Shao Mai

Key Stage

KS 3 & KS 4


Design and Technology- Food Technology;

Cross-curriculum learning - Citizenship, History and Geography


Shao Mai (Classic dim sum)

燒賣 (Traditional Chinese character)

烧卖 (Simplified Chinese character)

(Hanyu Pinyin: shāomài)


Lee Kum Kee 






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  • 80g Shao Mai wrapper pastry or Yellow wonton pastry (round in shape and about 20 sheets)

Ingredients for Shao Mai filling

  • 300g Chicken, minced

  • 100g raw prawns (de-shelled, roughly chopped)

  • 2pcs dried shitake mushrooms, rehydrated and finely diced

  • 1 spring onion (finely diced)

  • 4 goji berries for garnish


  • 1Tbsp Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce

  • 1Tbsp Lee Kum Kee Premium Light soy sauce

  • ½ tsp Sugar

  • ½ tsp White Pepper

  • ½ tsp Potato starch


1. Mix the chicken mince, chopped prawns, finely chopped spring onion and shitake mushrooms together.

2. Add in the marinade to the filling mixture, and then pound against the bowl until it becomes firm and elastic.

3. Put a teaspoon filling in the middle of the pastry.

4. Lightly squeeze the sides up until the pastry forms a cup, leave the filling expose on top, and use a small knife to flatten the top.

5. Finally garnish with a goji berry. Each shao mai is about 30g.

6. Neatly line up the shao mai on a lined bamboo steamer or an oiled plate. Steam over high heat for 10-12 minutes. Serve hot.

7. Great to be serve with Chiu Chow Chilli Oil for a spicy touch!

A. Activity Plan

Learning outcomes:

  • How to make dim sum, which is one of the traditional and popular categories in Chinese cuisine

  • Use various ingredients like spring onion, goji berry and shitake mushroom which are common in Asian cuisines

  • Use various seasoning sauce e.g. soy sauce, oyster sauce, chilli oil

  • Learn cooking techniques like steaming and wrapping

  • Learn how to use a bamboo basket for steaming

  • Increase cultural understanding through learning Chinese cuisines and eating culture

B. Popular ingredients in Chinese dishes

Goji Berries1. Goji Berries

Goji berries are traditionally cooked before consumption. Goji berries are often used in Chinese tonic soups, boiled as an herbal tea, can be used as garnish as well.

Spring Onion2. Spring Onion

These are onions that have small bulbs and long green stalks. They can be eaten raw or as garnish, but you can also grill or stir-fry them.

3. Dried Shitake Mushrooms (Dried Chinese Mushrooms)

Shiitake Mushrooms

Though shiitake mushrooms are now cultivated, they have the earthiness and flavour of wild mushrooms. They're large and meaty, and they work well in stir-fries, soups, and side dishes, or as a meat substitute. 

Dried shiitakes are excellent, and often preferable to fresh due to their more intense flavour. Soak them in water for about thirty minutes to reconstitute them, then use the water they soaked in to enhance your sauce.

Yellow Wanton Pastry4. Yellow Wonton Pastry

Wonton pastry (or wonton skin or wrapper) is made from wheat flour and eggs. Most water-thin wrappers are sold in about 3 inch squares. They can be bought fresh or frozen.

C. Chinese Sauces

Light Soy Sauce

Light Soy Sauce

Soy Sauce is an essential ingredient in Chinese cooking. Lee Kum Kee Premium Light Soy Sauce is made from a mixture of Soya beans, flour and water. Light Soy Sauce is saltier and lighter in colour, while dark soy sauce has been aged and has a darker colour. Dark soy sauce is thicker and more suitable in stews.

Oyster SauceOyster sauce

Oyster sauce is made with oyster extracts from oysters. Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce originated since 1888 made with oyster extracts from the finest oysters. Use it as an all-purpose seasoning sauce to uplift the umami taste of meat and vegetables. Traditionally used as a marinade, it is a seasoning for stir-fries, as a condiment for many Chinese dishes.

Chilli OilChilli Oil

Chilli oil is made from chilli and tastes spicy. Chilli oil is very popular in Chinese areas and good for dipping with all kinds of food. Lee Kum Kee Chiu Chow Chilli Oil is authentic regional chili sauce originates from Chiu Chow, China. It is prepared from the finest preserved chilies and garlic blended with soy bean oil into delightful spicy sauce.

