Various Ways of Enjoying Siomai
Click the image to expand it.
Siomai may have Chinese origins, but it has definitely become a favorite of many Filipinos.
Look around you. There are countless stalls, karenderias, and restaurants that serve them, aren’t there? There are even private individuals who sell siomai from the comfort of home. This is testament to how popular this traditional Chinese dumpling has become in the Philippines.
Now, what if you wanted to stop buying and start preparing your own siomai? Or perhaps you just want to know if there are other ways for you to enjoy this dumpling than what you’re used to. Well, then, read on for more information about this tasty treat.
This article will tell you about how siomai is prepared and what variations you can prepare or simply enjoy.
Taking Your Cue from the Original
Yes, there are now many versions of siomai, but the original is, of course, the one prepared by the Chinese. Perhaps the most popular siomai formula is the one with ground pork, mushrooms, and shrimp as main ingredients. And the traditional way of cooking this dumpling is by steaming.
If you’re in the mood for learning how to cook your own delicious siomai, then perhaps the best way to start is by learning the traditional Cantonese recipe. The beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity. All you need is some ground pork, minced shrimp, singkamas, carrots, white mushroom, onions, scallions, ground black pepper, salt, one raw egg, and sesame oil. Oh, and of course, don’t forget your won ton wrapper!
Preparing the dumplings is as easy as mixing all ingredients together, taking about a tablespoon of the mixture, and then wrapping it in the won ton wrapper. Once all of the ground pork mixture has been wrapped, you’re ready to do the steaming!
To prevent the dumplings from sticking to the steamer, don’t forget to brush some oil onto the surface before arranging the siomai on it. After about 15 minutes of steaming, you may check to see if your tasty dumplings are fully cooked. Enjoy!
For people who don’t eat pork, there is also a recipe for chicken siomai. And you don’t have to worry because it is just as good! In fact, you may appreciate the fact that it is a bit easier to prepare, as it involves fewer ingredients.
You will need ground chicken breasts, prawns, dark and light soy sauce, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Set aside half of the prawns and mince the rest. Mix the minced prawns with all other ingredients (except the prawns you set aside) and then refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, you may take the mixture out and start wrapping it. Place a slice of prawn on top of each wrapped dumpling. Grease your steamer, arrange the siomai in it, and then steam for about 15 to 20 minutes. Viola! You have mouthwatering homemade dumplings for you and your loved ones to enjoy.
Okay, so now you have two recipes straight from the Chinese. Are there any other varieties you can try? Of course, there are! Read on for more delicious siomai recipes and cooking info.
Under the Sea
Many people love seafood. If you do as well, then this siomai is definitely for you!
All you need are some shrimps, calamari steak, pork fat (yes, you need pork fat even in seafood dumplings), the white of two large eggs, potato starch, salt, sugar, white pepper, minced scallions, ginger juice, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, oyster sauce, and soy sauce.
Yes, I know. Judging from the ingredients alone, the process of making seafood siomai is a bit more complicated than either pork or chicken siomai. But if you really love dumplings and you’re extra fond of cooking, then a bit of complication shouldn’t stop you from giving simpler recipes a try, right?
Some bonus tips: Remove the vein from the shrimps and use your fingers in mixing the ingredients together. Mixing with your fingers helps you ensure that all ingredients are properly incorporated into the mixture.
And just as you did with the chicken siomai, it would also be best if you set aside some of the shrimp to top each dumpling with when wrapping it. And here’s an alternative to greasing your steamer: Line it with lettuce or napa cabbage instead.
This kind of dumpling typically cooks faster than pork or chicken, so you may want to check on it after eight minutes to see if it is ready to serve.
Whatever kind of siomai you choose to prepare—pork, chicken, seafood—you’ll likely want to savor it with some flavorful sauce. Most Filipinos have their siomai with soy sauce and calamansi, but you may also use other sauces, such as chili sauce, chili garlic sauce, or any special sauce you may prefer.
Your Favorite Siomai with a Twist
Whether your favorite siomai is pork, chicken, or seafood (you may even go for beef or veggie siomai if you like), you can enjoy it in ways other than dipping it in sauce and then eating it as is. Here are two examples of how you can enjoy this tasty dumpling in various ways and make other dishes more interesting:
- Use it to make misua and patola soup more filling.
Siomai isn’t the only food item we inherited from the Chinese. You can pair it up with another inherited food item—misua—to enjoy delicious soup, especially on a rainy day.
It is easy enough to prepare misua and patola soup. All you need to do is sauté a bit of onion and garlic in a pan, add a liter of water and a couple of pork cubes, allow it to boil, add the misua and patola, season with salt and pepper, and then add the siomai.
- Add it to the classic beef noodle soup.
Of course you know how to cook the classic beef noodle soup, right? Well, the good news is, siomai complements different types of noodles perfectly, which definitely makes it a good idea to add some to your beef noodle soup.
If you or your family is bored with the same old noodle soup recipe, throwing some delicious dumplings into the mixture is certainly a good way to make the soup dish way more interesting. Try it and you’ll see. Of course, remember to serve the soup hot.
- Prepare it as rice toppings.
Filipinos are rice eaters. There is no denying that. So what better way to enjoy good food than to bring two favorites together in one sumptuous preparation? Just steam some rice, prepare (or buy) whatever kind of siomai you prefer, and then put some steamed rice in a bowl and top with a few pieces of siomai.
This is great as a quick meal for the family, and you may even start a small business with it! To make the preparation even more interesting, you could use fried rice instead of steamed rice. To make a Chinese version of your toppings, place the siomai on top of Yang Chow fried rice.
Who says dumplings should always be steamed?
There are actually two other ways for you to cook your siomai without sacrificing its tasty goodness—searing or boiling—particularly if you’re planning to cook frozen siomai.
Before we go into the details of searing and boiling siomai, here’s a tip: You don’t have to defrost the dumplings before cooking them!
Alright, then, how do you sear siomai? Well, you’re going to need a non-stick pan (10-inch or bigger) with a lid. Once your pan is ready, you’ll have to follow these instructions:
- Place the pan under medium heat for about a minute and then add three to five tablespoons of cooking oil.
- Place the dumplings in the pan.
- Pour cold water into the pan, about half the dumplings’ height.
- When the water boils, cover the pan.
- Check on the dumplings every two minutes or so, making sure they are evenly heated. Cook until almost all of the water has evaporated.
If you want the seared dumplings to be extra crispy, here’s a tip: Mix five tablespoons of water with a tablespoon of flour and a tablespoon of vinegar. Add this mixture before the water completely evaporates and then cover the pan and wait for the liquid to completely evaporate.
If you want to try boiled dumplings, this is how you do it:
- Bring water to a boil over high heat. Add the siomai to the boiling water.
- Stir constantly so that the dumplings will not stick to the pot.
- Add 1 ½ cups of cold water and then bring to a boil.
- Add the same amount of cold water and bring to a boil again.
If you’re preparing fresh siomai instead of frozen, then you have one more cooking option. You may try frying it instead!
Siomai is one food item that’s almost impossible to resist. So enjoy it any way you want. Bon appétit!