Little Shaggy Pie

Лохматый пирожок из таро! Так я прозвала этот dumpling, when saw it for the first time in the picture 10 years ago. I became obsessed — needed to find the recipe and try making it. If I remember correctly (the original is not available anymore), I found a Chinese recipe and had somebody help me translate it. It was challenging and fun!

Choose the Right Ingredients

There are two important ingredients in this recipe: taro root and wheat starch. They can’t be substituted. In Austin, both of them can be found at H-Mart, Ranch 99, and MT Supermarket.

Taro Root

There are two distinct types of taro available at the stores — smaller (the size of potato) and larger (a pineapple size). Besides the size, they are different in taste and texture. Smaller taro is white when sliced, and its texture is tender and slimy. Larger taro is white with pink fibers, and its texture is firm, similar to a potato. The one with pink fibers is our taro for this recipe. Sometimes it is sold whole — already peeled, cut into smaller chunks, and vacuum packed. We don’t need much, so the second option looks more attractive.

Wheat Starch

Wheat starch can’t be substituted with either wheat flour or corn starch. It’s a by-product in the manufacture of wheat gluten. Just like wheat flour, it is made of wheat but doesn’t contain gluten. Just like corn starch, it doesn’t contain gluten, but its thickening power is twice lower. (More about wheat starch.)

You Need Culinary Thermometer

The trickiest part of making taro dumplings is deep-frying. First of all, you need enough oil to submerge the dumplings completely. Secondly, and obviously, choose the right oil — with a high smoking point. (My fav is avocado oil, though it’s expensive.) Finally, do this step with a thermometer because the temperature is critical for success.

The temp should be high — 375F-390F. Since we are doing it at home and using the min amount of oil in a small pan, the best approach is to fry 1-2 dumplings at a time. More than two dumplings will drop the oil temperature way too quickly. Constantly check the temperature and give it time to come back to the desired level. If you see that the skin goes off, the oil temp is too low. If you see that the skin doesn’t get enough shaggy, the oil temp is too high.

Taro dumplings | Wu Gok — the oil temp was too high
Taro dumplings | Wu Gok — the oil temp was too high
Taro dumplings | Wu Gok
Taro dumplings | Wu Gok

Taro Dumplings | Wu Gok

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time24 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: deep-fried, dimsum, dumplings, shrimp, taro
Servings: 12 dumplings
Calories: 180kcal


for dumplings skin

  • 600 g taro
  • 100 g rendered pork fat or butter
  • 110 g wheat starch
  • 180 g water boiling
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 0.5 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar

for stuffing

  • 240 g shrimp
  • 2 each scallions
  • 0.5 tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sake
  • 1 tsp wheat starch
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil for sauteing
  • 1 tsp sesame oil for sauteing


for stuffing

  • Peel and mince shrimp. Wash and finely chop scallions. Combine shrimp, scallions, pepper, soy sauce, and sake. Let marinate for 15 minutes.
    Chopped shrimp
  • Add starch to the mixture, mix well. Heat avocado and sesame oil on the skillet over medium heat and saute shrimp mixture until cooked, for a few minutes. Transfer into a small bowl and let cool to room temp.
    Stuffing for taro dumplings skin

for dumplings skin

  • Slice taro 0.25" thick.
    Taro root, peeled and sliced
  • Steam taro slices for 20 minutes until soft.
    Steaming taro root
  • Combine wheat starch and boiling water and mix well to make a paste.
    Wheat starch with boiling water
  • Mash steamed taro or press it through the sieve.
    Steamed taro
  • Combine all the ingredients for the skin to make a homogenous paste.
    Making wraps for Making Taro Dumplings | Wu Gok

to shape and deep fry dumplings

  • Fill a frying pan with enough oil to submerge dumplings 1" in diameter. Preheat oil to 380F-390F.
  • Divide taro paste into 12 portions. Fill each portion with 1 tbsp of stuffing. Slightly wet your hand with cold water to make this step easier.
    Making Taro Dumplings | Wu Gok
  • Deep-fry dumplings making sure the temperature is between 375F and 390F. Place cooked dumplings on a cooling rack. Serve warm and crispy, as soon as they are ready.
    Taro dumplings | Wu Gok


Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 405mg | Potassium: 315mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 1mg
Taro dumplings | Wu Gok