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Har Gow

Har Gow

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Combine the wheat starch and salt in a medium-sized glass bowl. Add the hot water and mix well. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes.

Lightly flour a flat work surface. Place the wheat starch mixture on the surface. Add the cornstarch and shortening, and knead until smooth. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside to rest for 15-20 minutes.

To shape the dumplings, roll the wheat starch dough into a 1-inch diameter cylinder. Cut the cylinder crosswise into 1-inch pieces and shape each piece into a ball.

Flatten each ball, by hand or with a tortilla press, to make a 3 ½- to 4-inch circle, keeping the remaining dough covered to prevent drying. Press the edges of the circle firmly with your fingers to thin out the dough.

Place 1 heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle. Fold in half over the filling to make a semicircle. Pinch the curved edges together, pleating one side to the other.

To steam the dumplings, bring water to a rolling boil in a wok. Place the filled dumplings, without crowding, in a steamer. Steam over high heat until the dumplings appear translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 1 minute before serving. Serve with soy sauce and chile sauce or mustard for dipping.


Shrimp dumplings are one of the favorite dim sums of all time. Commonly known as har gow or Xia jiao in Cantonese, they are one of the most popular served steamed dim sum. My passion for dim sum is so big, that as many of you know, I took a dim sum recipe course last year. In this course, I learned the dim sum recipe for Siu Mai, the pork and shrimp dumpling, as well as the crystal shrimp dim sum, better known as har gow in Cantonese.

The Har gow dim sum or shrimp dumpling has a different dough as the siu mai dim sum. For starters, the Har gow or shrimp dumpling dough is made with rice flour, whereas the siu mai dough with wheat flour and eggs. Therefore, the har gow or shrimp dumpling has this amazing crystal and very sticky dough.

Another difference between these two different doughs is that you can as well fried, the wheat flour dough, and the rice flour you can boil it or steam it.

For me, a dim sum portion is never complete without this amazing shrimp dumpling, and what I love the most is the incredible taste of the shrimp wrapped in the sticky dough.

Can I freeze the shrimp dumpling?

Yes! Yes and yes! What I like to do, is to sit for an afternoon, and make as many as I can and we eat a portion, and the rest we freeze. Important is that you place them on a single layer inside a plastic bag before you froze them.

How long should I cook a frozen dim sum?

When you take the dumplings out of the freezer, just let them in room temperature and steam them for 8 min before serving

How many calories have a shrimp dumpling?

A shrimp dumpling has only 172 calories per serving

What can I serve with Shrimp Dumplings?

You can mix the har gow with another dim sum, like siu mai for example, or other Cantonese recipes like wonton soup.

Which dip sauce can I use for har gow dim sums?

There are so many dipping sauces you can use for the har gow dumpling. It all depends on your taste. For example, if you are looking for something spice, you could use a hot chili oil, made from chili peppers, you can add a few drops to your dim sum before you eat it.

Another possibility and one of my favorites is Hoisin sauce. I particularly love hoisin sauce because it has a sweet note. Because hoisin sauce is very thick, you could thin it with a bit of sesame oil or water.

Hot mustard is another possibility and is a classic dip for egg and spring rolls. Last but not least, Soy-based dipping sauces is a classic dipping sauce and you can combine it with vinegar and chili oil.


  • For the Dough:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup wheat starch (see note)
  • 6 tablespoon tapioca flour or tapioca starch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable or canola oil
  • For the Shrimp Filling:
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, shelled and de-veined
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 (2- by 3-inch piece) pork fatback, about 2 ounces
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Black vinegar for serving

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.


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.

  • ½ cup of wheat starch
  • ½ cup of sweet potato starch or potato starch
  • ½ cup of boiling water
  • ½ tsp of salt

Personally, I love the type of Har Gow that you can actually taste the shrimp. Therefore we are going to do one extra step for our Har Gow filling. First, defrost 13 oz of shrimp. I can’t emphasize how much I love Costco shrimp. Keep several bags at your freezer so you can make all shrimp dishes whenever you want! Take out 13 oz and defrost in your refrigerator overnight. If you are in a hurry, pour them into a water bath for 30 min to thaw quickly. Just keep in mind Costco shrimp is somehow salted and you can simply skip the salt in this recipe if you use shrimp from Costco.

