Traditional Cantonese Siu Mai 燒賣 dumplings are steamed pork dumplings that often include shrimp and mushrooms and are topped with minced carrots, green pea, or fish roe. This type of dumpling is popularly enjoyed in Dim Sum restaurants or at street food stalls. They are called siu mai because in Chinese, Siu Mai means "to sell quickly" and they usually do because they are such a tasty food that is easy to make and even easier to eat! At the dim sum restaurant, they will usually come in a bamboo steamer, whereas in a street stall, they may be served in a cup with skewers to eat, or served already on a skewer for easy travel and eating!
For me and my hubby, siu mai is a dish that we always ordered whenever we went with our families and friends to dim sum, a staple that you simply need to get in order to have a complete and satisfying dim sum experience. Other dim sum staples include cheung fun (steamed rice noodles) and har gao (crystal skin shrimp dumplings). Since the start of the COVID19 pandemic, I have been slowly learning to recreate our favorite dim sum dishes at home, from ha cheung (steamed rice noodles with shrimp) to lo bak go (steamed/pan-fried turnip cake), and now siu mai!
Try some of my other dim sum recipes:
Shrimp Cheung Fun
Chinese Turnip Cake
The filling for siu mai is very similar to our Shrimp & Pork Wonton filling in that it involves shrimp and pork and similar seasonings, and for the wrappers you can also use wonton wrappers. However, if you are able to find siu mai wrappers at your local Asian super market, I highly recommend using those as they are even thinner than wonton wrappers and lends to a much more authentic siu mai texture.
Some tips for making delicious siu mai ingredients:
Making siu mai is simple! After mixing all your dumpling filling ingredients, let it marinate for about 4-6 hours and then you are ready to wrap the siu mai. The siu mai are wrapped as an open faced dumpling, meaning you don't close all the edges as you would in a normal boiled or pan fried dumpling, and you see the meat filling. The dumpling is shaped in such a way that the bottom is flat and sits straight up in the steamer.
Once your dumplings are made, you top it with your choice of either finely minced carrots or fish roe. This gives extra flavor to your dumpling with subtle sweetness (for carrot), whereas the fish roe adds a bit of saltiness with the briny ocean flavor. It is minor, but it definitely levels up the variety of flavors and textures of your siu mai and is so delicious! I also like to add a single green pea on top of each siu mai for color, and honestly it doesn't add a whole lot to the flavor, but it looks cute and is what I see at many dim sum restaurants so it make the siu mai feel more legit when eating it at home, haha!
Now that I have mastered making siu mai at home, I want to try frying them in a tempura-like batter for added crispy texture outside--I have a feeling it would be dangerously delicious! I hope you enjoy this steamed siu mai recipe as much as we do and try it out at home!
STEAMED SHRIMP & PORK SIU MAI
Until next time,
Faiai Eleni is a savory coconut fish stew that we first enjoyed when we were on our honeymoon in Hawaii, at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie. We participated in an AirBnB experience called "Prepare Polynesian food in a Fire Pit" and although sadly I don't see it offered on AirBnB any more, I'm sure there are other ways to participate in it on the island or as part of the Cultural Center's offerings! It was a very special experience and I am glad we were able to try authentic Polynesian cuisine.
We learned all about how the Samoans would cook using the different parts of the coconut tree, how to weave a basket, how to prepare chicken for the fire pit, making taro leaves with coconut cream (palusami), preparing breadfruit, and more! We then enjoyed a meal together afterwards with what we made. This dish was an immediate favorite of ours and I immediately asked our host how to make it since it wasn't one of the dishes we made together as a group (it was prepared already and appeared alongside the rest of the food we made).
Faiai Eleni is a coconut cream fish stew that is baked and typically uses mackerel, onion, taro leaves or spinach, and cooked in coconut cream and some mayo. It is so creamy and delicious and goes so well with rice!
This dish is great for a quick weekday meal or when you're looking for a comforting dish to eat with rice. It comes together relatively quickly, and for the most part you are throwing everything together into one pot. Once all the ingredients are cooked and well incorporated in your pan, you can either serve as is, or you can place into an oven safe casserole dish and bake for about 25 minutes. This allows the flavors to truly marry in the oven! The process of baking is similar to how the dish would normally be cooked in an earth oven under hot volcanic stones called an umu.
