Go Back
+ servings
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Vegan Shanghai Shao Mai - 上海烧卖

Vegan Shanghai shao mai is made from steamed glutinous rice and cooked with mushrooms, bamboo shoots and ginger. They are then wrapped into a vase shape and steam to perfection until all the flavors meld. These beautiful dumplings are best served when warmed and can be store in freezer for up to a month which make them perfect for meal prep.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Rice Soaking Time4 hrs
Total Time5 hrs 30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keyword: Chinesefood, dumplings
Servings: 5
Author: woonheng


  • Bamboo Steamer


  • 2 cups glutinous rice (I used Thai glutinous rice)
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • 10 dried shiitake mushrooms rehydrated in hot water until soft
  • 1 cup fresh or canned bamboo shoots
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil such as vegetable or grapeseed
  • 3 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tablespoons vegan oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons umami seasoning such as Yondu, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 1 dash white pepper
  • 50 round dumpling wrappers at room temperature


Prepare the rice

  • Rinse the rice with water to remove dust. Transfer the cleaned rice to a bowl and cover with at least 2 inches of water. Soak for 4 to 12 hours.
  • When ready, strain the rice, then transfer it to a parchment-lined bamboo steamer, spreading it out for even cooking. Steam for 25 to 30 minutes, until the grains turn opaque.

Prepare the pairing ingredients

  • While the rice is cooking, prepare the filling: Finely mince the ginger. Finely dice the mushrooms and bamboo shoots.
  • Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sauté the ginger until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and golden-brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the bamboo shoots and stir-fry just to combine.
  • Add the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, vegan oyster sauce, sugar, umami seasoning, pepper, and salt. Stir in 2 cups of water, then add the steamed rice.
  • Using a silicone spatula, gently press and toss the rice until all the grains are covered with sauce, about 2 minutes. The texture of the rice should be soft—if the rice appears to be too dry or undercooked, add more water, 2 tablespoons at a time. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Assemble the dumplings

  • Set up a dumpling assembly station: Fill a small bowl with water and grab a soup spoon.
  • To wrap the shao mai, wet both your thumb and index finger with water. Pinch and squeeze the edge of the dumpling wrapper in a circular motion to create a frilly, thin edge like a lotus leaf.
  • Place a heaping spoonful of filling in the middle of the wrapper. Now cup the fingers of your nondominant hand to make a C shape. Place the wrapper in the middle of the C shape (in the crook of your hand) so that the filling is in your palm and the wrapper is laying on the outside of your hand.
  • Use your thumb and index finger to close the C shape to create an O shape; this will adhere the wrapper to the sides of the filling. Help it adhere by crimping the wrapper around the edges of the filing with your dominant hand (the top of the filling should be exposed).
  • Dip a small spoon in the water and gently press the rice into the wrapper. Press the dumpling onto a work surface to flatten the bottom so it can stand upright. You’re aiming for a finished dumpling that looks like a vase, with a large round bottom, a slender middle, and wide top.

Steam the dumplings

  • Transfer as many dumplings as will fit to a parchment-lined bamboo steamer rack—they shouldn’t be touching. (Depending on the size of your steamer, you’ll probably need to do a few batches of steaming.)
  • Fill the steamer pot with water and turn on the heat. Once the water starts to boil, set the steamer rack on top, cover and steam for 10 to 12 minutes, until the dumpling wrappers are fully cooked and opaque.
  • Serve immediately and repeat with the remaining dumplings. (You can also store the cooled steamed dumplings in the freezer and resteam when ready to eat.)