Take half of the 13 oz of shrimp, about 16 shrimps, remove any head or shells and chop repeatedly. You will soon find the best way. For me, I do it this way: Chop it down completely, scoop it up with my knife and turn a different direction, chop it down again and repeat the steps several times. Before we invented meat grinder, this is the way we make ground pork or any other ground meat. This method is elegant in a way because you get to control how fine you want to grind your protein. For this particular dish, I like it coarse to preserve more texture.

Season the shrimp paste with ½ tsp of salt, ½ tsp of white pepper and 1 tbsp of cornstarch. Mix until it’s mixed well and sticky. Now you can transfer the seasoned shrimp paste to your refrigerator for later use

Take the other half of the shrimp, cut each of them in half crosswise. We are going to wrap each Har Gow with shrimp paste and one half of shrimp to get the optimal texture.

Now it’s time to make the Har Gow wrapper!

The reason why Har Gow is especially beautiful is because it’s translucent like gems. You can see the shrimp inside. On top of the cool look, the wrap is chewy and bouncy. It’s very very different from what regular dumplings taste and feel like. The secret to this magical wrapper lies in the ingredients, we will need to use ½ cup of sweet potato starch or potato starch to mix with ½ cup of wheat starch. You might not be familiar with wheat starch (澄粉). However, you can find it easily at any Chinese supermarket. Boil ½ cup of hot water to mix with the starch powders to make the dough. Make sure your water is boiling hot right before you add to the starch powders. Be careful!! Even after you mix the boiling water into the dough, it’s still hot, do not attend to knead it until it’s cooled. Take a second to measure the temperature before you knead it with your hands. I personally tested all four kind of starch: Wheat starch, cornstarch, potato starch, and sweet potato starch. Cornstarch performs the worst, it’s not very translucent and the texture is not chewy. Wheat starch perform a bit better than cornstarch. the end result is a bit more translucent and a bit chewier. Sweet potato starch and potato starch have excellent look, close to 60% translucent but they are way too chewy. Therefore, the perfect mix is 1:1 wheat starch vs. sweet potato starch (or potato starch). Cut your dough into 16 pieces, let’s move to the next step!

Now here comes the fun part. We will make the Har Gow wrapper. It’s definitely ok to roll out wrappers with a rolling pin. I’m going to do it the traditional way and tell you the alternative. Traditionally, you need to use a special kind of knife called “拍皮刀” (wrapper knife), it looks like a Chinese cutting knife with a blunt edge and also narrower and lighter than a Chinese cutting knife. To make one wrapper, you pinch off one little dough and round it up, grease your wrapper knife with oil and smear across that round dough. Then you scrape it up from the cutting board. You can simply use a regular Chinese cutting knife and it should work just fine. However, people usually don’t have this skill so here is our alternative: Roll out one big flat dough and use a wrapper cutter – anything that got a round shape will work. Cut out as many as you want, and then knead the rest together. You can repeat this step until all the dough is Har Gow wrappers now.

Put ½ tbsp of shrimp paste and put 1 chunk of shrimp on top of it. Wrap your Har Gow by folding it while wrapping it. It’s very similar to how we make pot stickers but with only one direction. After you finish them, now we are going to steam them!

On high heat, steam it for 5 min and 30 seconds, do not go too long or your shrimp filling is going to taste like rubber. 5:30, now it’s done. Time to enjoy your own Har Gow!

Har Gow 蝦餃 and Dim Sum

Har gow is a Cantonese dumpling that is always a part of dim sum. Har gow is perhaps the most iconic item in dim sum. Dim sum is a famous Cantonese dish that originated from Guangdong, China. Dim sum is a series of small, bite-sizes snacks. They are usually eaten in a light meal and served with tea. Tea lunch tradition goes back many centuries in China, and has continued to evolve throughout that time. Dim sum means &ldquotouch the heart&rdquo, and the Cantonese specialty began as a mid- to late-afternoon snack. Dim sum has transitioned over time to become more often a breakfast or lunch dish. Few restaurants serve dim sum for dinner. Dim sum meals are always served with tea. Yum cha means &ldquodrink tea&rdquo in English, or to have a tea breakfast or lunch with dim sum food. The two practices, drinking tea and dim sum, are always discussed in relation to each other.