It's not a "pretty" dish per se, but it is certainly delicious! Plus, it includes plenty of veggies with the onion and spinach, and healthy fats from the coconut milk base.
I always make enough so that my hubby can take it to lunch the next day, and he's always excited for it! You can either do plain white rice or you can flavor your rice with garlic, ginger and coconut oil to make it even more fragrant.
Coconut Tuna & Spinach Faiai Eleni
Until next time,
This is a "laterpost" (haha, instead of latergram 🤣) that I had started writing last year when the hubby and I went clamming for the first time and got a little over 2 dozen clams! Life got in the way and I completely forgot to publish it, but now that I am living in Illinois and it's hard to find "fresh" seafood, I find myself really missing the days we went crabbing and clamming in New Jersey.
It was such a fun time and also a bit of a workout--who knew raking for clams would be so tiring! My muscles were so sore the next day, but I didn't feel tired at all while digging! (Maybe that's the best kind of workout? Hahaha) We dug for clams in the shallows of New Jersey's Barnegat Bay. The water is relatively clear in the shallows and we used little gardening rakes from Home Depot. You basically rake through the sand and if you hit something, you dig it out with your hands! Sometimes it might be a rock, but if you're lucky, you get a clam! It's really a hit and miss but it's so exciting to find them, especially if you find a huge one! After the first time we went, we fell in love with clamming and went back a couple more times--and would come back with upwards of 60+ clams! They were always so sweet and fresh, and I would make dishes like stuffed clams, pasta with clams, steamed clams in wine sauce, or clam chowder with the big clams. 💗💗💗
Clamming was also a great to be away from our phones for a few hours and spend some quality time together. My family never understood why we liked to go catch our own crabs and I'm sure it's the same when it comes to clamming—they always say, "Why don't you just go buy them from the market? Less work!" But there's something that is just so satisfying and fun to be able to cook the food that you hunt for yourself. (For me, only seafood though, I could never hunt mammals in the wild like deer. To each their own I guess!) 😁
We purged the clams overnight to get rid of the sand and then enjoyed them as linguine with white wine clam sauce! Nothing like cooking your own catch! This recipe is a Japanese style recipe based on the Italian clams with white wine sauce over linguine. Of course you can always do the original Italian version, but in our house, I always like to put a little Asian spin on things 😎 Instead of white wine, I use Japanese sake and topped it with nori furikake (seaweed seasoning typically used for white rice). I found the Japanese sake to add an inherent sweetness to the dish that regular white wine doesn't provide, which also enhanced the sweet, fresh clam flavor. I also found that the clams had plenty of their own natural salty flavor (as did the bacon) and that I didn't need to add much salt if at all to the dish when cooking!
I hope that one day we can go back and go clamming and crabbing again 💗 I hope you get a chance to as well, and if not, at least enjoy this yummy clams and linguine dish 😊
JAPANESE STYLE LINGUINE WITH CLAMS
Makes 2 servings
Until next time,
If you love noodles and pasta as much as I do, be sure to check out some of my other favorite noodle recipes, like:
Air Fryer Beef Chow Mein
Dan Dan Noodles
Lobster Garlic Noodles
Braised Beef Noodle Soup
Korean Jap Chae Noodles
Shrimp Cheung Fun
Cantonese style chow mein is characterized by a bed of crispy pan fried noodles topped with a delicious brown sauce with stirfried meat and veggies—it could be seafood, beef, chicken, etc. The brown sauce is usually a base of soy sauce and oyster sauce thickened by a cornstarch slurry.
Chow mein was often a dish we ordered when we went to a Cantonese restaurant or dim sum place and got as an "add on" dish (because for us, when we went for dim sum, we ate dim sum, and any other "entree" is really just in case you aren't full, or you want to bring it home as leftovers, haha). My dad would often order the chicken chow mein for us to eat and it is a memory I often associate with whenever I see it on the menu. I love the way the pan fried noodles would crackle and crunch when you cut into them, and how tender and moist the protein always was, regardless of whether it was chicken, beef, or pork.
The reason for this is due to the marinade used for the protein and then cooking it on high heat—this is a process called 'velveting' and it locks in all the juices, making even chicken breast tender and yummy.
