This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Pork Siomai is a traditional Chinese dumpling. This popular dumpling has made its way to the heart of the Filipino’s as evidenced by the hundreds of stalls, eateries, and restaurants who serve them. Traditionally cooked through steaming, siomai nowadays are also served fried complemented with soy sauce and calamansi.
In Manila, the best siomai can be found in the Manila ChinaTown, which is considered as the oldest ChinaTown in the world. Several Chinese restaurants and even stalls serve different siomai varieties. While I love the traditional steamed shumai, deep fried works for me too.
This Siomai recipe that I have for you is the Cantonese variety. It basically makes use of ground pork and shrimps. Msuhroom can also be added based on your preference. I like this recipe because it is simple to prepare and the result is delicious. It is best served with a dipping sauce composed of soy sauce and calamansi. Having a small amount of chili garlic paste with it makes it even more delightful.
What is the origin of siomai?
This tasty viand or snack— depending on what you might eat it with— has its roots in Mongolia. In an era between the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty, siomai made its way to the market by being a perfect side dish to tea. This particularly surfaced in tea houses in Huhhot, Inner Mongolia.
This savory, meaty dumpling is definitely a Filipino favorite. And we love eating it both as it is solo, and with some freshly cooked rice. As such, you’ll probably find at least one siomai stand in practically every mall you go to in the Philippines. Its popularity today stems from just how simply delicious it is with its blend of perfectly mixed seasonings. But the story of its beginnings is actually quite an interesting tale.
But then as time passed by, people started to bring it over to other parts of the world, namely in China. And with its positive reception in places like Tianjin and Beijing, it soon became very popular. As we now know, merchants began to transport it in more and more countries. And the Philippines also received this delicious steamed dumpling with much delight. With its convenient size— perfect for simply popping into your mouth— it’s definitely very easy to eat and pair with side dishes.
You might also know it by other nicknames. Siomai also goes by different names depending on the country. Among these are shumai, shaomai, sui mai, and siew mai. But at the end of the day, it makes up a gorgeous mix of flavors in ground pork, shrimp, onions, and more ingredients stuffed in some tender wonton or dumpling wrapper.
And from this colorful array of ingredients, and its cooking method, you might be wondering if siomai could be good for you.
How to Cook Siomai
Making your own siomai at home is easy peasy. Make sure to have all the ingredients in the recipe below. You will also need a steamer.
Start by mixing all the ingredients in a large bowl, except for water and wonton wrappers. I am using Knorr Pork Savor Rich to make my siomai taste better. It really helps improve its flavor.
Once all the ingredients are well blended, wrap a tablespoon or more of the mixture in wonton wrappers. I suggest watching the video below for guidance. Arrange the wrapped pieces on a steamer. Make sure to leave a little space in between each piece to prevent the wonton wrappers from sticking to each other. You may also want to put cheesecloth over the steamer before covering. This prevents the water from dropping directly to the siomai during steaming.
Steam for 15 to 20 minutes. Enjoy this as an appetizer, a main dish, or a snack.
Try this delicious Siomai Recipe and let me know what you think.
Are there any health benefits to choosing to eat pork siomai?
Unlike a lot of our favorite Filipino dishes, we actually steam siomai instead of frying it. This way, we’re able to keep a lot of the nutrients in our ingredients even after we cook it. This is especially applicable for vitamin C. Also, there’s no danger of overcooking your food when you steam it. And so you maintain both its health advantages and flavor!
As for ingredients we’ll be using, since we won’t be frying, we are using sesame oil. This is definitely an ingredient that can be really good for you. Sesame, itself, contains copper and calcium. These can be very helpful with your bone development and growth. More sesame oil in your diet could mean slowing down the process of getting osteoporosis when you’re of older age.
The copper in sesame oil can also help your blood flow properly and adequately towards your organs. This is because it’s vital in the creation of red blood cells in your body. This slightly nutty-flavored and healthy ingredient also has a lot of anitoxidants. Sesamol is one particular dietary phytochemical that you can find in sesame oil. And this can aid in safeguarding you from DNA damage as a result of radiation.
But if there are certain ingredients you’d like to keep away from in pork siomai, whether it be for health reasons or just your personal taste, I’ve also got some alternatives for you.
How can I substitute the pork in this dish?
Despite how much flavor pork adds to this siomai recipe, there are ways to go around the dish without adding the ingredient. You can try using vegan mince in place of ground pork. This is perfect if perhaps you’re looking to turn this into a vegetarian recipe.
Vegan mince is made of wheat gluten, almonds, mushroom, tomato and soy flour. But ingredients may also vary depending on where you obtain this. If ever, you also have the option of adding some other components to tailor this to your taste.
But if you are having a hard time getting your hands on some vegan mince, you can always turn to shiitake mushrooms. These make for a pretty good meat substitute. This is because it maintains a delicious but mild earthy taste, and also adapts well to surrounding seasonings. The texture may also resemble the texture of meat.
Now if you are just a bit opposed to red meat or the taste of ground pork, you can always opt to use ground chicken instead. This would also go brilliantly with the flavors of our black pepper, scallions and other seasonings. But if you’re still trying to keep the recipe vegetarian, we can also replace our seafood ingredient.