History and Spread of Dim Sum

Dim sum became popular during the Tang Dynasty. Its origins are Cantonese, and dianxin was the northern way to say it. In the Guangdong Provence and in Guangzhou, they call &ldquodim sum&rdquo &ldquoyum cha&rdquo. Dim sum was popular in the south, where many people went to and still go to restaurants early in the day to enjoy these labor-intensive small bites. This was usually the first eating time of the day. There were many recipes for dim sum in the Tang Dynasty. According to the General Annuls of Shandong, Prime Minister Duan Wenchang compiled 50 volumes of dianxin recipes just from those eaten in his Shandong Province.

It took centuries for the art of dim sum to develop. In the Western United States, dim sum came about as a natural result of nineteenth century Chinese immigrants settling in the East and West coasts. Some people believe that dim sum is actually the inspiration for the concept of &ldquobrunch&rdquo that we have in America today, a way to combine breakfast and lunch into a large midmorning meal. Nowadays there are vegetarian, low fat, and even health conscious alternatives for dim sum dishes.

Dim sum, both in China and in the United States, is often a family affair and the busiest business days are on the weekends. In dim sum restaurants, the first thing that will happen is you will be asked what kind of tea you would like. Every customer gets his or her own pot of tea to drink throughout the dim sum meal. There are typically no menus, and oftentimes there will be a card with a blank grid that is placed at each table for ordering purposes. Waiters walk around between the tables with carts of different dim sum dishes, including a variety of steamed and fried dumplings. They wheel carts around with samples, calling out the different offerings. Other dim sum dishes include fried crispy rolls and croquettes. The lighter, steamed dishes, such as har gow come first in the ordering of the cars, then exotic recipes such as chicken&rsquos feet, then deep-fried dishes, and then dessert. The foods are usually served at the table in steamer baskets to keep it warm.

As dim sum is discussed, one of the most popular and important dishes in the dim sum recipes must be discussed: har gow! While har gow is an important dumpling to study in the mapping of dumplings throughout the world, it would be nearly impossible to study har gow without running across the dumpling practice of dim sum in the process, which is why dim sum has been researched as well. Har gow are related to dim sum, as har gow is one of the main dishes in a dim sum meal. Many dim sum restaurants can be judged off their har gow, and har gow have come to be representative of the quality of the dim sum more generally just from this one recipe.

Har Gow: Etymology, Origin, and History

In traditional Chinese, har gow is written as 蝦餃. In simplified Chinese, it is written as 虾饺. Har gow is just one way of spelling this dumpling. Common other phonetic spellings and transliterations are ha gow and har gau, xia jiao, hark au, har gao, ha gau, har gaw, hark aw, ha kaw, ha gaau, har gaau, or har cow. The first character of har gow (the &ldquohar&rdquo or &ldquoxia&rdquo or ha&rdquo) directly translates as &ldquoshrimp&rdquo in Chinese. The second character, &ldquojiao&rdquo or &ldquogow&rdquo, translates to the English word &ldquodumpling&rdquo. Har gow may also be called a &ldquoshrimp bonnet&rdquo because of its pleated shape. Har gow are often served together with sieu mai, or shu mai as many of us know it in the States.
The har gow dumpling originated in a teahouse in the Wucu village, a suburban region of Guangzhou. It appeared on the outskirts at a teahouse in the Wucu village the owner was said to have had access to a river right outside, where shrimp would be caught and directly made into the fresh stuffing for har gow dumplings. Teahouses sprung up to accommodate travelers who were tired after journeying along the Silk Road. Rural farmers might also go to the teahouses after a long day of working in the field to enjoy an afternoon of tea, dim sum, and relaxing conversation. Today, har gow can be found in most restaurants and teahouses in Guangdong, China. Local people order these shrimp dumplings when they drink their tea at leisure time.

