Steamed eggplant siu mai with ginger and chilli dipping sauce

We love making any sort of dough here but if you’re not up to it or are short of time you can always substitute gyoza, gow gee or wonton wrappers…

Fresh from the garden: eggplant, coriander, ginger, garlic, chilli, lemon
Recipe source: adapted from
Makes: about 30 dumplings


  • Bowls – large, small
  • Fork or chopsticks
  • Scales
  • Kettle
  • Measures – jug, tablespoons, teaspoons
  • Tea towels
  • Salad spinner
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Peeler & ruler
  • Garlic press
  • Rolling pins
  • Large baking trays
  • 2 large woks
  • 2 large steamer baskets
  • Baking paper
  • Serving plates & small sauce bowls
Ingredients:For the dough

  • 280g plain flour plus extra for dusting
  • 250ml very hot water


  • 2 eggplants
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • A small knob ginger
  • A bunch of coriander
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon black bean sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • Cornflour for dusting pan

Chilli Sauce

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small knob ginger
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar or honey
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli

What to do:

For the dough

  • Fill the kettle and turn on to boil. Place the flour into a large bowl. Carefully measure the hot water and stir it gradually into the flour, mixing all the time with a fork or chopsticks, until the water is incorporated. Add more water if the mixture seems dry.
  • Tip the dough mixture onto a clean work surface and knead it with your hands, dusting the dough with a little flour if it’s sticky. Continue kneading until it is smooth – this should take about eight minutes.
  • Put the dough back in the bowl, cover it with a clean damp towel and let it rest for about 20 minutes.

For the stuffing

  • Meanwhile, wash then peel the eggplant. Finely chop until you have 4 full cups (about 500g).
  • Peel and squeeze the garlic through the press to yield 1 tablespoon. Peel and finely chop the ginger to yield 2 teaspoons.
  • Wash and spin-dry the coriander, then finely chop to yield about 4 tablespoons.
  • Heat oil over medium-high heat in the wok. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Add the eggplant and stir-fry over high heat for 4 to 5 minutes until very soft, adding a little water if needed. Add soy sauce, bean sauce, sesame oil, and coriander and cook, stirring, until thick for about 1 minute. Let cool while you prepare the wrappers.

Preparing the dumplings

  • After the resting period, take the dough out of the bowl and knead it again for about five minutes, dusting with a little flour if it is sticky.
  • Once the dough is smooth, shape it into 2 rolls about 23cm long and about 2cm diameter, using your hands.
  • With a sharp knife, slice each roll into 16 equal-sized pieces (each piece is about 15g). Using your hands, roll each of the dough pieces into a small ball and then, with a rolling pin, roll each ball into a small, round, flat and thin ‘pancake’ about 9cm in diameter.
  • Arrange the round skins on a lightly floured baking tray and cover them with a damp kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out until you are ready to use them.
  • Dust another baking sheet with a little cornflour. Arrange several ‘pancakes’ on your work surface. Place 2 teaspoons of filling in the centre of each, then pull up sides into pleats, and plop onto the baking sheet, flattening the bottom and leaving the top open so you can see the filling.
  • Transfer each finished dumpling to the floured tray and keep it covered until you have stuffed all the dumplings in this way.

To cook

  • Put the steamer basket into the wok and then using a jug, fill the wok with cold water to just touch the bottom of the basket. Remove the basket and turn the wok on to boil the water.
  • Line base of the steamer baskets with baking paper. Place dumplings in a single layer into the baskets. Carefully place the steamer baskets over woks, ensuring the dumplings don’t touch any water. Steam dumplings for about 8 minutes until tender and cooked through.

Chilli sauce

  • Meanwhile make the chilli sauce: Peel the clove of garlic and squeeze through the garlic press into the medium bowl. Peel the piece of ginger and rub over the microplane grater to yield one teaspoon. Add the ginger to the garlic.
  • Cut the lemon in half and juice one half to yield 1 tablespoon of juice. Add to the bowl.
  • Carefully slit the chilli in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds of one half, discarding the seeds. Finely slice that half and add to the bowl.
  • Mix all the remaining ingredients in and transfer to little dipping bowls.

To serve

  • Carefully remove the baskets, drying off the bottoms first with a dry tea towel if needed, and serve direct to the tables with the dipping sauce.


  • Wash your hands thoroughly after coming in contact with chilli, as the capsaicin (the oil within the chilli) burns when it comes in contact with your eyes or sensitive skin. 

Notes: What is a steamer basket? What other ingredients could you use as filling? How else can you spell siu mai?

Categories: Kitchen Garden, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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