D. Preparation and Cooking techniques


1. Wrapping

There are different kinds of wrapping techniques. When you make a shao mai, you need to put the fillings on a pastry, lightly squeeze the sides up until the pastry forms a cup. Leave the filling exposed on top, and use a small knife to flatten the top.


2. Steaming

Steaming is not a very popular cooking technique in the West but it has been used by the Chinese for thousands of years and today it is very common in China. Steamed food is cooked by a gentle moist heat which must circulate freely in order to cook the food. It is an excellent method for bringing out subtle flavours and is always used for dim sum and fish.

E. Cooking tools

1. Bamboo Basket Steamer

bamboo steamerThe Bamboo Basket steamer is very popular for steaming especially for dim sum. Bamboo basket steamer comes in several sizes of which the 20cm (8 inches) is the most suitable for general use. The food is put in the bamboo basket steamer and then placed above (a rack can be used to raise the food above the water level) boiling water in a wok or pot. You can simply put it in an electrical steamer. Covering the steamer with a bamboo lid can prevent the steam escaping. Several steamers, stacked one above the other, may be utilized at once.

To prevent the food from sticking to the steamer when it cooks, you can lay a parchment paper or some lettuce leaves. Before using a bamboo basket steamer for the first time, wash it and then steam it empty for few minutes.

2. Rack for Steamer

A rack can be made of wood or metal. It is used to raise the food to be cooked above the water level and it helps the steaming process.

3. Parchment Paper (Baking)/Bakery Release Paper

Parchment paper and bakery release paper are cellulose-based papers used in baking as a disposable non-stick surface.

4. Wok

A most useful and versatile piece of equipment, the wok may be used for stir frying, blanching, deep-frying and steaming foods.


A wok is a versatile round-bottomed cooking vessel originating in China. It is used especially in East and Southeast Asia. The most common materials used in making woks today are carbon steel and cast iron. Although the latter was the most common type used in the past, cooks today tend to be divided on which woks are superior, i.e. carbon steel or cast iron.

F. Different kind of Dim Sum (點心)

shao mai

Shao Mai 

spring roll

Spring Roll

steamed shrimp dumpling

Steamed Shrimp Dumpling



H. Chinese Restaurants in the UK

chinese restaurants UK

I. The origin of dim sum

Dim sum is closely linked to the Chinese tradition of "yum cha" or drinking tea which is originally a Cantonese custom. Tea-houses sprung up to accommodate weary travellers along the famous Silk Road. Rural farmers, exhausted after long hours working in the fields, would also go to the local tea-house for an afternoon of tea and relaxing conversation. It took several centuries for the culinary art of dim sum to develop. In the past, it was considered inappropriate to combine tea with food. As time went by, people discovered that tea was able to aid digestion and cleanse the palate. Tea house proprietors began including a variety of snacks, and so the tradition of dim sum was born.

Today, dim sum is served throughout China especially in Canton. In Hong Kong, dim sum culture is so popular that restaurants begin serving it as early as 6:30 in the morning continuing through to mid-afternoon. In the West, dim sum was brought in by Chinese immigrants (mostly from the Canton region) in 19th century. Some gourmands believe that dim sum inspired the whole idea of "brunch" - combining breakfast and lunch into one large mid-morning meal. It is true that the word brunch only came into existence in the late 1800's.

chinese tea houseSimilarly to a Western morning or afternoon tea, despite the name, yum cha is focused as much on the food items served with the tea as the tea itself. These food items are collectively known as "dim sum", a varied range of small dishes which may constitute or replace breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea. Dishes are usually steamed or fried and may be savoury or sweet. They include steamed buns such as char siu bao, assorted dumplings, shao mai, and rice noodle rolls, which contain a range of ingredients, including beef, chicken, pork, prawns and vegetarian options.

Typical desserts include egg tarts and mango pudding. Many yum cha restaurants also offer plates of steamed green vegetables, roasted meats, congee porridge, and soups.

Dim sum can be cooked by steaming and frying, among other methods. The dim sum are usually small and normally served as three or four pieces in one dish. It is customary to share dishes among all diners on the same table. Because of the small portions people can try a wide variety of food.

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