My Tofu Siu Mai (shumai) are a vegetarian version of the classic pork sui mai dumplings. Flavoured and minced tofu is wrapped in ready made wonton wrappers and simply steamed. Easy, delicious and fun to make, they’re perfect to batch make and freeze too.
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Siu Mai are the easiest of the dumplings to make as the skins can be bought pre-made. It is then simply a case of mixing up the filling and assembling the dumplings themselves. I find the making of them really quite soothing!
As with all of my dumpling recipes, the ingredient list might look long and scary but everything can be purchased from any Asian grocers. Alternatively, everything can be found and ordered online.
Tofu vs Quorn
There is a very simple reason that I chose tofu over a meat substitute product such as quorn for the filling of these dumplings. I like tofu and I hate quorn. Its a texture thing.
Tofu has a long history of use in Chinese cuisine so I think its the more authentic option too. Tofu is a great low calorie, high protein addition to a diet and despite the fact that I’m not veggie, I do try to eat it on a semi regular basis.
How to Serve Tofu Siu Mai
I would most often serve Tofu Sui Mai as part of a selection of various dumplings. It is especially nice to combine some fried elements (I usually pan fry gyozas) and steamed dumplings.
I would serve these vegetarian dumplings alongside the pork and prawn dumplings even in the event that I wasn’t specifically catering to vegetarians. They provide a lovely variation of flavour and texture.
Various dipping sauces are essential. My favourite to serve with such a flavourful dumpling like Siu Mai is a Simply Dumpling Dipping Sauce. I sometimes add a little ginger paste if I’m feeling fruity.
Chopsticks are traditional when eating steamed dumplings but the slippery little blighters are very tricky to pick up and hold, even for the chopstick competent. I’m not embarrassed to use my fingers or a fork. A supportive soup spoon can help those determined to see the use of chopsticks through.
I believe that the most important thing when serving steamed dumplings is to serve them piping hot. I usually serve them to the table in their steaming basket placed on a plate. Take one and replace the lid. Repeat.
Make Tofu Siu Mai into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
Then there are also my Vietnamese Tofu Summer Rolls and Miso Soup with Tofu plus Satay Sauce for dipping. If that isn’t enough there is my Teriyaki Tofu Stir Fry, Sticky Rice, Tenderstem Broccoli and Edamame Beans too!
Don’t forget to head over to the Big Asian Feast post for all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my other feast collections and all my Asian inspired recipes.
Ingredients for Tofu Siu Mai
You can buy various types of tofu. The most common are silken, soft, firm and extra firm. Firm or extra firm is what you are looking for here.
You might find it in the supermarket chiller on in tetrapaks in the world food aisle. Fresh is generally preferable if possible but I do often keep a long life option in the pantry.
The biggest thing to remember with tofu is that as much moisture as possible needs to be removed before cooking. You can achieve this by using a mixture of kitchen roll and pressing it.
I buy Chinese dried mushrooms in vac packed bags. They are not dry and crispy but soft and pliable. They are easily cut and cooked with without being re-hydrated.
If you struggle to find the dried mushrooms or simply can’t be bothered to look, simply omit the ingredient. I would not recommend substituting them with fresh as the moisture content will affect the filling consistency.
To find out about more of my favourite Asian Ingredients, check out my guide to the Top 16 Asian Ingredients which I always keep stocked in my pantry.
I’ve also suggested a whole bunch of recipes to try once your cupboard is fully stocked!
Light Soy Sauce
Light soy is a lighter (!), saltier version of dark soy sauce. You can use dark in this recipe if you prefer but I would half the given quantity or it may become overpowering.
Wonton wrappers are usually found in the freezer section of Asian Grocers but they are also often found in the freezer section of the supermarkets. Look for the “world foods”.
Wonton wrappers come in various sizes and in both round and square versions. You need to look for the smaller size which is roughly 3 inches in diameter or the size of your palm.
If you are only able to find the square ones, you can use a cookie cutter to make the square skins round.
You can really be as inventive as you like with your Siu Mai filling. I am sure that there is a point where these dumplings stop being called siu mai and start to be known by a different name. But for simplicity sake, lets stick with it!
