Crystal Skin

They are fascinating for many reasons. First of all, they attract everybody’s attention because of their semi-transparency, which is stunning with colorful filling. Secondly, they are gluten-free by nature. The wrappers are made of starches that do not contain any gluten. Finally, they are totally delicious with incredible texture.

Wheat and Tapioca Starches
Wheat and Tapioca Starches

So Easy To Make!

Ha-ha. Just joking!

These dumplings were the most challenging among all dumplings I ever wanted to learn to make. For a long time, I couldn’t find a recipe that would satisfy me 100% — either combination or proportions of starches made the wrapper not pleasant for my taste.

I am still learning. So far, I got the taste and texture I like, but yet to make these dumplings one-bite small and shaped correctly into bonnets with many tiny folds. That will come with practice, and one day I’ll replace the pictures for this recipe with real har gow.

IMPORTANT NOTES. Wheat starch can not be substituted with wheat flour. The water for the dough should be boiling. It should be 212F, not 200, 205, or 208. The best way to add 155ml of boiling water is to measure hot water in a cup, bring it to boiling in a microwave, and immediately add to starches. The order of steps is also crucial. There are different ways to make the dough, but the one described in this recipe gives the most consistent results. If the dough is not used for making dumplings right away, it should be rubbed with fat or oil and wrapped in plastic film to protect it from drying.

Dumplings: Har Gow
Dumplings: Har Gow

Har Gow | Shrimp Bonnet

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Chinese, Eastern Asian
Keyword: Chinese, dumplings, recipe, seafood, shrimp, steamed
Servings: 12 dumplings

Ingredients

for dough (12 dumplings)

  • 90 g wheat starch
  • 30 g tapioca starch
  • 155 ml water boiling, 212F
  • 2 tsp rendered pork fat

for shrimp filling (24 dumplings)

  • 1/2 lb prawn
  • 2 oz pork back fat frozen
  • 1/2 tsp ginger fresh
  • 1/2 tsp garlic fresh
  • 1 tbsp carrot finely diced
  • 1 tbsp chives finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp hot chili sesame oil
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 each egg white

Instructions

for wrappers (12 dumplings)

  • In a bowl, mix all wheat starch and a half (15g) of tapioca starch with a whisk. Measure 155ml of hot water and bring it to boiling in a microwave. Immediately pour it all at once into the bowl with starches and combine into a paste using chopsticks. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for 5 minutes at room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, prepare shrimp filling. (See instructions below).
  • Add another 15g of tapioca starch and knead the dough until all well combined and soft. Add fat and repeat. Knead until the white dough is smooth, soft, and pliable.
  • Shape the dough into a cylinder 1" D and divide into 12 portions 1" long. Oil your hands and shape each portion into a ball. Keep them covered with a damp towel or plastic wrap to prevent drying. Make sure your working surface, hands, and the tool you are using for pressing the dough (Chinese cleaver or dough scraper) into round wrappers are rubbed with oil.
  • Flatten each portion of dough into a round wrapper 3-3 1/2" D, place 1 tbsp of filling in the center, and shape it into a dumpling.
  • Line bamboo baskets with lightly oiled parchment paper and arrange dumplings so they do not touch each other.
  • Steam dumplings for 5 minutes. Serve with the dipping sauce of your choice.

for shrimp filling (24 dumplings)

  • Shell and devein shrimp. In a bowl combine 2 parts cold water, 1 part ice, and 1 tbsp corn starch. Place shrimp into an ice bath, stir and refrigerated for 30 min to 1 hour. During this step, shrimp will absorb some starchy water for more moist filling.
  • Meanwhile, grate ginger and garlic. Finely dice carrots and chop chives. Finely chop frozen pork back fat.
  • Strain starchy water, chop shrimp into puree-like consistency and transfer it into a bowl. Place ginger and garlic into a cheesecloth and squeeze their juices into a bowl with shrimp puree. Add fat, carrots, and chives. Add Shaoxing wine, salt, sugar, white pepper, corn starch, hot sesame oil, and egg white. Combine well and whip with a fork for a couple of minutes. Use ~1 tbsp per dumpling.

Notes

Video: How to make prawn dumpling (har gow) 虾饺
Wiki: Har Gow
These shrimp dumplings are transparent and smooth. The prawn dumplings first appeared in Guangzhou outskirts near the creek bazaar Deli. This dish is said to be the one that the skill of a dim sum chef is judged on. Traditionally, ha gow should have at least seven and preferably ten or more pleats imprinted on its wrapper. The skin must be thin and translucent, yet be sturdy enough not to break when picked up with chopsticks. It must not stick to the paper, container or the other ha gow in the basket. The shrimp must be cooked well, but not overcooked. The amount of meat should be generous, yet not so much that it cannot be eaten in one bite.
Dumplings: Har Gow