Shanghai Shao Mai

January 11, 2015
4 Ratings
  • Makes 20 dumplings
Author Notes

Shanghai shao mai, more commonly known as pork shu mai, is a common breakfast street food in Shanghai, China. Slightly different from the ubiquitous dim sum shu mai, which is made with pork and shrimp, Shanghai shao mai is specific to the Jiang Su region and is filled with sticky rice and pork. My mother, who was born in Shanghai, often cooked these for me as I was growing up.

Many of the ingredients can be found at Asian supermarkets and, once purchased, last for a long time, which means you can make several batches of dumplings without having to make another trip to the store. —Betty

What You'll Need
  • 3 cups glutinous sweet rice (sticky rice)
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil (plus some to coat the pan)
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 3 scallion stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 packet shao mai skin (or wonton wrappers)
  1. To prepare the sweet rice, soak it in cold water overnight, or for 8 to 10 hours.
  2. Drain the rice. Line a steamer with cheesecloth, and spread rice across the surface. Steam until cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Remove rice and let cool. Cover with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.
  4. Heat up a wok. When wok is steaming, add cooking oil. Add ground pork and cook until browned. Add soy sauce and stir, then add cooking wine and sugar. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add water to just above meat level, then add in ginger. The pork mixture should be a bit salty. If not, add 1 more tablespoon of soy sauce.
  5. Add in sweet rice to the pork/sauce mixture until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and fold in scallions. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet or a shallow pan and let it cool to room temperature.
  6. To wrap the shao mai, take a shaomai skin (or wonton wrapper) and place 1 tablespoon of rice in the middle. Holding the wrapper at its bottom, start loosely pleating the edges. Once you’ve pleated the circumference, start to hold the pleats together and fold them back onto each other to form an accordion shape around the rice. Twist the edges together as if you were twisting a plastic baggie and push down, forming a little pouch of rice. Unwrap the edges to form a tiny cup-shape, and stuff more rice in. Set aside.
  7. Once you’ve finished wrapping the shao mai, steam for 10 minutes, then remove and enjoy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jennifer Georgia Sparling
    Jennifer Georgia Sparling
  • Betty
  • El Gallego
    El Gallego
betty is a food blogger and wedding photographer based in Boston, MA.

6 Reviews

Jennifer G. March 12, 2015
Have you tried freezing these before steaming them?
Betty March 12, 2015
Hi! The best way to store these are to cook them first by steaming them, then freezing them on a baking sheet. Once they are frozen, you can transfer them to plastic bags or a storage container. You can either microwave or steam them to reheat.
Jennifer G. March 12, 2015
Oh great. Thank you! So excited to make these. They were my favorite in Shanghai.
Betty March 12, 2015
Yay!! Same :). I would get it for breakfast in those little plastic bags every day.
El G. January 18, 2015
Looks great and want to give this a try, but just wondering if that is three cups of raw or cooked rice?
Betty January 18, 2015
Hi El! It's three cups of raw sweet glutinous rice.