Har Gow (Steamed Shrimp Dumplings)

Har Gow (Steamed Shrimp Dumplings)

Har Gow (Steamed Shrimp Dumplings)

Har gow (also spelled har gau, har kau, har gao, ha gao, ha gow, ha gau, har gaw, ha gaw, har kaw, ha gaau, har cow, har gaau, or other variants) is a traditional Chinese dumpling dish served in dim sum (dian xin).

Traditionally, har gow should have at least seven and preferably ten or more pleats imprinted on its wrapper. This dish’s serving manner is similar to that of  siu mai (Shaomai). Both har gow and siu mai are considered the most popular dishes in Chinese dim sum.

The wrappers of har gow are made with boiling water added with wheat starch, tapioca starch, oil and a small amount of salt. The filling contains shrimp, cooked pork fat, bamboo shoots, scallions, cornstarch, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, and other seasonings. The pouch-shaped dumpling is then steamed in a bamboo basket until translucent. At the table it is usually dipped in soy sauce, or red color rice vinegar. When the dough for the wrapper is properly prepared and cooked, the dumpling has a slightly sticky, chewy texture. The shrimp are not overcooked, so they retain a slightly crisp texture.


This dish is said to be the one that the skill of a dim sum chef is judged on. The skin must be thin and translucent, yet be sturdy enough to not break when picked up with chopsticks. It must not stick to the paper, container or the other hargow in the basket. The shrimp must be cooked well, but not overcooked; be generous in amount, yet not so much that it cannot be eaten in one bite.

The Recipe:


Ingredients for filling (32 dumplings)

  • * 8 ounces medium shrimps, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • * 3 tablespoons minced bamboo shoots
  • * 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • * 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • * 1 teaspoon rice wine or dry sherry
  • * 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • * 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • * 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • * 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • * 1 egg white

Ingredients for dough (32 dumplings)

  • * 1 1/4 cup wheat starch plus 1/4 cup tapioca flour, or 1 1/2 cups wheat starch * note
  • * 1/2 tsp. salt
  • * 1 cup boiling water
  • * 1 tsp. vegetable oil


1. Mix the filling ingredients and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl. combine the wheat starch, tapioca flour, if using, and salt. Add the boiling water and the oil and stir with chopsticks or a wooden spoon. While the dough is still very hot, turn it out onto a board dusted with wheat starch.

3. Knead until smooth, adding a little more wheat starch if necessary. The dough should be soft but not sticky.

4. Divide the dough into 4. Use your palms to roll each portion into an 8-inch cylinder. For this recipe, cut each cylinder into 8 pieces. Cover with plastic to keep moist while you flatten each piece.

5. To make round dumpling wrappers, wheat starch dough can be sandwiched between squares of baking parchment and then pressed flat using downward pressure on the flat side of a cleaver blade or the flat bottom of a pan. The result will be an almost perfect circle. If you still want your circles larger or a little thinner, roll them out lightly with a rolling pin before peeling away the parchment. Make the circle at least 3+1/2 inch in diameter.

6. Make 7 or 8 narrow pleats like the photo below, each almost overlapping the last. You should leave about 1/3 circumference of the dough without pleats.


7. Spoon about a teaspoon of the filling into the pocket, keeping it from touching the open edge of the dough.

8. Press the edges of the dough together, forming a half circle. Put it on the flat board, pressing the bottom of the dumpling. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
9. Set up a steamer and bring the water to a boil. Steam the dumplings over high heat for 7 minutes. Let the dumplings rest for a few minutes before transferring them to a serving plate. Serve hot.


zhēng xiā  jiǎo
蒸      虾   饺         steamed shrimp dumpling             n.
duì  xiā
对    虾                    prawn                                             n.
zhú sǔn
竹   笋                    bamboo shoots                            n.

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  1. Hi. It’s delicious!!!!!

  2. NOT for 32 dumplings, more like 16 or even less to get the appropriate size of about 4 per steamer. Roll it quite thin, to the translucency where you can see your hand some through the wrap. When it cooks it should get that nice restaurant translucency. This was my first time cooking ha gow, so I still gotta play with size, portion, and pleating and steaming and all that. But those are my comments.

  3. I think it needed more taste, I’m going to try again and add more ginger, salt and some garlic and coriander as well. The pastry tured out really well for my first time.

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