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Crystal Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow)

Serves: Makes 30 dumplings


  • For the filling:
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup minced bamboo shoots
  • 1 tablespoon minced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 tablespoons minced pork fat or minced fatty bacon
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 4 teaspoons tapioca starch or corn starch
  • ⅛ teaspoon white pepper

  • For the dough:
  • 1¼ cup wheat starch
  • ¼ cup tapioca starch
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • Cabbage leaves, for lining steamers


Plump and juicy, with chunks of shrimp barely visible through translucent dough, har gow are one of the most widely recognized dim sum classics. The wheat starch skin that encases the filling is cut with tapioca to give it elasticity. A metal tortilla press is excellent for pressing out dough balls to the desired shape and thickness for the dumpling. Line the press with wax paper to prevent sticking.

To make filling: In a medium bowl stir to combine the shrimp, bamboo shoots, green onions, cilantro, ginger and pork. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, wine, sugar, salt, sesame oil, tapioca starch and white pepper and stir thoroughly. Pour the soy mixture over the shrimp mixture and mix well with a silicone spatula. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator while you prepare the dough.

To make dough: In a medium bowl add the wheat starch, tapioca starch, and salt and stir well with a wooden spoon to combine. Add the boiling water and canola oil and stir until well combined. Transfer the dough while it is still hot onto a clean surface dusted with wheat starch. Knead until smooth, adding a little more wheat starch if necessary. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Transfer warm dough to a gallon size plastic zip lock bag, to prevent the dough from drying out.

To form dumplings: Fill a small bowl with water for sealing edges. Lightly dust a clean work surface with wheat starch. Cut the dough into 4 sections and roll each section into an 8-inch long rope, using the palms of your hands. Cut each rope into 8 pieces and roll into balls. Place any dough you’re not working with in the plastic bag. Using a small rolling pin or tortilla press, flatten each ball into a circle about 3-inch diameter and about a ⅛-inch thick. Make sure to keep the finished rounds of dough stacked up inside the plastic bag so that they don't dry out before you can fill them. Take one disc out of the bag and make 7 pleats on one half of the disc. The disc should now be shaped like a bowl. Fill the bowl with a heaping teaspoon of the filling. Moisten the un-pleated side of the wrapper with a bit of water and press the edges of the dumpling together to seal. Repeat with remaining rounds.

To cook dumplings: Pour water into a wok or large pot to a depth of 3 inches and heat over medium-high heat to a strong simmer. Stack bamboo steamers in the wok or place a steamer insert into the pot. Steamer should not touch the surface of the water. Line the steamer with cabbage leaves or oiled sheets of parchment paper. Arrange dumplings in steamers at least ½ inch apart. Cover steamer and steam dumplings until filling is cooked through and wrappers are translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes.

To serve: Arrange the dumplings onto warmed plates or platters and serve immediately with soy dipping sauce.

Recipe developed for Sur La Table’s Cooking Classes

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