Shanghai Siu Mai Dumplings


Siu Mai is an infamous dim sum dish that originates from Hong Kong and is a staple when it comes to dim sum. Siu Mai usually consists of a ground meat filling, however, for this recipe I wanted to make the Shanghai version that uses sticky rice instead as a filling. The beautiful thing about these dumplings are a delicate tight wrapper with a bouncy umami infused sticky rice filling. With that said let's cook!

Cook Time 1 hour / Prep Time 1 hour

To make 24 dumplings


Siu Mai Wrappers:

255g Plain Flour

150ml hot water

2g salt

pinch of saffron (optional)

cornflour for dusting


300g sticky rice

300g pork belly

100g chinese sausage (optional)

10 dried shittake mushrooms

1 carrot

1 celery stick

15g ginger

2 tbsp 5 spice

2 tbsp cooking wine

2 tbsp dark soy

4 tbsp light soy

2 tbsp oyster sauce

3 tbsp sesame oil

black pepper

Additional Ingredients:

chilli oil recipe here

1/4 bunch chives



  1. Let's begin this recipe by making the sticky rice, before cooking add 300g of sticky rice to a bowl and fill with cold water then allow the sticky rice to soak for 2 hours. After 2 hours drain the rice through a fine sieve then when drained add the rice to a large plate or bowl that will fit inside a steamer. Next place the steamer onto a high heat and steam the rice for 1-1 1/2 hours until cooked. The length of time to tell when the rice is cooked may vary depending on soaking time and brand.

2. Whilst waiting for the sticky rice to cook we can also prepare the remaining ingredients to make the filling much more interesting. Start by placing 10 dried shitake mushrooms into a small bowl then cover with hot water. Allow the shiitakes to soak in the hot water until soft. Next cut 300g of belly pork into a rough mince by slicing into strips then into a small dice then cut 100g of optional chinese sausage into a small dice and place separately to one side. For the vegetables mince 15g of ginger, finely dice 1 carrot, 1 celery stick then when the shitake mushrooms are soft also finely dice. As for the stock made from soaking the shiitakes keep this to one side as we will use this later.

3. To bring the filling together, start by placing a large pan or wok onto a high heat. When hot add a small drizzle of cooking oil then add all of the minced pork belly and fry until crispy golden brown. Next to the pan add all of the diced chinese sausage, minced ginger, carrot, shiitakes and celery then continue to stir fry for a further 2 minutes. When the vegetables become fragrant add 2 tbsp of chinese 5 spice then deglaze the pan with 4 tbsp light soy, 2 tbsp dark soy, 2 tbsp oyster sauce and 2 tbsp of cooking wine. Mix well then add all of the mushroom stock saved from earlier and reduce by half.

4. When reduced remove the base of the filling from the heat then season with black pepper and additional soy if needed, when satisfied keep to one side for now. Next back to the sticky rice, you can tell the rice is cooked as it becomes fairly translucent. When ready remove from the steamer add the rice to the base and mix well to break up the rice. Add some sesame oil to help break up the rice then when evenly incorporated place into a bowl and allow to cool. We are looking for the filling to be neither too dry or too wet at this point as either or will make it difficult to fold the dumplings. This consistency can be achieved by added either more stock if too dry or reducing if too wet. Now the filling is ready and we can move onto making up the wrappers.

Siu Mai Wrappers:

5. Now that we have our filling all that's left is to make up the wrappers, these wrappers are essentially wonton wrappers and in Shanghai have a distinct yellow colour. Traditionally this yellow colour is made from using food colouring, however, I find using saffron gives that same colour and a touch of elegance also. Of cause the colour of the dumplings can be skipped but I will add this into the recipe regardless. Start by adding 150ml of hot water to a bowl then add a pinch of saffron. Mix well then in a separate large mixing bowl add 255g of plain flour and 2g of salt. Next, pass the saffron water through a fine sieve then slowly add to the flour whilst mixing constantly. When all of the saffron water is added begin to kneed the dough by hand until a smooth ball of dough is formed. Take care when kneading as the dough will be quite hot. When the dough is ready, cover with clingfilm and allow to rest for 45 minutes at room temperature.

6. After 45 minutes of resting the gluten should be much more active making the dough much more elastic and easier to make the wrappers. Start by pushing your thumb through the centre of the dough to form a hole. Then begin to rotate the dough and expand the hole to form a large ring piece of dough. When the diameter of the dough is approximately 1 1/2 inches, cut the dough into half to make 2 long logs of dough. Roll out each log so that the length and thickness are equal in size.