboo shoot. Combine and mix well. 3. Add marinade and blend thoroughly. 4. Assemble Shui Mai. 5. Place green pea in center of each Shui Mai. 6. Steam and serve. ————————————————————— * QUAIL EGG SHAU MAI (pork & shrimp) Makes: 20 * 1/3 lb. pork loin Sauce: 1/6 lb. shrimp, shelled 1/2 Tbls. wine 1 + 1/2 pork fat or lard 1/2 Tbls. sesame oil 1/2 bamboo shoot, precooked 2 tsp. cornstarch 1 tsp. sugar 20 Quail eggs 1/2 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. pepper 1. Mix sauce ingredients together. 2. Dice pork loin, shrimp, fat, and bamboo shoot. 3. Place in bowl and add sauce. Mix thoroughly. 4. Boil the quail eggs until hard (about 5 min.). Shell. 5. Place a quail egg in gyoza skin. 6. Top with a spoonful of pork/shrimp mixture. 7. Smooth filling. 8. Turn Shui Mai up-side-down in steamer. 9. Steam and serve. ————————————————————— * SHRIMP SHAU MAI Makes: 24 * 1/2 lb. shrimp, shelled Sauce: 2 Tbls. pork fat or lard, ground 1/2 Tbls. wine 1/2 c. water chestnuts, chopped 1/2 Tbls. sesame oil 3 Tbls. coriander 2 tsp. cornstarch 1 tsp. sugar 24 shrimp, shelled with tail intact 1/2 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. pepper 1. Chop 1/2 lb. of shrimp coarsely. 2. Combine sauce ingredients together. 3. Add sauce to shrimp and mix well. 4. Add water chestnuts and coriander. Blend. 5. Place a spoonful of shrimp mixture on gyoza skin. 6. Top with a tailed shrimp. 7. Cover the tailed shrimp with a skin and wrap the shrimp and filling together. Leave the tail sticking out. 8. Steam and serve. ————————————————————— * SHU MEI (pork & ham) Makes: 12 * 1/2 lb. pork, ground 1/2 tsp. salt 3 Tbls. cornstarch 2 tsp. lighy soy sauce 8 water chestnuts, minced 1/2 tsp. sugar 1/4 c. bamboo shoots, minced 1 tsp. sesame oil 1/4 c. roast/boiled ham, Chinese 1 Tbls. dry sherry dash of pepper 1. Mix all the ingredients together. Blend well. 2. Assemble shui mai. 3. Steam and serve. ————————————————————— * SIU MAI ( pork & shrimp) Makes: 12 * 6 mushrooms, chinese, chopped 1/2 tsp. salt 2 bamboo shoots pinch white pepper 2/3 c. shrimp, shelled 1/2 tsp. sugar 1 green onion 2 Tbls. veg. oil 2 eggs 2 Tbls. cornstarch 12 oz. pork, ground 1 tsp. sesame oil 2 Tbls. peas 1. Finely chop bamboo, shrimp, and green onion. 2. Lightly beat eggs. 3. Combine eggs, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, shrimp, pork, and peas in a bowl. 4. Add rest of ingredients. Mix thoroughly. 5. Assemble Shui Mai. 6. Steam and serve. ————————————————————— ————————————————————— SWEET FILLINGS:

* SWEET RICE SHAU MAI (pork or beef) Makes: 32 *

1 + 1/2 c. sweet rice Sauce: 1 c. pork or beef, diced 2 Tbls. soy sauce 1/4 c. mushrooms, black, Chinese 1/2 Tbls. wine 1/4 c. dried shrimp, diced 1 tsp. sugar

                                          1/2 tsp. salt

2 Tbls. green onion tops - 'rings' 1/4 tsp. pepper 2 Tbls. egg sheet, diced

1. Cook the rice. 2. Stir-fry meat, mushrooms, and dried shrimp. 3. Combine sauce ingredients. 4. Add sauce to meat mixture. 5. Add rice to the meat mixture. Mix well. 6. Assemble Shui Mai. 7. Decorate with onion top 'rings' or diced egg sheet. 8. Steam and serve.


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