Shumai is a type of steamed dumpling that can be found almost anywhere you go in Japan – it’s a favorite alternative to gyoza (fried Japanese dumplings) and can be found frozen or refrigerated in any grocery or convenience store. Shumai are versatile and can be filled with many different types of meats or veggies. These tasty dumplings are surrounded by a wrapper but open on the top so you can see the filling.
In the US Shumai are often filled with meat and a little water chestnut to give it some crunch, but in Japan water chestnuts are not that common but sometimes root veggies like bamboo, lotus root or carrot are mixed in with the meat for the same effect. The meat in shumai are usually flavored with a little sesame oil, soy sauce, sake and ginger to give it an authentic Asian flavor.
Shumai makes a great appetizer or entree – they are quite filling but they also go great with Roast Pork fried rice or some spicy hot and sour soup.