Blooming Flower of a Dim Sum Dumpling, Ika Shumai, Squid Bites We Serve from Otsumami by Atsuko Ikeda

Blooming flower of a dim sum dumpling, Ika Shumai, squid bites we serve from Otsumami by Atsuko Ikeda (published by Ryland Peters & Small, 2022)



Shumai are the steamed dumpling favorites at dim sum restaurants. They are traditionally Chinese, but this particular version is definitely Japanese and actually comes from my hometown, Yobuko in Kyushu. This town is known for its fish market and particularly for the translucent squid or ika you can get there. Ika Shumai are steamed squid and white fish dumplings, which are beautifully wrapped in thin strips of gyoza wrappers to emulate a blooming flower. The squid gives a natural sweetness to the dumplings, while the strips of gyoza wrapper add an airy, fluff y texture to your mouthful.


10 gyoza wrappers

6 large lettuce leaves

English mustard, to serve

Squid dumpling

Ingredients, Filling: 

200 g/7 oz. cod, skinned and roughly diced

120 g/4½ oz. fresh squid, roughly chopped

1 egg white

1 shallot, finely chopped

½ tsp peeled and finely grated fresh ginger

¼ tsp fine salt

1 tsp golden caster/granulated sugar

1 tbsp sake

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

2 tsp fish sauce

3 tbsp katakuriko (potato starch)


2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp mirin 

2 tbsp soy sauce

20-cm/8-inch steamer



To make the su joyu dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

For the dumpling filling, put the cod and half of the squid in a food processor. Pulse to make a paste. Add the egg white and pulse again to combine with the  fish paste – this will help give it an airy texture.

Tip the fish mixture out into a mixing bowl, then add the remaining chopped squid, shallot, ginger, salt, sugar, sake, sesame oil, fish sauce and katakuriko. Mix until well combined, then chill the dumpling filling in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make two separate piles with five gyoza wrappers each on a chopping board. Slice both piles of the gyoza wrappers into fine strips, as thin as matchsticks, then separate the layers so that they don’t stick together. Place the gyoza strips in a sealed container until ready to use.

Bring a steamer to the boil.

Wet your hands a little to stop the fish mixture from sticking, then divide the mixture into twelve 35-g/1¼-oz. portions. Shape each one into a ball. Mix the gyoza strips to a give a messy texture (rather than having them all neatly positioned). Cover each fish ball with a nest of gyoza strips. 

Use tongs or chopsticks to place three lettuce leaves at the bottom of the steamer to stop the dumplings from sticking to the surface. Place six dumplings into the steamer (spaced apart as they will swell up when cooking). Cover with a lid and steam over medium heat for 7 minutes.

Take the dumplings and the lettuce leaves out of the steamer, then repeat the cooking process with the remaining lettuce leaves and dumplings.

Serve the dumplings hot, with dots of English mustard on top and the su joyu dipping sauce.

Otsumami cover

(* Excerpted from Otsumami: Japanese Small Bites & Appetizers: Over 70 Recipes to Enjoy with Drinks by Atsuko Ikeda, published by Ryland Peters & Small 2022 / Photography by Yuki Sugiura (c) Ryland Peters & Small 2022)

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