Har gow: Dough, Filling, Shape, Size, and Description

Har gow are steamed shrimp dumplings with a very delicate taste. Traditional fillings are subtly seasoned and the dough wrapping is made from a mixture of wheat starch and tapioca flour. Har gow are immediately recognizable by their dough type. The dough is made of a wheat starch and tapioca base and is quite fragile and tender. This special dough is prone to splitting open during steaming if the dumpling is not fully pinched closed. Har gow are also characterized by their &ldquosnow-white&rdquo, &ldquopaper-thin&rdquo, translucent surrounding. This special type of dough is what makes the har gow somewhat translucent. Fillings are even visible from the outside of the dumpling. The dumplings may appear opaque when they are first removed from the steamer, but they become translucent upon cooling. Nguyen describes Har gow as &ldquopinkish white morsels&rdquo in his book, Asian Dumplings: Mastering gyōza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More. The reason for their pinkish tint is because of the shrimp inside. The dough is so light and almost clear, that the pink from the shrimp comes through making the dumplings look &ldquopinkish&rdquo themselves. Nguyen also says, &ldquowhen cooked, this dough has a translucency that allows the filling colors to visible in a beautiful, impressionistic way (Nguyen 132.)

The special dough for har gow is called &ldquowheat starch dough.&rdquo This dough is not unique to the har gow dumpling in fact, it is the foundation for many Cantonese dim sum recipes as well. Still, wheat starch dough has an immediate association to har gow. This dough is malleable, sculptable, and easy to manipulate. Andrea Nguyen even describes this dough as one that feels like play-doh once it is cooked. This is the final texture of the dough, and the color once it is cooked should be a &ldquosnowy white&rdquo (Nguyen 132). The wheat starch dough cannot be made ahead of time and refrigerated, as many flour dough can be, because it is so prone to splitting open during steaming. When this dough is properly prepared and cooked, the har gow dumpling will be chewy and slightly sticky.

Wheat starch dough is made of a mixture of wheat starch and another type of starch, often tapioca, corn, or potato starch. These other starches add elasticity to the dough, because wheat starch alone would make the dough too firm. The dough for har gow also calls for oil, which is intended to add suppleness and richness. This wheat starch dough can be prepared up to six hours in advance of using it and can then be stored in a plastic bag at room temperature in order to prevent drying.

For the filling of har gow, the main ingredient is shrimp. In recipes for har gow, it is suggested to use the best and most fresh shrimp possible, and the shrimp must not be overcooked in order to retain a slightly crisp texture. The other main ingredient in the filling for har gow are bamboo shoots. These have an earth quality and a creamy-white core, giving the filling of har gow a creamy texture inside its coating. Bamboo shoots can be bought fresh, dried, frozen, or canned, though in most cases, people use canned bamboo shoots for making dumplings. In order to cook them correctly for the har gow, they need to be drained well and rinsed with a lot of cold water after draining. Then, the bamboo shoots are boiled for 10 to 30 minutes to remove their natural toxins and render them tender and crisp.

Har gow are typically smaller than most other Chinese dumplings, and they are always made in the shape of a pouch. Beyond the dough type of har gow, this pouch shape is what makes har gow immediately recognizable and distinct. Har gow are difficult to prepare only if you aim to make very small and neat ones. In this case, har gow will prove to be quite difficult to make, however, most dim sum places do not aim to have these sorts of har gow. In researching how to make these dumplings, it is suggested to start out with ones that are a little bigger and scale down in size as you gain dexterity. Traditionally, har gow should have at least seven pleats on each dumpling preferably they will have ten or more pleats. As with many other dumplings throughout the world, the more pleats a dumpling has, the more &ldquoprofessional&rdquo it is and the more experienced the maker supposedly is. The key to having a successful har gow is making sure that the filling is sealed up well inside of the dough once it is folded. While har gow are most commonly seen in the shape of a pouch, you can also make these dumplings as half-moons and they&rsquoll have a very similar taste, however, traditionally, har gow are made in the shape of a pouch.

History of Dumplings in China and Cultural Significance

Throughout China, the basic foods are somewhat similar in different regions of the country. The climate in Northern China is more suitable to grow wheat than to grow rice, and therefore wheat is the main crop for northerners, and is made into noodles and dumplings. Crop rotation allowed for wheat and millet to be grown, and there was a continued spread of these crops throughout Northern China. New milling methods made wheat even easier to use, in its flour form, which became more accessible to everyone.

