Shumai is kind of like an open-faced steamed dumpling and is a popular dim sum item and street snack in Hong Kong. Typically it is filled with pork and shrimp and topped with tobiko (fish roe) but have been adjusted to a plant-strong morsel that I wanted to create with Thanksgiving flavors. These Four Happiness Dumplings "Si Xi Jia" 四喜饺 are next-level dumplings with pockets of finely chopped colorful toppings.
(Makes 15-16 dumplings, feel free to double the recipe)
FOR THE WRAPPER
1 cup flour
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt, optional
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp just-boiled water
FOR THE FILLING
10 oz mushrooms, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped, optional
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/2" stem fresh ginger, grated
2 teaspoons neutral vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp flour, if needed
TO COOK THE DUMPLINGS (per batch)
Thinly sliced carrot or radish rounds, or kale/cabbage leaves
FOR THE TOPPINGS
Anything goes here to fill up the pockets, you don't need very much (only about 2 tablespoons) but it needs to be very finely chopped.
Orange – carrot, bell pepper, sweet potato
Green – kale, broccoli stems, green beans
Purple – sweet potato, red cabbage
Red – Red pepper, cranberry sauce
Yellow – Butternut squash, corn
Make the wrappers: In a large bowl, mix the flour, turmeric, and salt together. Keep stirring the flour whilst gradually pouring in the hot water and continue to stir until the mixture begins to form small clumps. Knead these clusters to form a large ball of dough. Turn this out onto a clean work surface and knead for 10 more minutes, or until it becomes smooth and elastic (like Play Doh). If it's too wet and sticky, add a tablespoon of flour; If it's too dry, add another teaspoon of hot water. Place in an airtight jar and set aside for 20 minutes while you prepare the filling.
Make the filling: Warm a large, dry skillet over high heat and coat the pan with oil. Add all the filling ingredients and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until the liquid from the vegetables evaporate. You don't want it to be too damp. If there's excess liquid, either add flour to absorb the moisture, and/or let the mixture cool in a fine-meshed sieve to drain. Only start wrapping when the mixture is cool to touch.
On a clean, lightly floured work surface, roll the wrapper dough into a long, skinny piece about 1-inch in diameter and divide it into 16 equal pieces. Using a rolling pin, flatten each of the pieces and roll them out to ⅛-inch-thick rounds.
Have a seat and get comfortable at a clean, dry work surface. Invite a few friends or family members to join in on the fun!
Assemble the dumplings: Place one spoonful of the filling in the center of the dough round; take care not to overfill, or they’ll be difficult to close. Fold the wrapper in half—into a semi-circle—and firmly pinch the top point closed, next take the open ends of the "taco" and lift these up to meet in the pinched center so that the dough takes the form of an "X" shape. Pinch in the middle again, allowing the petals of the "X" to stay open. Use your fingertip to lightly moisten one side of each petal and pinch the petals together to form a flower. Encourage the petals to open a little more and fill each one with the various chopped toppings. Continue until you run out of filling, or dough. Leftover dough can be used to make noodles (simply roll and cut them into strips boiling them for 2-4 minutes), and leftover filling and toppings can be used to add to a fried rice.
TO STEAM: Fill a wok or frying pan with about an inch of water – not too high make sure the water doesn't touch the dumplings. Line the steamer basket with the thinly sliced vegetable rounds or leaves. Place the dumpling on each round. Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium. Place the steamer basket in and cover and steam for 5 minutes (fresh) or 8 minutes (frozen). Make sure to check the water level after 4 minutes and replenish if necessary.
Note: If you don't have a steamer basket, you can steam your dumplings on a flat plate/dish, raised above the water with a canning jar ring, or something similar.