Simple Asian Food
I love Asian food. I enjoy going out to eat it but only the food that I might not make at home. I haven't mastered Sushi, but maybe someday I will. The other day I was in the grocery store and saw a package of reduced ground pork. I don't usually eat ground pork but this is the exception. I snagged the package and froze it knowing what it was meant to be. A few years ago (okay about 20), I bought West Bend 6-Quart Electric Wok (WHAT WAS I THINKING?). Being a newish homemaker and mommy, I thought I was some kind of a gourmet in the making. Little did I know that I would actually graduate from culinary school way later in life. The wok came with a little cook book (Madame Wong's Long Life Chinese Cookbook) and I think I tried most everything in there while I was hot to use that new toy.
One of my most favorite quick things to make was Shao Mai. The book says it's an appetizer, but we eat them as the entree. Who says an entree has to be a large cut of meat? Isn't there a saying that wonderful things come in small packages? Well these are it.
I mixed up all the ingredients and then spread out the won ton wrappers in a line and started pinching small amounts and putting the mixture in the middle of each won ton. Then you just pinch the won ton until you think it's pretty much closed. Most will stay closed depending on how stuffed you make the wonton. If you overstuff, they tend to pop open when cooked.
Then you line the steaming basket with a wet paper towel, bar mop or small kitchen towel. You load the steamer with the little bundles and close the lid. The same principal applies to steaming as to cooking rice, NO PEAKING BEFORE IT'S TIME. I know it's hard, but resist. You will be rewarded before it's over.
Be sure that what ever pot you put the steamer over, it's got boiling water going. It speeds up the process instead of starting with cold water and having to wait for it to heat up. The Shao Mai, gets sticky when steamed so you will need to keep just a little space between each one. They are a bit tricky to separate once they have melded together, but they still taste great!
1 pound ground pork, ground beef or chopped shrimp
1 TBS sherry
2 TBS light soy sauce
1 scallion, chopped fine
1/2 tsp salt
4 water chestnuts, chopped fine
1 tsp cornstarch
24 won ton wrappers
In a bowl combine meat or shirmp with all other ingredients except the wrappers. Mix well.
Put 1 TBS of filling in center of each wrapper (if you buy the same won ton wrappers, it's more like 1-1 1/2 tsp of filling per). Gather sides of each wrapper around filling. Squeeze center gently. Leave edges of dough shirred.
Line the steamer tray with wet cloth. Place Shao Mai on tray over boiling water. Steam for 20 minutes.
After steaming, remove Shao Mai to platter to prevent sticking. May be served with red wine vinegar or a combination of equal parts red wine vinegar and light soy sauce.
May be prepared completely in advance and can be frozen after the second step and then steamed from frozen-steaming will increase from 20 to 30 minutes.