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Siu Mai

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm so much into making a pefect siu mai. So, I have many questions to ask!
Here are some of it:
1. How do I make my siu mai firm and springy that you would feel inside your mouth the firmness and springyness of it?
2. How to remove bad odor of canned whole bamboo shoots!
post #2 of 12
Barbara Tropp says you can't, and my own experience says much the same. But you can certainly dull that odor.

I suggest bringing a smallish pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add a cup of inexpensive sake --- not cooking sake, if you can avoid it --- and return to a rapid boil over maximal heat. Drop in one canned bamboo shoot and boil hard for 10-15 seconds. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and drop into iced water. Repeat with another shoot, and so on.

For a simpler option, you might try just spreading out the canned bamboo shoots in a wide colander, laid in a single layer. Pour a lot of boiling water over the batch and let cool, making sure they're not sitting in the waste-water as they cool. This should help.

Ultimately, there is no substitute for fresh bamboo shoots, although frozen aren't half bad. You might search an Asian market: this is such a popular ingredient that you ought to be able to find it if you look.
post #3 of 12
Don't work the meat mixture too much. Form them gently to avoid overworking. But I've never had any I would describe as springy so if you could offer some more description of what you're looking for, that would be helpful.

Canned bamboo needs a good rinsing. Some would add a brief boil too, but I don't find that particularly necessary. There are vacuum packed bamboo available too that is often of better quality. Sometimes refrigerated, sometimes not. Check your asian grocer.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
um... the springyness that I'm talking about is if you push lightly on the top of siu mai the meat won't dissociate or scatter it would remain intact and firm. It bounce back a little also. If you have tried to eat siu mai in authentic chinese restaurant it is served as dimsum and you would know what I mean. Smashing the mixture to the bowl would help it make springy and firm. But I want to hear from you guys, especially to dimsum chefs that would help me. Thanks!
post #5 of 12
Instead of using ground pork, try using chopped or diced pork pieces (lean with just a little bit of fat). It's time consuming this will make them firmer. Over mixing the ground pork does make it watery.

There is no substitute for fresh bamboo shoots and there is no way you can take the smell of the canned one. Try using water chestnuts, drain them very well. You can also use jicama, Dice them a almost as big as your pork bits. These will give your shu mai crispiness.
post #6 of 12
There is a passably quick way to mince pork by hand.

Start with the heaviest sharp knife you have -- sharp is more important than heavy, in that a dull meat cleaver will produce horrendous results.

Cut the pork into medium cubes, give or take, and lay them in a rough log shape on the board -- wooden or SaniTuf, if at all possible, because this is rough on your knife. Hold the knife well back on the handle, near the butt. Flick the knife up with your wrist and let its weight drive the heel (the back 1/3 of the blade) into the pork, down to the board. Repeat. You will quickly develop a rhythm and can mince up and down the "log." Periodically regather the meat, which will tend to spread, and continue mincing as much as desired.

If your knife is both heavy and sharp, this is not a lot of work, albeit it takes a bit of time. A Chinese cleaver or Japanese deba-hocho is ideal, or a very long (more than 10") Western chef's knife.
post #7 of 12
Yes, hand-mincing is definitely the answer. It's the secret to a good fish/beef/pork ball and is key to an "al dente' siu mai. Don't pulverize it to the same fineness you would for a fish ball though.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
post #8 of 12

dim sum

I just made a batch last week and tried a new technique from and Cantonese cook book. I always use store bought ground pork and add shrimp paste I make at home (chopping fresh shrimp until it is a paste) I use 2 -1 ratio of ground pork to shrimp, then this time I kneaded the meats for 15-20 min (what I use to consider over working) like a bread dough, let it sit over night in the refrigerator.
After steaming that had the perfect spongy mouth feel with just a bit of resistance. Just like at a dim sum place.
post #9 of 12
For that "springy" texture in the meat, try mixing the filling in the food processor with a few pulses. You want the meat finer than ordinary ground pork, and more worked too.

The ordinary, "conventional wisdom" to use a slightly coarser grind with very little handling will give a fluffy and slightly crumbly consistency -- the sort of thing most people look for in Italian style meatballs, hamburgers, etc.

Because you're trying to create more density, you can do the things you'd normally avoid. But there's a limit. Don't run the food processor until it purees the mix into liquid or transfers too much heat. Use the steel knife, and (as I said) mix the pork, mushrooms, shrimp, etc., with just a few pulses. The speed of the knife will create enough heat and impact to bring the fat out of the pork and bind the paste. Just what you want.

Good luck,
post #10 of 12
1) usually i add some prawn into it , which add that nice texture (the better quality/ freshest of your prawn the better it will taste ), also you can add some of egg white and corn starch , and one thing that that my teacher always say is when you mix it ( with hand/ spoon ) make sure it only move in one direction.

oh also when you pack it, make sure you pack it tight and press it firmly , so there will no air inside, it make a nice texture. i usually use a special stick to fill in dumplings also with a lot of practice i'm sure u can make a great siu mai / xiao mai if we say it in mandarin ;)

2) i think you can't remove all can bamboo bad odor, so for me the best way is to use the fresh one. if you want to add it into you siu mai and hard to find fresh bamboo, you can repalce it with water chestnut ( fresh is better but can is ok )
post #11 of 12
For that springy texture, rice flour makes an interesting alternative to cornstarch. Not the same, and not better or worse, but worth trying. To make it work, though, you really do need the meat quite fine, as BDL suggests, and thoroughly packed, as Hime points out.

My understanding is that this is somewhat of a regional question. In Cantonese regions, they like the fillings to be smooth and springy, with all flavors married. To achieve this with normal steaming, you need it all very fine. That's the way the best dim sum is made, that being a Cantonese thing. But in Hunan, for example, they like dumpling fillings more chewy and meaty, which is where that pounding knife technique comes into its own.

Prawn is good. Crab is better -- but insanely more expensive!
post #12 of 12
Hi there,

I'll make it simple. I did my research about this and I was able to conclude things that will be very helpful to you. I have my own recipe but I cannot give it but I will give you tips. First, make sure all your ingredients are set aside to drip excess liquids. Second, Think of how they make hotdogs they mix cornsyrup, binder, and dry seasonings. Third, think of bakso or the beef meatballs i ate in Malaysia they finely ground the meat in a special stainless container with blade and ice cubes on the sides together with ice water. Fourth, when I make my siu mai I think of this seasonings i have to put must be dry as much as possible, Liquid seasonings must be thick or can be used in a minimal amount that will not affect the texture of your filling. Lastly, main secret for taste "prawns and a bit of sesame oil" and let the mixture be refrigerated first for three hours to let the filling become more flavorful before wrapping.
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