Since we've been craving childhood favorites lately, and because there is truly a shortage of good, authentic Asian eats where I live, I found our local mini Asian market sold chow mein in their freezer, I decided to make this restaurant favorite at home! I air fried the noodles rather than frying the noodles pan or wok of oil so it is just mildly healthier than the restaurant version! It was so crispehhhhhh 😍
The package of chow mein noodles we got had 4 servings, so we just used half and saved the other half to make again later in the week. You can always make as much as you want, but we have a small airfryer so it wouldn't have fit all of it in one go anyway, haha. Be sure to get the thin chow mein noodles--thick noodles won't crisp up the same way.
AIR FRYER BEEF CHOW MEIN
Makes 2 servings
Air Fryer Chow Mein
- 1/2 package Chow mein noodles
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- salt* optional
Marinade for Beef
- 6 oz beef, sliced into bite sized pieces
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 3 stalks of scallions
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup water or low sodium chicken broth
1. Marinate your sliced beef in 1 tbsp cornstarch, a sprinkling of salt, black pepper, sugar, oyster sauce, and 2 tbsp water. Mix well and let marinate for 10 minutes.
2. Boil the chow mein noodles briefly, about 1-2 minutes. Then drain and run through cold water to remove any excess starch, and get rid of as much liquid as possible in the strainer. Use paper towels to dry if needed.
3. Add the olive oil and sesame oil to the chow mein in a large mixing bowl and mix well to ensure the noodles are coated. You can add a pinch of salt and mix in as well, but optional.
4. Lay the noodles flat in your air fryer rack with a piece of parchment paper underneath the noodles. Airfry at 380°F for 10 minutes. Then flip the noodles and move the noodles around so that all the crispy edges are under and the non crispy noodles are exposed. Airfry again at 380°F for 7 minutes. At this point, check to see if it is crispy throughout, and if not, mix the noodles and make sure the non crispy noodles are exposed and airfry again, 3 minutes at a time until it reaches desired crispness. The time may differ based on how dry you were able to get your noodles.
5. While the noodles are airfrying, add a little oil to your fry pan and cook your beef until seared brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and cook your onions in the remaining oil until onions are brown and translucent.
6. Make your sauce mixture with cornstarch, water (or low sodium chicken broth), oyster sauce, light soy sauce, sugar, and black pepper. Add your beef back in, add scallions, and add the sauce mixture and mix. Cook until the sauce thickens and taste—add salt if needed, but if you use chicken broth, most likely do not need extra salt. Once the sauce is thickened to your desired consistency, shut off the heat.
7. Once airfried chow mein noodles reach the desired crispness, put onto a large plate and spoon the beef and onions sauce on top. Garnish with more scallions if desired and enjoy!
Until next time,
I started watching Kdramas again recently (Just started It's Okay to Not be Okay) and needed to eat something to satisfy the craving after watching the actors and actresses slurp on some hot kimchi stew hehe. I have always loved kimchi jigae and soondubu dishes because it is so easy to put together and also a great way to pack in plenty of veggies and leftovers.
One of my favorite ways to make it is to include soft tofu, fresh cabbage, kimchi, carrots, fish tofu and berkshire pork sausages ❤ We usually have fish tofu, fish balls, and the berkshire pork sausages in our freezer to cook with instant noodles or for hotpot night, so it's a great addition to kimchi stews and soups as well! It is so perfect and so spicy delicious for when it's cold out! Warms you right up from the inside out 🥵❤
A trick to make your broth have more depth of flavor is to add a spoon of white miso, or to make a dashi broth base. You can boil dried kelp and anchovies to achieve this from scratch, or a spoonful of instant dashi also works in a pinch. It adds an extra bit of umami to the soup that is deeper and more delicious than just adding salt!
It only took about 10-15 minutes or so for it to be ready to eat, super easy one pot meal, and can be easily made vegetarian if you take out the sausage/fish tofu I added.
KIMCHI TOFU STEW
Makes 2 servings.
-1 tbsp gochujang
- 1 tbsp miso
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- Gochugaru (1-2 tbsp) depending on how spicy you like it
- 1 cup kimchi
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1-2 cups chopped cabbage
- 1 chopped carrot
- fish tofu (optional)
- berkshire sausages (optional)
- 1 box soft tofu
- 2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
Just throw it all into a pot and boil together until the veggies are soft (to your liking). Would be awesome to eat with rice or if you are doing low carb, just eat it as is!
Hope you enjoy!
Until next time,
Just a gal who loves to eat and cook ❤