Northern Chinese people depend on wheat for their starch staple, and perhaps the most popular and important use of wheat is in the form of dumplings and noodles. The basis of Northern Chinese people&rsquos diet was a boiled grain, something which provided the majority of the calories for their meal. Boiled flour products were also important throughout all of China, and in the North, there was a particular emphasis on steamed flour products.

For the rest of China, wheat products are primarily snacks, which is precisely what dim sum is. Dim sum is seen as a snack that is light on dough and is intended to be eaten between meals as a refreshment. In the north, the dumplings have a thicker wrapper and less filling, such as plain steamed bread like buns. Dumplings are hearty and often eaten as a meal in themselves, whereas in Southern China, dumplings are served as dim sum, for snacking or a light meal.

While there was no information on when har gow specifically are eater, all dumplings are popular on New Year&rsquos Eve and New Year&rsquos Day in China (the dumplings are made in advance so that less time is taken away from the festivities). During the eve and day of the Lunar New Year, no sharp instruments (i.e. knives) are to be used because the Chinese believe that if they cut something, then their luck in the coming year will be &ldquocut.&rdquo This is one of the main reasons that dumplings are a common delicacy at New Year&rsquos festivities, because dumplings do not require a knife in order to be eaten.

In Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch, the author explains: &ldquoOne restaurateur proudly told me that on a weekend his restaurant offered more than 100 different dim sum dishes, and that seven men were employed just to make dumplings.&rdquo (Blonder 9.) Not only are dumplings an essential part of dim sum, but dim sum is essential to study when learning about varieties of dumplings in China. The history of the two is intertwined in a way, because dim sum would not be the same without the har gow dumpling, and dim sum is also an area of the dumpling mapping project that can string together many of the Chinese dumplings.

Har Gow Recipe from Florence Lin&rsquos Complete Book of Chinese Noodles, Dumplings, and Breads

Shrimp Filling:

2 tablespoons minced parboiled pork fat or fatty bacon

¼ cup finely chopped bamboo shoots

Shell and devein the shrimp. Chop the fat and bamboo shoots and set them on a plate. Rinse and drain the shrimp and pat them dry with paper towels. Chop them fine, then put them in a bowl and add the egg white and the 1 tsp. of salt. Stirring with chopsticks, make sure the shrimp is completely coated. Then add the cornstarch, pepper, sugar, sherry, sesame oil and mix some more until the coating is smooth. Add the bamboo shoots and fat and mix well.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, so the shrimp will absorb the egg whites, making the filling tender crisp.

½ pound wheat starch, about 1 ½ cups

2 tablespoons corn oil or peanut oil

Combine the wheat starch, tapioca flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the boiling water all at once. With chopsticks, stir to incorporate the dry flour on the sides of the bowl then add the oil. Continue to stir until a ball forms. Turn the hot dough onto a work surface and knead the ball of dough until it is very smooth&mdashabout 2 to 3 minutes. Put it in a tightly closed plastic bag and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Divide the dough into four pieces. Keep three of tem in the plastic bag while you roll the first with your hands into a sausage shape about 6 to 8 inches long. Cut it into ten pieces. Smear a tiny bit of oil on the plastic wrap covering both sides of the tortilla press and a tiny bit on the dough pieces themselves. Place one piece cut side down on the press and press it into a 3-inch round. Put the circles of dough aside, overlapping, while you press the others. It is better to fill these ten wrappers first than to make wrappers out of the remaining dough, because you want the wrapper dough to remain soft and pliable.

Take one wrapper and press and pinch four to five ¼ inch pleats, thus making a small pouch. Put 2 teaspoons of shrimp filling in the pouch and press the edges together to close.

Steam the dumplings- cooking time will be 4 to 5 minutes. The Cantonese often use oyster sauce as a dip for the shrimp dumplings.

Ha Gow Recipe from Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch

8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut into 1/2 &ndashinch chunks

3 tablespoons minced bamboo shoots

1 teaspoon rice wine or dry sherry

1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Wheat Starch Dough rolled into four 8-inch cylinders

Mix the filling ingredients and set aside. Oil several 8 or 9 inch round cake pans. Cut each cylinder of wheat starch dough crosswise into 8 pieces. Put one piece of dough, cut side up, between two 6-inch squares of baking parchment then position the flat side of a cleaver blade or a flat bottom of a pan over it and press straight down to form a 3-inch circle. Peel off the parchment.

