Gluten Free Dumplings (Shaomai)

Shaomai (pronunciation here) are Asian dumplings filled with shrimp and pork cooked in a bamboo steamer or other makeshift steamer). They are similar to potstickers, but the filling is different and they stand erect and are not completely sealed. In this version, the dumplings are only steamed, not fried and steamed as I instruct in my potstickers recipe. However, both may be just steamed. The Shaomai is simply delicious and may be served to all of your guests.

Luckily for us gluten-free cooks, tapioca is a star in Asian kitchens as well as gluten-free. Tapioca is also bland, which means it won’t steal the show away from the flavors of the filling.

Gluten Free Dumplings (Shao-Mai)

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 16 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 16 minutes

Yield: Makes 5 servings (or approx. 50 dumplings)

Gluten Free Dumplings (Shao-Mai)


    For the Filling:
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free fish sauce (or oyster sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 large egg (optional for egg-free dieters)
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free sweet sherry (Hartley & Gibson's Blend of Amontillado Medium Sherry*)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces shrimp, peeled, deveined, chopped into at least 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 ounce water chestnuts, minced
  • 1 ounce carrots, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • For the Dough:
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch, or as needed
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour, or as needed
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp to 1/2 cup + 6 Tbsp. water
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • For the Dipping Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free reduced-sodium soy or tamari sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar**
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil (or replace 1 teaspoon or more with hot chili oil
  • 1 thinly sliced scallion


    To Make the Filling:
  1. Place a large bowl in the freezer.
  2. Add the pork, ginger, scallions, oyster sauce, soy sauce,m oil, cornstarch, egg, wine, salt, and pepper to your food processor. Pulse to combine until it forms a ball or begins to stick together. Transfer to the chilled bowl. (Pork can go bad quickly so be sure the bowl is cold.)
  3. Add the shrimp, water chestnuts, carrots, and cilantro; mix well to combine.
  4. To Make the Dough:
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together tapioca flour, cornstarch, potato starch, rice flour, baking powder, and xanthan gum.
  6. Whisk 1-1/4 cups water with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the liquid into the dry ingredients to form a stretchy dough, the consistency of raw biscuits. Add additional water as needed to create a soft clay-like consistency.
  7. Dust lightly with cornstarch to make it dry enough to handle easily. If the dough is too dry, knead in a few drops of water.
  8. Dust a smooth rolling surface, rolling pin, and your hands generously with rice flour. Turn out the dough onto the surface. Roll dough out thinly, but not as thinly as possible. You want to prevent tears and the dough from sticking. Add additional flour, as needed. Roll enough dough out so that you will be able to cut out a few 3 to 4-inch circles or squares.
  9. To Make the Dumplings:
  10. Using a spoon or spring-action scooper, place a teaspoon of filling into the center of a wrapper. Using four fingers, bring the sections up to surround the filling.
  11. Press the filling down and tap the dumpling on your working surface to compact it.
  12. To Steam the Dumplings:
  13. Line the shelves of a bamboo steamer***|]with pieces of parchment paper***, napa cabbage leaves, lettuce leaves or oil; set aside.
  14. Bring the water to a boil in a bamboo steamer.
  15. Place the dumplings on the steamer shelves, spacing apart about 1/2 to 1-inch. Cover and cook steam for about 5 minutes.
  16. Turn off the steamer, but do not uncover the dumplings. Allow the dumplings to steam for an additional 3 minutes.
  17. To Make the Dipping Sauce:
  18. Combine all of the sauce ingredients and set aside to allow the scallions to infuse the other ingredients. Strain before serving. Serve this sauce in small prep bowl to use for dipping.


*I use sherry as a substitute for Shaoxing rice wine, which contains wheat. I purchased Hartley & Gibson's at BevMo.

**You may use watered down apple cider vinegar as a substitute for rice vinegar. Apple cider is super high in acid and rice vinegar is extremely mild.

***If you do not own a bamboo steamer, created your own by placing water at the bottom of a large pot. Then place a steaming basket inside, away from the water, or hang a colander from the top of the pot. Cover dumplings with a lid to steam and keep the water at a low boil. (So that you know when the water boils out of the bottom of the pot, if you place a penny or some marbles at the bottom, you'll eventually stop here it from knocking around. That means the water has evaporated.

***Do not cover the entire bottom of the basket or strainer with parchment or leaves as it will not allow much space for the steam to rise.


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