1 large egg white
1 tablespoon sake
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons cornstarch (plus a little more for dusting the plate)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced scallions (white and green parts)
2 teaspoons fresh ginger (peeled and grated)
2 teaspoons fresh cilantro (finely chopped)
1/4 cup canned water chestnuts (drained, coarsely chopped)
1/4 cup carrot (peeled and grated)
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound crabmeat (drained, picked clean of shell and lightly
squeezed of excess moisture if wet)
about 24 raw green peas (fresh or frozen)
1 package shao mai or gyoza wrappers
Shao mai or gyoza wrappers are 3-inch-diameter rounds that are very thin. If you buy square wrappers, it’s easy to stack them in groups of 10 or so and shave the corners with a pair of kitchen shears to make rounds. For steaming the shao mai, a multi-tiered Chinese bamboo steamer with two steaming baskets works best. Set your bamboo steamer over a wok or a large saucepan partially filled with boiling water. If you don’t have a multi-tiered bamboo steamer, divide the dumplings between two pots with steamer baskets. (If you use metal steamer baskets instead of bamboo, lightly oil them first so the shao mai won’t stick.) If you like, you can make these ahead, chill, and reheat in the steamer baskets for about 5 minutes.
In a bowl, lightly whisk together egg white, sake, soy sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch, sugar, salt and pepper. Add scallion, ginger, cilantro, water chestnuts and carrot, and stir. Add pork and crabmeat and mix with a rubber spatula until well combined. Set a shao mai wrapper on your work surface and place a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center. Then gather up the edges of the wrapper, pleating it around the filling. Hold the dumpling between your thumb and index finger, squeezing it to form a ‘waist,’ while flattening the bottom of the dumpling with your other hand. The dumpling will be open on top, leaving the filling exposed. Press one pea into the center of the exposed filling. Set the dumpling on a large plate lightly dusted with cornstarch. Repeat until all the crab-pork mixture is used.
Fill a large saucepan or wok about halfway with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Divide the shao mai between two bamboo steamer baskets. Stack the baskets, cover with the lid, and place over the saucepan. Steam until the shao mai are cooked through (about 15 minutes), reversing the baskets about halfway through the steaming time. Remove the shao mai from the baskets and transfer to plates. Serve with ramekins of chili oil or chili paste. Makes 24 dumplings to serve 6.
This recipe courtesy Tom Douglas, Celebrity Chef, Restaurateur and Author.