Make one very narrow pleat that extends from the edge almost all the way to the center of the circle. Make 7 or 8 more narrow pleats alongside, each almost overlapping the last. Your final pleat should be just over halfway around the circumference of the dough. Press a finger lightly along the inside of the pleats to flatten them slightly and enlarge the pocket within. Spoon about a teaspoon of the filling into the pocket, keeping it from touching the open edge of the dough. Pinch the edges of the dough together very firmly. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Arrange the finished dumplings ½ inch apart in the oiled pans.

Set up a steamer and bring the water to a boil. Steam the dumplings over high heat for 7 minutes, replenishing the pot with boiling water as necessary between batches. Let the dumplings rest for a few minutes before transferring them to a serving plate. Serve hot.

Wheat Starch Dough:

¼ cup tapioca flour (seems to help sealed edges stick together better)

1 teaspoon peanut or vegetable oil

In a medium bowl, combine the wheat starch, tapioca flour, 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 1 tablespoon of wheat starch. Kneed until smooth, adding a little more wheat starch if necessary. The dough should be soft but not sticky.

Divide the dough into thirds. Use your palms to roll each portion into an 8-inch cylinder. Cover loosely with a slightly damp paper towel to keep the dough from drying out. The dough is now ready to cut and press or roll out as needed.

What Makes a Crystal Dumpling

While crystal dumplings are similar to har gow dumplings, har gow are made with opaque white wrappers. It’s the addition of potato starch that makes the translucent look of crystal dumplings possible.

Plus, potato starch also gives the dumpling wrappers that pleasant chewy texture that is a hallmark of a well-made dumpling. If all this talk about various starches confuses you, check out our rice and flours ingredients page for more information!

Wheat starch is also used for Har Gow dumplings and is what gives the wrapper a more sturdy body.

Let’s talk filling. Stuffed with seasoned pork, fragrant Shiitake mushrooms, carrots and freshly cooked bright green spinach, crystal dumplings are as pretty as they are delicious.

While the vibrant colors definitely make for an impressive presentation, once you bite into one of these tasty little dumplings, you’ll find that you may just have a new favorite Chinese dim sum!

But if you still find that you love these crystal dumplings and har gow in equal measure, you can use this crystal dumpling wrapper recipe with our har gow shrimp dumpling filling and vice versa. One wrapper––two fillings!

Dim Sum Shrimp Dumpling Recipe (Har Gow/Ha Cao)

Shrimp Filling

50 grams bamboo shoot (rinse thoroughly and squeeze out excess water)

50 grams pork fat (optional but highly recommended mince finely into paste)

1 teaspoon granulated white sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/2 tablespoon corn starch

50 grams all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil

160 grams boiling water (240 mL or about 2/3 cups)

Find your Healthy with Traditional Cuisines – Week 1

It’s March and we are celebrating Nutrition Month! Every year dietitians, dietetic interns, and nutrition students across Canada celebrate Nutrition month to raise awareness about nutrition and the positive impact it has on our health and wellbeing.

This year Nutrition Month centres on the idea that healthy eating looks different for everyone. It is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and your healthy eating will look different from someone else’s healthy eating based on culture, food traditions, personal circumstances, and nutritional needs.

To honour Nutrition Month, I have teamed up with Registered Dietitians and Dietetic Graduate Students from diverse cultural backgrounds to put together a Nutrition Month 2021 blog series! Each week for the month of March, different dietitians and dietetic students will share their food traditions, cultural recipes, and the importance of culture in healthy eating.

Without further ado, let’s get started with Nutrition Month 2021 series – Week 1.

Cultural foods should be a part of your healthy meals

Canada is a country that prides itself on multiculturalism. Yet, the mainstream diet trends tend to ‘steal’ cultural foods’ thunder. With the recent craze around healthy eating, many of you may be are bombarded with the latest trendy diets that do not adequately incorporate your cultural foods. With everyone else embarking on the next food trend, you may feel that you are doing something wrong by not jumping on board. You begin to question the health benefits of your traditional foods.

I introduce my colleagues Novella Lui, Robena Amalraj and Aja Gyimah who will share their insights on making cultural foods a part of your healthy eating.

