Continues from yesterday’s post…
In northern China, we usually compare ‘Shaomai’ to ‘Baozi’, but of course, ‘Shaomai’ is more delicate, I mean the real beautiful one. :) ‘Ma jia Shaomai’ is just very special from every angel. Its pastry wrap is almost ‘transparent’ after steaming, while the top edges remain loose like a flower, and from the top you can see the filling shyly revealing itself. It is usually smaller than ‘Baozi’, the traditional filling is beef mince (it is rarely pork or any other meat, since it is from ‘Hui’ ethnic group, a Chinese Islamic ethnic group).
Here you go how to make it at home. As I said, I cannot make it even comparable to ‘ma jia Shaomai’, but I think it is enough to easy my thirst towards ‘Shaomai’, since it is impossible to get it outside China. :)
Making the pastry wrap.
1) Different to ‘Baozi’, the flour dough for ‘Shaomai’ does not need flour to raise up, rather, just knead the flour with quite warm water (with plain flour), then leave the flour to settle for about 20 minutes.
The flour used is normally ‘extra sifted’, it is very fine and white. But in the picture, I just used normal plain flour, which you can see the colour of ‘Shaomai’ after steaming is not as ‘white’ as it is supposed to be. :(
2) Divide the dough into smaller ones, say, probably 4cm dimeter a small ‘ball’?
3) Then press the small dough flat, and use a rolling pin roll it into a flat sheet. Ideally, it would be nice as ‘dumplings’ pastry wrap — thinner around the edges, but thicker in the centre. Overall, the sheet should be thin, but not thinner than dumplings’ pastry sheet, for example.
4) Ok, this is the very different part to the other pastry wraps — working on edges of the flat sheet. The professional chef (like my dad :) ) would use that kind of rolling pin with an extra rolling part in the middle, then press it against the edges — only stretch the edges, oh, before doing that, you need to put on lots of corn flour (or rice flour) on the edges. If you are like me, but that professional, there is an easiest way of doing it :) — still need to add lots of corn flour (or rice flour) on the edges, then either use rolling pin focusing on the edges, or use fingers to stretch the edges carefully. — Like this, you can get ‘water lily’ leaves sheet.
Making the filling
As I said, northern ‘Shaomai’ is also comes with meat fillings, normally it is just meat mince with spring onion and ginger, but since I always like to mix it with some vegetables, this time, I used carrot. The rest is still the same as for making the other fillings.
Mix ‘minced’ carrot with beef mince, mix with ‘minced’ ginger, 1 spring onion, 3 tablespoons of oil, 1 flat teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of ground five spices, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, and 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of cooking wine.
Wrapping ‘Shaomai’ is much easier than dumplings or ‘Baozi’, it is literally just gather the edges together, it doesn’t even have to be ‘sealed’ tightly.
Put a pastry sheet on the palm, then a tablespoon of the filling (depends on the size of your pastry sheet), use the fingers go from the bottom to the somewhere around 1cm to the top edges, and give it a squeeze, (no need to be tight though), so that the edges would just ‘naturally’ loose from the centre.
Place prepared ‘Shaomai’ onto the steamer sheet, add enough water to the steamer. Steam the ‘shaimai’ with strong fire for about 8 minutes after the water boiling.
‘Shaomai’, especially with meat mince, needs to be served hot, straight away after steaming. The rest of it is almost same as dumplings and baozi, for example, the dip can be a mixture of light soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and chili oil if you like. :)
It is normally served as main food for a meal, can be served alone, or with soup. For the custom of having Chinese food, see my previous post. :)
Phew… Eventually finished ‘cooking’. Hope you like it! :)