Shui-mai, sometimes spelled sui mai; are comely little dumplings, resembling a small drawstring bag partially opened to reveal the filling. Traditionally they are made with pork and shrimp, but my version is meat free and intensely mushroomy. Decorate them with a few green peas and a cilantro leaf peeping out of the open part of the purse.
Shoyu is the most common soy sauce, made from a blend of soy and wheat, and readily available at all supermarkets
Makes25 to 30
Total Timeunder 2 hours
OccasionCocktail Party, game day
Recipe Coursehors d'oeuvre, hot appetizer
Dietary Considerationegg-free, lactose-free, low cholesterol, low saturated fat, low-fat, vegan
Taste and Texturecrunchy, light, umami
- 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, quartered
- 4 ounces traditional-style seitan, well rinsed and coarsely diced
- 4 ounces button mushrooms, wiped and quartered
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon mirin (Japanese rice wine) or sherry
- 1½ teaspoons sugar or Rapadura
- 1 teaspoon tamari or shoyu soy sauce (see Notes)
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 scallions, roots removed, white and 4 inches of green finely diced
- 1/3 cup fresh snow peas or sugar snap peas, diced
- 1/3 cup finely diced jicama
- About 30 (½ package) 3- to 3½-inch gyoza skins
- Cooking spray
- Shelled peas, fresh or frozen
- Cilantro leaves
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup tamari or shoyu soy sauce (see Notes)
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon minced peeled ginger
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon sriracha or other hot sauce (optional)
In a food processor, combine the shiitakes, seitan, button mushrooms, cornstarch, mirin, sugar, tamari, sesame oil, and salt. Buzz to a paste, pausing from time to time to scrape down the sides. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and stir in the scallions, snow peas, and jícama. Let stand to blend flavors, about 30 minutes.
Set the wrappers on your work counter, covering with a slightly damp clean kitchen towel. Have the filling handy, and a few plates that have been sprayed with cooking spray on which to place the finished dumplings.
Place 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon of the filling mixture smack dab in the middle of a round wrapper. Draw the edges up around but not over the filling on all sides, pinching in a little, moistening the upper edge, by moistening your thumb and forefinger into water as you pinch and pleating the edges (see what I meant about the drawstring bag effect?). Flatten the bottom a bit, so that the dumplings can stand upright. Please note that you should see a good little bit of the filling—an inch or so. Repeat until filling or wrappers or both (if you’re lucky!) are used up.
Press 3 peas into the top of the exposed filling. Steam the dumplings in a metal steamer or right on the plate. This works if you don’t have a metal steamer, but do have a pot, wok, or Dutch oven large enough to accommodate the dumpling plate with at least 1 inch of space between the edge of the plate and the pot, through which the steam can rise. Place an upside-down heatproof bowl or empty can in the bottom of the pot to act as a pedestal for the dumpling plate. Pour in water to a depth of about 2 inches or whatever’s adequate so that the bowl or can will project slightly above the water level. Set the dumpling-filled plate on top of the bowl or can. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Steam, tightly covered, until the filling’s hot and the wrapper is soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the shui-mai from the steamer and poke a cilantro leaf onto the top of each one. Serve hot, with dipping sauce.
For the Dipping Sauce: Combine all of the ingredients. Place on the table in small bowls so that each guest has his own private dipping stash. If making a large batch, cover and refrigerate.
2002 Crescent Dragonwagon