How can I substitute the shrimp in this dish?
Some people would also have to think about keeping away from shrimp due to shellfish allergies. And so you could work with other components to take its place. For this, you can turn to vegan shrimp! This is often made with seaweed or sweet potatoes.
But in case you’re looking for other seafood alternatives for shrimp, you can also turn to squid or crab meat. These definitely do a good job of mimicking the juiciness and refreshing taste of shrimp. For crab meat in particular, you might be able to get more of a similar flavor to that of a classic crab and pork siomai recipe. This is also an immensely tasty blend of meaty and seafood taste.
Now let’s move on from alternatives to how you can best store siomai you’ve made!
What are some other dumpling recipes I could try?
Sometimes you really can’t help but crave some hot and fresh dumplings with that one of a kind flavor and tender texture. Well, if your favorite Pork Dumplings seem a little inaccessible to you now, feel free to try this recipe from home! It might initially seem intimidating to make dumplings from scratch, but you can look forward to the pay-off in choosing this. The flavors of ginger, cooking wine, Chinese chives, and more irresistible ingredients come together perfectly in this homemade dish. And even better, it will only take about 20 minutes of your time.
We definitely love the signature soft texture of siomai, but like most savory food, it actually also tastes fantastic with an added crunch. This Deep Fried Siomai recipe mixes in that delicious crispy texture with our delectably savory fillings that make this tasty dumpling. This is also a great viand alongside rice because of how perfectly its stronger flavor sits with some warm, white rice.
How can I store my pork siomai?
Considering how fun it is to make siomai in big batches, it would be a great idea to familiarize yourself with the storage of this dish. This can particularly work great for meal prep, as well as getting a special dish ready to bring to your next gathering.
It would be best to place the siomai evenly on a large plate or a tray that would fit your freezer. Keep in mind that it’s vital for there to be enough space among the siomai pieces so they won’t stick to each other. Once you’re done with this, put it in your freezer. Wait for these to freeze adequately with the exterior of the siomai hardened enough.
After this, you can take the plate or tray out of the freezer. We’ll be getting the firm pieces of siomai, and putting them in a freezer bag. This might be how you’d see pre-made siomai sold in the market. And this is because it really can preserve your siomai well. Then when they’re in the freezer bag, you can place the bag back inside the freezer. These would last for about 3 months in your freezer.
Freezing these also works best especially if you’re doing it for uncooked siomai. If you keep uncooked siomai in the refrigerator, there is danger of it becoming soggy. That, and the moisture from its ingredients inside might start leaking. But if you’re storing your siomai cooked, this can be really convenient for when you’re on the go, and just hoping to pop it in the microwave. Let’s talk about some of the ways in which you can reheat your cooked siomai!
What are the ways for me to reheat my pork siomai?
These methods would differ based on what equipment you’d like to utilize for reheating. Of course, a standard way of doing this would be using a steamer, just like in how we cooked our siomai in the first place. Simply place your siomai pieces in one layer on your steamer basket. Then after you’ve put your cover on top, you can wait for about 2 to 3 minutes for it to be reheated. Feel free to check if it might need more time, depending on how hot you’d like it to be.
Now if you have a skillet on hand, this would be another good way to steam your siomai and have them taste close to freshly cooked. For this, we’ll be putting the siomai in one layer inside the skillet. Then pour approximately 2 tablespoons of water inside, and put the lid on top. Like our previous method, we can just wait for about 2 to 3 minutes for this to be done.
However, another great way to reheat would be microwaving. This would work best for when you’ve just packed your siomai, as most cafeterias do have a microwave. That, and it’s a quicker process for heating when you’re in a bit of a rush. If you’ll be microwaving, you can put your siomai on a plate that isn’t too deep. Put a damp paper towel on top to stand as a cover and get that heat distributed nicely. Set the microwave to medium, and then let this reheat for about 20 to 30 seconds.
Now if you’ve tried your hand at pork siomai, and found yourself enjoying this delicious homemade dumpling, I have some recipes that would be perfect for you.
I hope that this answered some of your questions about pork siomai, but if you have any more, just comment below!
- 2 1/2 lbs ground pork
- 1 cup shrimp minced
- 2 sachets Knorr SavorRich Pork Seasoning 44g each
- 1 cup jicama minced
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup onion minced
- 1 cup carrots minced
- 1 piece raw egg
- 1/2 cup scallions minced
- 30 pieces wonton wrapper
- Water for steaming
- Combine ground pork and minced shrimp in a bowl. Gradually mix together.
- Add jicama, carrot, onion, scallion, egg, ground black pepper, and sesame oil. Continue to mix until all the ingredients are well blended.
- Add Knorr SavorRich Pork Liquid Seasoning. Mix well.
- Scoop 1 1/2 tablespoons of the pork mixture and wrap in wonton wrapper (see video below for guidance). Perform this step until the mixture is fully consumed.
- Arrange in a steamer and then steam for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Transfer to a serving plate. Serve with toyo and calamansi dipping sauce and some chili garlic paste.