recipe: pork belly & shiitake mushroom shu mai (烧卖)

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Shu mai (烧卖) is probably one of my top three favorite dim sum items (along with egg tarts and turnip cakes, of course), so here’s our family recipe to share with you guys!

They’re a part of the dumpling family, but are open-faced so you can see all the goodness inside!

The common type of shu mai are the Cantonese variations. Fillings generally include ground pork, dried shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, green onions, ginger and some variation of Chinese rice wine, soy sauce and sesame oil.

But while our family is from Guangzhou, we actually prepare a different version: the Jiangnan shu mai. The filling here is similar to what you’ll see in Zong Zi (Chinese Rice Dumplings).

The filling consists of Chinese cured pork belly in glutinous rice, soy sauce, rice wine, shiitake mushrooms and onion, where the rice and mushroom are stir-fried prior to filling the wrappers. Because of the glutinous rice, it is a lot easier to get full in a smaller amount. Not only that, they are also quite larger than the normal shu mai, but they’re still very much bite-sized!

The recipe that follows is one of my personal favorites, passed down from my grandmother, fine-tuned by my mother, and translated by me (yes, the least work of all haha). It’s not quite like either version above, as we added a bit more vegetables in it (a little bit like glutinous fried rice in a wrapping, if you will) and use wonton wrappers to save time. But I promise you will have a great time making these, and an even better time eating them!


  • Glutinous rice (3 cups)
  • Chinese Sausage (2 links)
  • Chinese Cured Pork Belly (2 links): can be purchased at store or made following this recipe (must be done significantly in advance though)
  • Bamboo shoots (one bag, 8 oz)
  • Carrots (1 large)
  • Green Onions (2 stalks)
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms (11 mushrooms)
  • Dried Shrimp (1/4 cup)
  • Soy Sauce (2 tbs)
  • Dark Soy Sauce (1/2 tbs)
  • Oyster Sauce (2 tbs)
  • Salt (1 tsp)
  • Sugar (1 tsp)
  • Wonton Wrappers (2 packs, enough to make about 60 shu mai)


  1. Soak the glutinous rice in water for 1 hour.
  2. As you wait, also soak the dried
  3. shiitake mushroom until they are soft.
  4. Drain the rice and place the sausage and pork belly onto the rice.
  5. Then, you can either steam it according to the instruction here, or cook it in a regular rice cooker (using less water than usual). Do this with the sausage and pork belly, so that the rice can soak up all the yumminess while the meat is cooked.
  6. Once rice is done, remove the sausage and pork belly.
  7. Dice the sausage, pork belly, bamboo shoots, carrots, shiitake mushrooms and green onions.
  8. In a wok, stir fry all the vegetables.
  9. Next, add the dried shrimp and the sausage and pork belly.
  10. Then, add soy sauce, dork soy sauce, oyster sauce, salt and sugar.
  11. Add steamed glutinous rice and combine (like a fried rice).
  12. Let cool.
  13. Take one wonton wrapper, and add the glutinous rice mixture into the wrapper as a filling. See video below for demonstration.
  14. Complete with all wrappers.
  15. Once done, bring a pot of water (steamer) to boiling.
  16. Place the shu mai in a steamer over the boiling water, and steam for 10 minutes.
  17. Cool and enjoy! You can dip them in sweet soy sauce, chili oil, or whatever your heart desires!


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