Novella Lui, RD

I am a Chinese Canadian, born in Hong Kong and raised in Vancouver.

2. What is the meaning of food in your culture? / How is food used in celebrations or traditions?

Food plays a vital role in Chinese culture, where food is always a part of celebrations. Many of the traditional foods served during celebrations bear symbolic meanings, from togetherness to fortune and luck. For instance:

  • In Lunar New Year, we eat the ‘year cake,’ a glutinous rice cake that symbolizes rising prosperity, which has the same homophonic sound as ‘yearly increase.’
  • During Dragonboat Festival, we eat glutinous rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves as they depict the commemoration of Qu Yuan, an ancient Chinese poet.

3. What is your favourite cultural ingredient or food or recipe?

I have a long list of favourite foods, but if I had to choose, my favourite is har gow, a steamed shrimp dumpling wrapped in a thin and translucent starch dough. My first memories of eating out as a child with my family were enjoying a dim sum lunch, and har gow was always one of the dishes shared among us. These shrimp dumplings always remind me of my fonds times with my cousins and relatives. You can find a har gow recipe here.

Har Gow (Chinese steamed shrimp dumplings)

4. What would you like to say to Canadians during National Nutrition Month?

All foods, including those from your own culture, fit into a healthy meal pattern. Including and embracing foods from your own culture connects you to your roots and cultural identity. At the same time, learn about other cultures by trying their foods, as food is a portal that connects and nurtures our relationships with other people.

Robena Amalraj, Dietetic Graduate Student

1. What is your cultural background?

My cultural background is Indian. Specifically, I am from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

2. What is the meaning of food in your culture? / How is food used in celebrations or traditions?

India is affectionately called the Land of Spices, and food undoubtedly plays a significant role in its culture. Every region of India has distinct and unique customs but eating with hands is a common practice it is thought that this not only makes the food taste better, but also feeds the mind and the spirit.

Rice is of particular importance in India and is viewed as the ultimate sustenance it is often the first solid food that a baby eats and is also eaten by older adults who have trouble eating other foods. In many parts of India, rice is used as an offering during religious rituals and is a symbol of prosperity and well-being.

3. What is your favourite cultural ingredient or food or recipe?

My favourite South Indian food is dosa, which is a thin savoury crepe made from a fermented batter of lentils and rice. It is typically served with sambar (a lentil and vegetable stew) and chutney. My mom made it all the time when I was growing up not only is it delicious, but it is a comforting and warm reminder of home and family. You can find a recipe here.

South India Dosa served with sambar and chutney

4. What would you like to say to Canadians during National Nutrition Month?

In the health and wellness space, there is often a narrow perception of healthy food. There is a misconception that cultural foods that do not fit into this mainstream image are automatically “unhealthy”. However, healthy eating does not look the same for everyone. Culture and tradition are integral components of food and overall wellness, and you do not need to forgo your culture to be healthy!

Aja Gyimah, MHSc., RD

1. What’s your cultural background?

I’m biracial: Jewish-Canadian and Ghanaian

2. What is the meaning of food in your culture? / How is food used in celebrations or traditions?

In the Jewish culture, food is a large part of how we observe our holidays. For example, Friday nights are reserved for a family dinner because it kicks off the Sabbath or the day of rest. Also, depending on the holiday you’re required to eat specific foods, like during Passover we have a ceremonial dinner where each food item is symbolic.

In Ghanaian culture, food is tied to many celebrations, get-togethers or even just attending church on Sundays. Within my family, it used to be such a treat because my dad would spend the entire day making light soup. Since COVID, we have been ordering from local Ghanaian restaurants to support them during this time. Now, jollof rice is a staple in our house!

3. What is your favourite cultural ingredient or food or recipe?

Fried plantain is a world-wide favourite, it’s a staple in almost every African, Black and Caribbean cuisine. I usually slice the plantain, rinse it in saltwater and then fry it until it’s brown and delicious! Find a recipe for fried plantain here. On the Jewish side, I’m a huge fan of Challah which is the only type of bread I grew up with. Challah is also the best bread to use for French toast!