The main thing to consider is that the filling needs to be moist enough to stick together. In this case the remaining moisture from the tofu combined with the sesame oil and cornflour means that it binds together nicely.
Make it Vegetarian or Vegan
My Tofu Siu Mai Dumplings are suitable for vegetarians but not vegans as the wonton wrappers contain egg.
For a vegan option, I suggest you make my Tofu Crystal Dumplings which uses the same filling stuffed into a homemade translucent dough which is totally meat and dairy free.
Make it Allergy Friendly
My Siu Mai dumplings are nut and dairy free.
Gluten Free: The only way to make these Sui Mai gluten free is to home make gluten free wrappers. The filling doesn’t contain any gluten containing ingredients.
Egg Free: Like with the vegan version, I would recommend making my Tofu Crystal Dumplings recipe.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Tofu Siu Mai
There are various options for steaming the dumplings. I prefer to use bamboo steamers lined with parchment circles. They are easy, quick to clean and balance perfectly on my medium sized saucepan. I could otherwise use the steamer part of my saucepan set or use an electric steamer.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
The filling can be prepared up to a day before making the dumplings providing it is properly refrigerated. The filling mix can also be frozen and turned into dumplings at a later time.
The best thing about all of my Chinese Dumpling Recipes is that they can all be made in large batches, frozen and then simply steamed to order straight from frozen.
To freeze the dumplings, lay them out on a baking tray and pop them in the freezer. Try to make sure the dumplings are not touching as much as possible and that the wonton wrapper is nice and tightly wrapped around the filling. Any sticky-out bits are likely to snap off.
Once the dumplings are fully frozen, they can be much more tightly packed into trays or bags and popped back in the freezer in a much smaller space than before.
Leftover Tofu Siu Mai
To the extent possible I would recommend only cooking as many dumplings as you are likely to eat. Once steamed and cooled, you can reheat them in the microwave or re-steam them. Although they do have a tendency of going a little soggy.
The best way to cook leftover Tofu Sui Mai is actually deep fry them. You can reheat the filling whilst making the outer skin much more crisp than you will otherwise achieve.
Tofu Siu Mai Tips
Try not to under or overfill the dumplings. After making one or two, you will get a feeling for how much filling is needed for each.
The overall shape you are looking for is a stumpy cylinder!
Don’t overcrowd your steamer basket. You need the steam to be able to circulate properly around the dumplings for them to cook through.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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More Tofu Recipes
More Dim Sum Recipes
Tofu Siu Mai (Vegetarian Steamed Chinese Dumplings)
- 100 g Firm Tofu
- 5 g Chinese Dried Mushroom
- 2 Spring Onions (Scallions)
- 0.5 tsp Fine Salt
- 0.5 tsp Sugar
- 2 tbsp Cornflour (Cornstarch)
- 1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- 10 Small Round Wonton Wrappers
- Very finely mince 100g Firm Tofu. Remove any moisture using kitchen roll until it is as dry as possible.
- Also mince 5g Chinese Dried Mushroom and 2 Spring Onions.
- Add the tofu, mushroom and spring onion to a small mixing bowl along with 0.5 tsp Fine Salt, 0.5 tsp Sugar, 2 tbsp Cornflour, 1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce and 1 tsp Sesame Oil.
- Mix everything extremely thoroughly to combine. I use my hands to scrunch everything together. Leave the mix to sit in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.
- Take 10 Small Round Wonton Wrappers and lay one out on a flat surface.
- Add a tablespoon of the filling mixture to the centre of the wonton wrapper.
- Use your finger to wet the edge of the skins with a little cold water.
- Make a circle with your thumb and forefinger on your left hand (assuming you are right handed, otherwise use your right hand).
- Balance the dumpling skin and filling over the hole in your hand then ease the whole thing downwards through the hole. This will wrap the dough around the filling leaving the top exposed.
- Firmly but gently press the wrapper together until it keeps its shape.
- Repeat with remaining wonton skins. You can work in batches rather than making one at a time.
- To cook the dumplings, place them in a steamer basket and cook for 8 minutes over boiling hot water. To cook from frozen, allow 12 minutes.