Simple pork shumai dumplings are so easy to make and taste so good that I always have hard time stop eating. The meat becomes so juicy, and with the dipping sauce (combination of soy sauce and rice vinegar) and a little dab of karashi (Japanese mustard), the flavors explode in the mouth. You can make the filling a few hours in advance, and just wrap in wonton skins right before steaming, so the wontons won’t get too wet and sticky. Very thin wontons skins are my choice and they are normally available at Japanese markets. Karashi is very hot, so if you are not familiar with it, try a tiny amount first to see how much you can handle.
EquipmentMushi Nabe or Bistro Mushi Nabe
If using a smaller size Mushi Nabe, cook the dumplings in separate batches.
Servings4 - 5 as part of a multi-course meal
- 14 oz (400 g) ground pork with higher fat content
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) finely-minced onion
- 1 teaspoon peeled and finely grated ginger
- 2 medium dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and cut into fine dice (caps only)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon katakuriko (potato starch)
- 1 tablespoon sake
- 1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and freshly-ground pepper
- A good pinch of raw brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 20 – 24 small wonton skins
- English peas, for garnish (optional)
- Soy sauce and rice vinegar, for serving (suggested ratio is 1:1 or to your preference)
- Karashi (Japanese mustard; also called, wagarashi), for serving
- Combine all the ingredients for the filling in a medium bowl. Knead the ingredients until they are well combined and nicely shiny and sticky. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- To make each shumai, take about 1 1/2 tablespoon of the filling with a spoon and wrap with a wonton skin. Top each with an English pea and push it in gently (optional).
- Get Mushi Nabe ready according to the basic donabe steaming instructions. Arrange the dumplings on the steam grate. Cover with lid and steam for about 5 – 6 minutes or until they are cooked through.
- To serve, each person has a dipping sauce ready by pouring some soy sauce and rice vinegar in a saucer. Put a small amount of karashi on one side of the same saucer. Dip a shumai in the sauce and dab a little bit of karashi on it to enjoy.
- To prevent the dumplings from sticking to the steam grate, use a perforated parchment paper for steamers or spread some bean sprouts, lettuce leaves, or napa cabbage on the steam grate before placing the dumplings.
- Variation: Pork and lotus root shumai…replace the dried shiitake mushrooms with about 3 oz (100 g) of lotus root (peeled and coarsely minced).
- Optional recipe: Stuffed shiitake mushroom shumai – Dust fresh shiitake mushroom caps with some katakuriko (potato starch) and fill with the meat mixture, then cover with shredded wonton skins. Steam accordingly.