Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Har Gow (Chinese Shrimp Dumplings)

 Har gow are Cantonese shrimp dumplings that are a classic dim sum dish.

If your first few dumplings don't turn our just right, don't give up! It can take a few tries to get the hang of pleating them.

PREP TIME30 minutes
COOK TIME6 minutes
TOTAL TIME36 minutes


For the filling

  • 6 oz raw shrimp
  • 3 Tbsp bamboo shoots
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil (or other neutral oil)

For the wrappers

  • 1/2 cup wheat starch
  • 1/3 cup corn starch (or tapioca/potato starch)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil (or other neutral oil)


For the filling

  1. Depending on how smooth you want the filling mixture, either roughly chop or finely mince the shrimp. Place them in a bowl.
  2. Finely chop the bamboo shoots and add these, along with the other filling ingredients to the shrimp in the bowl. Mix all together until well combined and slightly sticky. Place in fridge to chill while you make the dough.

Prepare your steamer

  1. First, prepare the steamer and set some water to start boiling. If you have a bamboo steamer and liners, line the steamer basket(s). If you don't have liners, use thin slices of carrot, spaced apart a little. You could also use a metal steamer with the carrot slices to stop the dumplings sticking, but first you may need to use something to make sure the dumplings will be relatively level and not touch. For the water, either boil some water in the bottom of a wok or use a pot roughly the same diameter as the steamer. Either way, you want enough water to make sure it won't boil dry as the dumplings cook, so a good inch or more depth, but not so much that the steamer will be in the water.

Make the wrappers and fill the dumplings

  1. For the wrappers, mix both of the starches together in a bowl and then add the boiling water. Mix it to bring it together as a smooth dough. Then add the oil and mix in. The dough should be smooth and flexible but not sticky. If it is a little dry, add a drop or two more water. If sticky, add a little more wheat starch.
  2. Try to work with the dough while it is still warm. Start by rolling it out into a log then cut into 12 even pieces. Roll each into a ball and place all but one under a damp cloth to stop them from drying out. Take the filling mixture from the fridge and have nearby ready to use.
  3. If your dough is dryer, you may find it easiest to lightly oil the side of a cleaver and flatten the dough with it. If it is softer, you may want to roll the dough out on a surface lightly dusted with wheat starch. Either way, using a silicone mat can help to work on. Flatten the ball of dough to around a 3.5 - 4 inch diameter circle. Then, carefully work the cleaver/knife under the dough to release it from the surface.
  4. Place a teaspoonful of the filling in the middle of the wrapper then bring the sides together on either side of it without yet joining them. Pinch together the wrapper on one side then make a small fold on the top of the wrapper and flatten it down, towards the pinched edge, to make a pleat on the one side. Repeat this along the edge of the wrapper - you should get around 6 - 8 pleats, all facing the same way.
  5. Once joined, transfer the dumpling to the steamer, placing either on the liner or on top of a slice of carrot.
  6. Repeat with the rest of the dumpling wrappers and filling. Make sure the dumplings have a little space between them in the steamer.
  7. Cover the steamer with the lid then place over the wok or pot of boiling water. Steam the dumplings for 6 minutes, then serve.