One Asian “accessory” that is fun and useful to have is a bamboo steamer. Typically a steamer has 2 “stories” and a lid. Steaming can be accomplished using one or both trays and each is typically lined with cabbage or lettuce leaves to protect the bamboo from stains or sticky residue. The steam trays are great to use for presentation, and can be used to steam veggies and buns, and even protein and fish. Just make sure you have a pan beneath that is roughly the diameter of your steamer for the most efficient cooking.

This recipe was adapted from a family recipe of my high school friend, Debbie Low. I increased the pork, and eliminated the added salt, reduced the added soy sauce, and amped up the crunch. Because the dipping sauce contains soy sauce, it’s easy to cut back on the sodium in the filling. I can eat more, and be less puffy the next day! (LOL)

What you need:

  • sharp knife or small food processor (makes chopping a breeze), measuring spoons, bamboo (or traditional) steamer, shallow saucepan, small bowls for water and dipping sauce, small ice cream scoop


  • 10 oz package gyoza or round wonton wrappers (contains 36)

  • 1 pound ground pork

  • 1/4 pound 20-30 count shrimp (about 8-9), deveined and tails and shells removed, chopped fine

  • 8 whole water chestnuts, coarsely chopped

  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water, drained, and coarsely chopped

  • 3 green onions - chopped fine (including green parts)

  • 3 TB minced cilantro (optional)

  • 2 tsp freshly minced ginger (about 1/2 -1” knob)

  • 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce

  • 1 TB Hoisin or Oyster sauce

  • 1 TB Rice wine, dry white wine or sherry

  • 1/2 tsp sugar

  • 1 tsp cornstarch

  • 1/2 tsp white pepper

  • 1 tsp sesame oil

  • Nappa cabbage or lettuce leaves

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar

  • 2 TB soy sauce

  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil

  • 1/2 - 1 tsp ground chili sauce

  • finely minced cilantro, if desired


  1. Place the pork, shrimp, water chestnuts, mushrooms, green onions, cilantro, ginger, sauces, wine, and sugar in a bowl and stir until ingredients incorporated and well mixed. Sprinkle the cornstarch, white pepper and sesame oil on top and mix gently.

  2. Line both layers of a bamboo steamer with Chinese nappa cabbage or lettuce leaves.

  3. Put a gyoza wrapper in the palm of your hand, the floury side up. Dip your finger in some water and wet the entire surface. Using a small ice cream scoop, place filling in the center of the wrapper and bring sides up to meet the filling. The moistened wrapper should stick. Place on top of lined steamer tray - putting 18 shu mai in each layer and stacking the two layers and apply the lid.

  4. Heat water in the saucepan until boiling, and place the steamer on top. Reduce heat to medium low and steam for20-25 minutes until the wrappers are moist and soft, and all traces of wrapper flour are gone.

  5. Serve directly from the trays or remove to a serving platter. Mix all ingredients for the dipping sauce and serve on the side. Enjoy!