Har Gow or Shrimp Dumpling

May 19, 2007
My oblongish Har Gows

What happens when you put me infront of a tv programme about dim sum? Cooking happens, that’s what. I made Har Gow or shrimp dumplings tonight for dinner. It was well worth the effort…ahh..

Har gow has to be my favorite dimsum of all time. The translucent skin and the sweetness of the shrimps that bursts in your mouth is just indescribable. It’s SO delicious. So I thought to myself that I MUST make some so that I could satisfy the cravings. Of course, i could technically go and buy myself some har gow for $3.50 per set of 3 large dumplings but what’s the fun in that? Food tastes better when you put some heart and soul into it, just like how your mother’s fried rice, bak kut teh, pan noodles tastes so much better that any others.

Anyway, I got the recipe from my 4th granduncle who died 7-8 years ago at the age of 90. He was a chef from China before he fled to Malaya. His Siu Mai and Har Gow recipes are definitely out of this world. We will focus on har gow for now :D The key to making the perfect har gow lies in the correlation of its skin and filling. The skin must not be too thick, other wise the filling will be overcooked before the skin turns translucent. The filling must be in the right amount so that it cooks properly. It’s details like these that makes a whole of a difference because “dim sum” simply means “touch heart” in direct translation from Chinese anyway. So you got to put some heart into the details to make it good to eat. :)

In all it’s glistening glory

Recipe for Har Gow/ Shrimp Dumpling:

3/4 cup wheat starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup (approx.) boiling hot water

Combine starches and salt together in one bowl, stir to mix well. Add hot water in and with a wooden spoon, stir until it reaches a doughy texture. Pour the contents out from the bowl into a working surface and work the dough..if it’s too floury, add more water by the tablespoons until you get a workable dough. Knead for 2 minutes and no more before letting it sit for 20 minutes on the counter until it is ready to use. Cover with damp cloth.

Har Gow filling:
200 grams shrimp, cleaned and shelled
2 tablespoon of bamboo shoot, minced finely
1 stalk of spring onion, chopped finely
2 slices of ginger, minced finely
1 small garlic, minced finely
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
3/4 tablespoon of chinese cooking wine
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 egg white, slightly beaten

1. If you’re using medium sized shrimps (36/40 shrimps per pound), halve them width wise. If you’re using bigger shrimps or prawns, you might want to cut them into chunks. Don’t, never ever, pinch on your shrimps. You want them chunky and meaty and bursting when you bite into them.
2. Combine the chopped up shrimps with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and keep in the fridge for 20 minutes-1 hour, until it is ready to use.

Apart from having a thinner skin in the future, I think it tastes quite good :)

Assembly and cooking:

1. Take your dough and pinch a ball the size of a pingpong ball out. Flatten it using the back of a heavy pot. You want it as flat as possible so that your skin will be thin and wonderfully soft.
2. Add your filling, i suggest using your measuring spoons, use 1 teaspoon at a time.
3. Fold it upwards and primp it like a “pau” OR you can just fold it like how you would fold your potstickers. Here’s an example of shape you can try wrapping your har gow into. I folded it like how i would a potsticker so my har gow has an oblong shape..:P
4. Repeat procedure 1,2,3 until you used up all your filling.
5. Steam your har gow for no more than 13 minutes on a bamboo steamer or an electric one. Just make sure you oil the base well so they don’t stick. If you are using bigger shrimps, steam for 15 minutes and no more. You want your har gow to remain succulent and juicy.

Eat Eat Eat!

You just keep popping them into your mouth!

P.S. Even though your har gow may look like a play-doh version of a 3 year old’s attempt of constructing a triceratop, you’ll be pleased to know that the har gows actually come out presentable in the end :) Oh…if only I had the pictures to show you of my har gow’s before i brought them to the steamer…. *blush* hehe

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