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Har Gow

Har Gow – Shrimp Dumplings Recipe

Crystal Shrimp Dumplings are a famous traditional snack in Guangdong Province and belong to the Cantonese cuisine. Shrimp means “Xia”, dumplings mean “Jiao”, So Shrimp Dumplings mean “Xia Jiao” in Chinese. Xia Jiao means “har gow” in Cantonese.
Course Snack
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 6 minutes
Servings 4


  • 150 g wheat starch
  • 150 g tapioca starch can be replaced with potato starch, but make sure you do not use potato flour, as this may taste like potatoes
  • 300 ml boiling water

Ingredients for the Filling:

  • 250 g shrimp (Choose the best quality shrimp you can buy. High-quality live shrimp is usually best, but you can also use high-quality frozen shrimp. We are using frozen shrimp in this recipe. High-quality frozen shrimps are frozen immediately on the boats, in order to preserve the freshness of the shrimp meat).
  • 250 g pork belly (shrimp is not normally very juicy, but with the addition of pork, the dumplings will be more juicy)
  • 100 g resh canned bamboo shoots, cut into pieces
  • 30 g kale leaves, cut into strips (the purpose is to add a hint of green to the stuffing)
  • white Pepper
  • salt
  • sesame oil


  • Boil the water. I recommend using an electric kettle rather than boiling the water on the stove, as it will save you a lot of time. Do not measure 300 ml of water and then boil it as the moisture will evaporate and the amount of water will be reduced.Fill the kettle and boil it. Place the bowl with the starch mix onto a scale and set it to zero. Pour boiling water into the mixture until it weighs 300 grams.
  • Make the shrimp dumpling skin: place the wheat starch and tapioca starch into a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon. Mix well.
  • Next, with the bowl on the scales set to zero, pour the boiling water from the kettle slowly into the starch mixture while quickly stirring with chopsticks until it weighs 300 grams.
  • After the boiling water is added, continue stirring the mixture for a while. At this point, the mixture should already be turning into a translucent paste in the bowl.
  • Transfer the starch mixture to the surface you want to make the dough on, such as your countertop. You will be using your hands to form the dough, and even though it may still be quite hot, there is no better way to do it. If we love to eat, we cannot be afraid of suffering. As the dough is forming, you will notice that the dough is starting to turn a very elastic texture and feels like a water-filled balloon.
  • The dough of a good shrimp dumpling skin should look like the picture below. The surface should be smooth and elastic. Fresh dough cannot be used straight away because the elasticity is high, almost like rubber, and makes it difficult to roll into a shrimp dumpling skin. You need to let it relax, preferably in a sealed box, while you prepare the shrimp dumpling filling.

Make the Filling

  • The first step is to remove the skin from the pork belly and slice it into small, semi-thick pieces.Use a knife to slice all the meat up so it turns into mince. This can be tedious work, but meat that is minced by hand has better elasticity that prepackaged mince, and can be combined better with shrimp meat. If you find this is too hard, you can buy 250g of low fat pork mince from the store.
  • The second step is to cut the shrimp into small pieces of about one centimeter.
  • Next, chop the bamboo shoots into tiny pieces. The smaller the better. If you use canned bamboo shoots, which contain more water, you can squeeze the water into the filling with your hands. The meat can easily absorb this liquid.
  • Combine the pork, shrimp, bamboo shoots, kale leaves, sesame oil, salt, and pepper together and stir well with a stainless-steel spoon. You will need to put the amount of pepper you want in, depending on how much you like. Also make sure you put a moderate amount of salt and sesame oil in.
  • Now, it is time to do the last step: assembling the dumplings. There is as much expectation on how a dumpling looks as how to how it tastes. For example, there must be a round bulging part below the top of the dumpling, with 10-12 pleats. If there are not enough pleats, it means that the master chef’s skill is poor. Don’t expect to get this exactly right straightaway, it will take a few attempts to get it down pat.
  • The first step before assembling the dumplings is to get your steamer ready. Fill it with sufficient water and bring it to the boil on high.
  • While you are waiting for the water to boil, assemble the dumplings.
  • First, cut a portion out of the dough with a knife roll it with your hands into a strip of about 2.5 cm wide.
  • Cut this into about 8 equal portions.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll out each portion in a circle with an 8-10 cm circumference. The chef who specializes in making shrimp dumplings uses a round-shaped cutter to make the circles. This is a fast and good method. If you do not have a cutter, you can use a rolling pin. It takes a lot of effort and patience to pick it up, because the elasticity of the dough is really strong.
  • Next, as with other dumplings, place some of the filling on the side of one of the portions of rolled dough and gently use a small spoon to shape it:
  • Starting from the edge near the filling, crimp the edges ¾ of the way around the dumpling, leaving ¼ uncrimped.
  • Then press the remaining part against the pleated section and pinch the edges together firmly, to ensure that the two do not separate. This completes our first shrimp dumpling!
  • The last and simplest step is to steam the shrimp dumplings. Place some nonstick baking paper inside the steamer. When the water in the steamer begins to boil, place the shrimp dumplings into the steamer. Make sure there is enough space between the dumplings, otherwise if they stick, it is not easy to pull them apart and their appearance is ruined.