Cooking with Alison

Shrimp Dumpling (ha gow)

In Dim Sum on February 2, 2010 at pm

I never thought that I would be able to make chinese dim sum from scratch.  I am so glad that I tried  🙂  because I love love love shrimp dumplings (ha gow) and now I can enjoy it without the MSG.  Dim sum refers to various types of small dishes that are served with tea during the meal, yum cha (“drinking tea time”), which starts early in the morning and ends between noon and 3 pm, depending on the restaurant.  (Check out the other dim sum recipes that I have posted in the Asian – Dim Sum category.)

Ha gow (shrimp dumplings) are a bit time consuming to make but you can make large batches and freeze them.  Photo instructions for how to wrap ha gow are at the bottom.

Shrimp Dumpling (Ha Gow) Recipe

makes about 32 dumplings

for the dough:

3/4 cup wheat starch

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1 tablespoon corn starch

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/2 cup (approx.) boiling hot water

1 tablespoon home rendered lard (recipe here) or shortening or vegetable oil

for the filling:

3/4 pound shelled, deveined, shrimp – gently cut into chunks

2 tablespoons bamboo shoots in short thin pieces

1/2 egg white

1/4 teaspoon ginger, finely grated


1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

chinese green chives or chopped spinach (optional)

for the dip:

hot sauce

sweet soy sauce (Chinese rock sugar and soy sauce to taste, heated until the sugar dissolves and then cooled completely)

Place all of the filling ingredients into a bowl.  Gently stir well in the same direction until the mixture becomes slightly sticky.  Chill completely in the refrigerator (30 min – 1 hour).

Sift the dry ingredients of the dough into a mixing bowl and pour in the boiling water and oil (if using), stirring until you get a paste.  Let dough stand at room temperature for 1 minute, then add the lard or shortening and knead in into a soft dough.  Knead for no more than 2 minutes.  (You may need to adjust the wheat starch or water for the right texture.)  Let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes, loosely covered with a cloth.  Roll it into a long cylinder and cut it into 32 equally sized pieces.  Cover with a slightly damp cloth and work with one piece at a time.  Roll each piece of the dough into a ball.  Using the flat side of a cleaver (or the palm of your hand or the bottom of a flat pot), flatten the dough ball between two sheets of wax paper (or syran wrap) until it is about 3 ½ inches in diameter.  The dough should be thin.  In your hands, make 4 – 8 slightly overlapping pleats in the top half of the dough round.  This forms the shape of a cup with the bottom half still having the smooth edge.  (See below for pictures that show you how to wrap ha gow).  Put 1 teaspoon of filling into the cup shape and pinch together the top half of the dough round (pleated half) with the bottom half of the dough round (smooth half), closing the dumpling.  (See below for pictures that show you how to wrap shrimp dumplings).

Ha gow can be frozen uncooked.  They steam directly from the freezer beautifully for about 14 minutes.  Freeze the individual dumplings separately before throwing them together in a bag.  Try not to crack the skin as it can become delicate once frozen.

Prepare the steamer and boil the water.  (I use a wok with a lid, a metal rack and a slightly oiled glass dish.  Here are detailed instructions for how to steam cook food.)  Place the har gow in the greased steamer.  Steam over medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes.  Check the level of the water so that your wok doesn’t burn dry.  When done, the dough will look translucent, the shrimp will be pink throughout and the inside should be steaming hot.  Remove and serve hot with hot sauce and sweet soy sauce.

Photo source here.

  1. I love your whole dim sum category, but I’m starting with these…perhaps for a New Year’s day dim sum feast? Thanks for sharing! Theresa

    • Hey! Thanks so much 🙂 New Year’s Day dim sum feast sounds amazing! I would definitely recommend making these in advance and freezing them because it takes a few tries to get used to wrapping them (the dough needs to be rolled out thinly and tears easily), so it can take a while. This way, you can wake up, throw them into the steamer, relax, and enjoy.

  2. can i exchange the tapioca with corn starch or rice starch?

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