Duck Siu Mai Dumplings | MeatEater Cook

by Braxton Taylor

Siu mai dumplings are a popular item in Cantonese Chinese dim sum, which describes an assortment of small plates typically served for brunch. These open-face dumplings are filled with a combination of pork, shrimp, and mushrooms, wrapped in a wonton wrapper, and steamed. I love siu mai for their savory, juicy succulence—they’re my favorite dim sum item, followed by bao buns.

My wild game version of siu mai includes quite a bit of minced duck (or goose), which adds welcome gaminess to the pork and shrimp. Choose a nice-tasting wild duck with tasty fat, such as mallard. Although you can use breasts without the skin, you’ll miss out on the ducky flavor that fat imparts.

As for the ground pork, talk to your butcher for freshly ground pork with an 80/20 lean-to-fat ratio. Don’t pick up one of those prepackaged trays of ground pork, which tends to be too lean. The fat is what makes siu mai succulent, and if using duck with no skin, it’s even more important. I chose outdoor-raised Berkshire pork that I got from a local, small-town butcher, which is by far some of the best ground pork anyone can get.

This recipe makes a lot of dumplings. You can freeze them raw once assembled: Lay dumplings on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure they don’t touch, and then freeze. Once frozen, you can drop them in a zip-top bag to steam as needed. Steam them straight from frozen, which will take a few more minutes to cook. Look for an internal temperature of at least 160°F.

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