---------- Recipe via Meal-Master (tm) v8.02
  
       Title: OPEN-FACE STEAMED DUMPLINGS (SHAO MAI)
  Categories: Vegetarian, Vegan, Chinese, Appetizers
       Yield: 15 servings
  
 -------------------------WRAPPERS-------------------------
     2/3 c  All-purpose flour
       2 tb -Hot water, plus:
       2 ts -Hot water
 
 -------------------------FILLING A-------------------------
       5 oz Regular or firm tofu
            -- mashed
   1 1/2 ts Tientsin preserved cabbage
            -- minced (packed)
       1 tb Presoaked & minced tree ears
       1 tb Presoaded & minced lily buds
       3 tb Black or shiitake mushrooms
            -- (presoaked & minced)
   1 1/2 ts Green onion, minced
       1 ts Sesame oil
       1 ts Vegetable oil
     1/8 ts Salt
       2 ts Soy sauce
 
 -------------------------FILLING B-------------------------
       3 tb Water chestnuts, minced
       3 tb Black mushrooms, minced
            -- (presoaked)
       3 tb Bamboo shoots, minced
       3 tb Carrot, minced
       2 ts Green onion, minced
     1/2 ts Gingerroot, minced
       1 tb Soy sauce
     1/4 ts Cornstarch
   1 1/2 ts Sesame oil
 
 -----------------------DIPPING SAUCE-----------------------
            Soy sauce
            Mushroom soaking liquid
            Sesame oil
  
   These little open-faced steamed dumplings, a popular
   item in dim sum teahouses, are a special treat, for
   you seldom see a vegetarian version. With their
   flowerlike appearance and savory filling, they are an
   attractive luncheon dish.  You can use the ready-made
   wrappers, sold in refrigerated or frozen sections of
   some markets (“shu mai skins”). “Suey gow skins” or
   “gyoza wrappers” are too thick and will dry out during
   steaming. Wonton wrappers can be substituted, but trim
   off the pointed corners. Better yet, prepare your own
   wrappers according to the directions below.
   
   DIRECTIONS: =========== To prepare wrappers, combine
   flour and hot water. Knead a couple of minutes into a
   smooth dough; cover and let rest at least 1 hour.
   Place on a lightly floured board, and knead for 2
   minutes or so. With palms of your hands, roll it into
   a long, cylindrical shape, 7-1/2 inches inches long, 1
   inch in diameter. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces;
   you will have 15. If your climate is dry, keep the
   dough covered. Shape these, cut-side up, into a round
   shape. Flatten them with the palm or heel of your hand
   on a flour-dusted board. With a pastry roller, small
   rolling pin, piece of dowel, or even an empty jar --
   all of these should be wielded under the palm of your
   hand -- roll each into a round wrapper, 3-1/2 inches
   in diameter, thicker in the center, thinner toward the
   edge. This is easily done by rolling the pastry roller
   from the edge of the piece of dough to the center, and
   back again, turning the dough counterclockwise a
   little with your left hand after each roll. Continue
   all the way around several times, also turning the
   dough over once or twice, until you have a thin, 3-1/2
   inch wrapper.
   
   Prepare Filling A or B by combining the ingredients.
   Place approximately 1 tablespoon filling on the center
   of each wrapper. Holding the wrapper on your left
   fingers, encircle it from below with your right thumb
   and index finger, gathering the wrapper up around the
   filling. Squeeze gently around the middle to make a
   kind of neck; some of the filling should emerge at the
   top.  The bundle should hold together securely or it
   will collapse during steaming. Pat the bottom with
   your left hand to make a flat base. If the skin is not
   too floppy, you can also turn the edge slightly
   outward (like an open flower), pinching it if
   necessary to make it secure.
   
   Place a layer of damp cloth in a bamboo steaming
   basket or on a flat, perforated race (you can use a
   heatproof plate if you have neither of these, but
   circulation of steam is somewhat impaired this way).
   Arrange the shao mai on it.  With the rack well above
   the boiling water in a steamer, steam for 10 minutes
   (if frozen, do not defrost first). They will stick to
   the cloth, but if you wash and reuse the same cloth
   each time, they will not stick as much.
   
   Serve while still hot, before the skin hardens -- as
   is, or with small dipping saucers of soy sauce and
   mushroom liquid (from the black mushrooms), mixed in
   equal proportions.  Add a few drops of sesame oil.
   
   Advance preparation: These can be assembled in
   advance, frozen, and steamed just prior to serving.
   
   * Source: The Fragrant Vegetable, by Martin Stidham *
   Typed for you by Karen Mintzias
  
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