Wednesdays are the New Mondays
Pennywise and Poundfoolish

Chef Ezra's Shu Mai (aka Reasons To Have Children #159,045,730)

I am in the work weeds right now, the entirely predictable result of daring to take TWO WHOLE DAYS off and then spending the rest of the week ping-ponging around 17 different deadlines in a panic while completing exactly zero of them. 

So you know what that means, blobs? Time to post a recipe that maybe like three people asked for on social media last week and pretend like OH MY GOD SOOOOOO MANY PEOPLE ARE BEGGING FOR THIS RECIPE I MUST INDULGE THE WILL OF THE MANY, MANY  PEOPLE. 

(But seriously, it's a good recipe. Teach it to your children well and let them make you dinner.)

Chef Zah's Shu Mai (Steamed Pork, Shrimp & Mushroom Dumplings) 


(Adapted from dumplings we made at the Baltimore Chef Shop, with a few tweaks courtesy of Ezra)


¾ lbs. ground pork
¼ lb. shelled raw shrimp
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms (we use Shiitake, stems removed)
4 scallions
4 sprigs cilantro
1 small chunk of fresh ginger
1 ½ tsp. fish sauce
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. cornstarch
1 large egg
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
Wonton wrappers
Napa cabbage leaves (or parchment paper)
Soy sauce (optional)



20180328_213644771_iOS1) Check that your shrimp are fully de-pooped and finely chop. (If you use frozen shrimp, defrost them in a strainer set in a bowl of cold water. Change out the water a couple times if you see floaty things in it.)

2) Thinly slice the mushrooms.

3) Thinly slice the scallions, separating the white bottoms from the dark green tops.

4) You can either pick the leaves off the cilantro stems and chop those up, or finely chop the leaves and stems together. It just depends on how much you like chopping. Or cilantro. 

5) Peel the ginger (you can use a spoon!) and mince it. You could also use a box grater or zester if you're tired of chopping things. 20180328_214800403_iOS

6) Crack the egg in a bowl and lightly beat with a fork. 

7) Measure out the fish sauce, salt, cornstarch and sesame oil into little bowls because it will help you freak out less later.

8) Line a bamboo steamer with Napa cabbage leaves or parchment paper. (You can also use a vegetable strainer if you don't have the bamboo kind.) Fill a pot with a few inches of water and get it boiling.


8) In a large bowl, mix the pork, shrimp, mushrooms, white parts of the scallion, cilantro, ginger, egg, fish sauce, salt, cornstarch and sesame oil with your hands.

9) Roll the mixture into 1-2 inch balls (like meatballs) and put them on a baking sheet. You can make your mom do this part if you already washed your hands and don't feel like getting sticky again.

IMG_20180328_18005510) Get a wonton wrapper and hold it in the palm of your hand. Place a meatball in the center and then gather the edges of the wrapper upwards around the ball. Pinch the corners into folds and leave the top of the dumpling open. (Wet your fingers if your wrapper corners aren't holding together.) Lightly flatten the top of the meatball with your finger. 

11) Put the dumplings in your steamer baskets and make sure none of them are touching. 


12) Put the steamer basket over (but not touching) the boiling water and steam for 5 to 6 minutes. That's it. It's that easy. 



13) In class we made a dipping sauce but we didn't feel like making the dipping sauce, so instead we topped each cooked dumping with a drop or two of soy sauce and garnished with the green parts of the scallions. 


14) Chef Zah ProTip: Chopsticks make dumplings even more fun.

15) Make sure you and your brothers get all the dumplings you want on your plates before your dad comes over and eats the rest of them. 





This is insanely impressive! I have a little tip for the chef (thanks to some Internet research... eventually he will learn that cooking/baking + internet is a rabbit hole of fun) - dumplings in restaurants have really crunchy shrimp inside. There's a super easy way to do it at home (courtesy of Serious Eats): "Place chopped shrimp in a small bowl. Add baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup water and mix with fingers. Set aside for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 day in the refrigerator. Drain when ready."

These dumplings sound wonderful as is but a good chef is always looking to improve what they know. :)

(And here's another tip even though no one asked and just bc I cannot help myself)- you can serve these in some hot chicken broth with scallions and shaved carrots- most delicious, comforting soup ever. Just make sure the dumplings are well-sealed.)

Sue W.

You can go to an Oriental grocery store and get a special grater for ginger. We use a LOT of ginger in our house since hubby is half Japanese, so it paid for itself the first time we used it. Also, we love a soy sauce, rice and white vinegar and sesame oil dipping sauce when I make egg rolls. No measurements, just do it to your taste. Hubby like his spicy, so I add red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper to his.
And since this blob reader doesn't have kids and it is her greatest wish to marry Mighty Zah when he grows up, could I borrow him? He can make me Shu Mai and I will teach him how to make my late mother in laws Japanese egg rolls!


So I don’t comment often (except for the time you saved my and my baby’s life) but wanted to thank you for this recipe! My 10 year old loves bed making it and we loved eating it (taking out the shellfish due to allergy). Would be happy to see any other recipes too as now my kid wants to cook more dinners....


Wow! I gotta do this!

My nephew made some Dahl (Dal?) and it had ginger diced up in a very very tiny dice. The ginger dice added a nice little crunch with no sting-i-ness - if you don't want to grate the ginger.

I'm impressed your kid cooks like this - most of the kids in my orbit (not Mr Dahl maker tho) will only eat chicken nuggets, and they won't even heat those up!


Amy, how in the world does the pork (and shrimp) cook thoroughly - so as not to induce food poisoning! - by just steaming them for 5-6 minutes?! Seriously asking. I’d totally bake the heck out of the meatballs before steaming. Oh my lanta.

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