Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Beef Siomai or Shaomai a la Jhala (Beef and Vegetable Dumpling)

Now among the most popular light meal or snack meal in malls and supermarkets in the Philippines, “siomai” has been causing quite a stir in the Philippine food scene. With the proliferation of mall kiosks and roadside stores selling freshly steamed and sometimes fried “siomai” at a very affordable prices, the family can now fully enjoy the delicious Chinese dumpling any day of the week without losing a big chunk of the already tight budget. It is a welcome reprieve for mothers who have kids and hubby, who love the tasty dumpling so much, but do not have the required time to regularly prepare one.

“Siomai” as called in the Philippines is a traditional Chinese dumpling also known as “shaomai”, “shumai”, “siu mai”, “shui mei” and “siew mai” among its many name variants. While originally, there were two regional varieties in China, the Cantonese and the Jiangnan versions, its introduction and wide acceptance in many parts of the world like the Philippines and other South East Asian nations, inevitably resulted to the evolution of many varieties, methods of preparation and using different ingredients.

I have been preparing ‘siomai”, a standard dish of the Chinese dim sum tradition, for many years now but regularly using pork (though sometimes with shrimp) as the main ingredient. It is a constant hit among my friends, colleagues and guests. Due to personal satisfaction, a colleague, Jhala, wittingly prepared a variant using minced beef in lieu of the usual ground pork. It came out quite successful so sharing the recipe here for interested readers to try is such a noble deed which we should take advantage of.

“Siomai” is a dumpling with the filling prepared from a combination of ground meat, finely chopped vegetables like water chest nut, jicama or “singkamas”, carrots, onion, mushroom, celery, green onions and spices and then formed into individual balls and wrapped with a thin sheet of special lye water dough. It is then steamed until fully cook through. Pork and shrimp are the regular ingredients but as I said Jhala chooses to utilize a leaner beef in this preparation.

In addition to about 3/4 kilo of ground beef, we need a pack of “siomai” or "molo" or wonton wrapper, 1 large carrots, 1 large onion, 2 stalks celery or cilantro, 1 large egg, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp freshly ground pepper and 1 tsp iodized salt or to taste. Additionally, we need some more soy sauce, “calamansi” or lemon extract and chili-garlic paste for the dipping sauce.

During the preparation however, Jhala realized they have jicama or “singkamas” and decided to use it in place the carrot.

To prepare, take 1/3 of the jicama or “singkamas”. Peel and finely dice or mince it and place in a mixing bowl. Add in minced onion, minced celery, ground pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil, minced beef and salt to taste. Properly mix all the ingredients.

Add in slightly beaten egg and continue stirring until the mixture is sticky and can be formed into balls. Take one tablespoon of the mixture at a time and wrap individually with the "molo" or wonton wrapper, fold and seal as shown below. Continue until all the mixture is wrapped up.

Meanwhile prepare the steamer. Boil the water and brush the bottom of the steamer with oil. When the water is briskly boiling, arrange the “siomai” in the steamer in batches and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked through.

Transfer the steamed “siomai” in a platter and serve warm. Accompany it with soy sauce, “calamansi”, sesame oil (optional) and lots of chili-garlic paste for a kicking dipping sauce. All I can I say is yum yum! More please! Try it and enjoy! c”)

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful! I'd like to try it with beef filling. Thank you for a very instructional recipe.



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