Vegetable Shao Mai or suimai
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5 from 1 vote

Vegetable Shao Mai Recipe

Vegetable Shao Mai, sans meat, are scrumptious and full of flavour. They freeze well and make easy delicious meals or snacks at any time.
Prep Time50 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Course: Appetiser
Cuisine: Asian, Mauritian
Keyword: shao mai, siomai, suimai, vegan suimai
Servings: 25 dumplings
Author: Teenuja Dahari -


  • 10 - 12 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 125 g konnyaku [½ block]
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 170 g veggie minced meat veggie ground round
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 1 tablespoon black bean & garlic sauce substitute with more soy sauce or ½ tablespoon miso paste and 1 - 2 cloves garlic, finely minced, see notes
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • tablespoons tapioca starch or 2 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
  • 120 ml water [½ cup] more as required for cooking
  • 1 - 2 spring onions chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 25 dumpling wrappers or shao mai wrappers, see notes


  • If dumpling skins are frozen, allow them to defrost at room temperature for about 30 minutes to an hour.
  • To quickly rehydrate the shiitake mushrooms, place them in a small saucepan and cover with water. Boil for about 10 - 15 minutes, adding more water as required.
  • Alternatively, you may just leave the shiitake mushrooms to soak in hot water for about 30 minutes.
  • Once shiitake mushrooms are soft, drain and reserve the water for later. Let the mushrooms cool before chopping them into small pieces or mincing them.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients. Slice, then chop the konnyaku into tiny pieces.
  • Chop the carrot into small pieces or coarsely grate it.

Make the filling:

  • In a skillet, heat one tablespoon of cooking oil on medium-high temperature.
  • Add the minced shiitake, konnyaku and carrot, saute for about 6 minutes while stirring every now and then.
  • Next, add the veggie mince, cumin, Chinese five spice, black bean & garlic sauce. Stir to combine and saute for about 5 more minutes.
  • When the mixture starts to dry up and stick to the pan, add the soy sauce and a little of the reserved shiitake water.
  • Dilute the tapioca starch in 120 ml of water, then add this slurry to the pan and stir immediately. This will thicken the sauce and keep the filling together. If the mixture becomes too thick, add a little water but not too much as we don’t want any sauce. The veggies and mince need to be sticky and adhere together, this will make it easy to fill the wrappers.
  • Lastly add the spring onions. Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings if needed. The sauces are usually salty enough, so make sure to taste the filling before adding any more salt.

Make the shao mai:

  • Take one wrapper, brush the inside with a little water. Join your index finger and thumb and place the skin on top, slightly pushed into the cup.
  • Spoon one heaped tablespoon of filling in the centre of the wrapper. Gather the wrapper by gently squeezing around the filling and cupping it between your thumb and index finger. Press the filling down with the back of the spoon to tighten filling with the wrapper, see video.
  • Repeat for the rest until all the filling is used up.
  • Place shao mai on a steaming tray lined with parchment paper and steam for about 12 minutes.
  • Remove and serve immediately with soy sauce or crunchy chili oil. They are great additions to noodle or miso soups too.



Where to find ingredients?

Dumpling wrappers or sui mai wrappers can be found at most Asian grocery stores. Alternatively, you may use eggless wonton wrappers.
You find also find the following ingredients at Asian grocery stores. If not, check them out on Amazon:
Dried shiitake mushrooms -
Chinese five spice -
Black bean & garlic sauce -

Shao mai can be frozen for later use.

Place the uncooked shao mai in a freezer proof container and make sure they are not touching. If container is deep, separate each layer with parchment paper so that shao mai don’t stick to one another. To cook, just remove a few and steam directly from frozen for about 15 minutes.