Chinese Dim Sum with a low-carb lifestyle? Shumai dumplings without wheat, starch, gluten, or added sugar? We love Chinese food, but generally refrain, since it is loaded with carbs. It is certainly questionable whether low-carb foodies can enjoy delicious Chinese recipes. However, our Low Carb Pork Shumai does more than answer those questions. It is delicious and definitely Tasty Low Carb!
When we lived on the East Coast we often visited New York City for quick weekend vacations. Broadway shows, piano bars, street vendors, weekend street fairs, and so many delis and cosmopolitan restaurants. Many of our food inspirations and recipes come from those travels. We love New York and miss those trips. Each trip to the “Big Apple” included a day in Chinatown and our favorite Chinese restaurant – “Royal Seafood” on Mott Street. Lunch time at the Royal Seafood means “Dim Sum.”
“Dim Sum” are filled delicate dumplings steamed to perfection in bamboo steamers. They are served fresh, hot, and with a delicious soy based dipping sauce. Fillings are varied, with minced pork, seafood, chicken, and beef specialities. Shumai is a style of Dim Sum that originated in Mongolia, but today it is clearly a Cantonese specialty. The dumpling is the “carb culprit” – wheat based and much like a wonton. But, let’s make it low carb!
The key to this recipe is to substitute cooked cabbage leaves for the wheat based wrapping for your “Pork Shumai.” Think of it like a mini-cabbage roll filled with Chinese flavored ingredients. We use ground pork for our Shumai, but you could use pork shoulder (pork butt) as long as you mince it in a food processor or blender. The convenience of ground pork is easier and yields a delicious appetizer.
The perfect blend of garlic, freshly grated ginger, scallions, soy sauce, and sesame oil will yield that unique Chinese flavor for your Pork Shumai. You can also add grated carrots, since the carb count for each Dim Sum is only 2g. That’s right – eat 4 for an appetizer and only add 8 carbs to your daily tally. And they are delicious!
We do use an egg to bind the mix together and some almond flour. It is basically a pork meat ball that becomes your Pork Shumai filling. Cutting your cooked and cooled cabbage leaves into shells works well and even looks like a wheat-based dumpling. Cabbage is also found in many Chinese recipes so the taste works well with the sesame-soy-garlic-ginger blend of seasonings.
When cooking the cabbage leaves it will go quicker if you remove the leaves from the cabbage before boiling. You should also cut the core out of the cabbage to eliminate the spiny part. Make sure you allow them to cool before assembling. An easy method for filling is to hold the cabbage leaf in one hand forming into a cup shape and then add the filling. Make sure you squeeze them together so the filling will bind to the leaf and hold together better before steaming.
We also suggest that when you steam the Pork Shumai dumplings that you place them in your steamer fairly tight – touching each other. Again, they will hold together better if you follow this tip. If you do not have a bamboo steamer just use a steamer insert or a stainless steamer pot. We use a vegetable steamer pot insert and lightly grease it with olive oil to avoid any sticking during the steaming process.
The Sesame and Soy Dipping Sauce for our Low Carb Pork Shumai recipe is essential. We use this sauce a lot. You can use it for our Low Carb Tempura Shrimp recipe. It is super easy to prepare – just mix the ingredients in a small bowl.
These little gems are an excellent appetizer for your next Chinese dinner or perfect as a meal in themselves. Try making a full course Chinese dinner, adding our Low Carb Egg Drop Soup and our Cauliflower Pork Fried Rice.
Changing the recipe and using a blend of minced shrimp and ground pork would be delicious. That one is next on our list – we think minced chicken would be another choice. For now, make our Low Carb Pork Shumai tonight and imagine you are dining in Chinatown at the Royal Seafood in NYC – enjoy!
Low Carb Pork Shumai (Dim Sum)
- In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except the cabbage leaves. Knead with your hands until the meat mixture is smoothly combined (much like a meatloaf).
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Use about 16 cabbage leaves and cook them for about 10 minutes until softened and pliable. Cut out the core and allow to cool.
- Cut the leaves to allow for forming a cabbage cup and fill each with about a tablespoon of filling that has been rolled into a ball.
- Add the Shumai to a steamer basket and steam for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.
Sesame and Soy Dipping Sauce
- Mix the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Top with a few green onions chopped on the bias for presentation. Serve with the steamed Shumai.