4. What would you like to say to Canadians during National Nutrition Month?

All foods fit within a healthy diet and that includes our cultural/traditional foods. You’re not required to throw away the foods you’ve grown up with to follow a healthy diet. There’s plenty of room for fried plantain – haha!

Bottom Line

There is no single way to eat right and sacrificing your cultural foods is not necessary for achieving good health! No matter what your cultural foods or traditions are, they can be a part of your healthy eating regime. So, ditch the diet trends and incorporate your cultural foods to find your healthy.

Come back next week to learn more about traditional cuisines and healthy eating in our Nutrition Month 2021 blog series.

What is your favourite cultural recipe? Let me know in the comments. Click here to learn more about the Nutrition Month 2021 campaign.

I thank Novella, Robena, and Aja for their time and contribution to this post.

Written by: Deepanshi Salwan, MPH candidate – Deepanshi is a dietetic graduate student at the University of Toronto. Her nutrition philosophy embraces moderation without deprivation. She believes that healthy eating does not have to be complicated and hopes to inspire her audience to live more happy and healthy lives! You can find her on Instagram @deeconstructing_nutrition.

How to Make Har Gow (Shrimp Dumplings) at Home

Har gow — shrimp dumplings — dipped in soy sauce with chili paste are tiny flavorful umami bombs. Making the shrimp filling is quick and easy but making the dumpling wrappers from scratch is a bit challenging. From making the dough to forming the wrappers, the process is somewhat tedious. If you don’t have the luxury of time, you can use Asian-store-bought dumpling wrappers instead but if you do, I assure you that your efforts will be rewarded with tasty homemade dumplings.

Har Gow Recipe
Recipe adapted from Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch

8 ounces medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 Tbsp minced bamboo shoots
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp rice wine (optional)
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp ginger, grated
1 tsp cornstarch
1 egg white

Mix the ingredients for the filling thoroughly. Set aside.

1 1/4 cup wheat starch (wheat starch is different from wheat flour)
1/4 cup tapioca starch (tapioca starch is the same as tapioca flour)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp canola oil
parchment paper

In a medium bowl. combine the wheat starch, tapioca starch, and salt. Here is an important note: wheat starch is different from wheat flour but tapioca starch is the same as tapioca flour. I got my wheat and tapioca starch from the local Asian store.

Add the boiling water and canola oil and stir well with a wooden spoon. Transfer the dough while it is still hot onto a clean surface dusted with wheat starch. Knead until smooth, adding a little more wheat starch, if necessary. The dough should be soft but not sticky.

Divide the dough into four equal parts. Use your palms to roll each part into an 8-inch log. Cut each log into 8 pieces. Place the pieces, together with the rest of the dough, in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to keep them moist.

Flatten each piece of dough into a round dumpling wrapper. Cut 6-inch square sheets of parchment paper. Place a piece of dough in between two sheets of parchment paper. Using a knife or the bottom of a flat pan press down on the dough to flatten the dough. Then using a rolling pin or the round end of a wooden spoon, roll out the dough further to make it larger and thinner. Rolling it too thin makes it too fragile and easy to break. The round dumpling wrapper should be at least 3 to 4 inches in diameter.

Peel off the parchment paper. Place the wrappers in a separate bowl and cover with plastic wrap to keep them moist while you continue working on the rest of the batch. Alternatively, keep the wrappers in between two sheets of parchment paper.

Working with the wrapper to make the dumpling is the trickiest part. Rolling the wrapper to get the right thickness — neither too thick nor too thin –- is key but wrapping the filling requires a certain technique, which can only be learned and mastered through practice. Form each dumpling wrapper into a cup with overlapping pleats on one side. Dennis learned pleating rather quickly I honestly didn’t and made unpleated cups instead. The important thing to remember is to form the wrapper into a cup that you can fill. If you go the pleated route, remember to leave about 1/3 of the circumference of the wrapper without pleats.

Spoon about a teaspoon of the shrimp filling into the pocket and keep the filling from touching the open edge of the wrapper. Close the wrapper by pressing the edges of the wrapper together, forming a half circle.

I recommend making the wrappers in the whole batch first and then make dumplings.

Place each dumpling in a steamer and make sure to leave enough space so that they do not get too crowded. I steamed half a dozen dumplings in an 8-inch bamboo steamer,

Set up your 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 serving.

Watch the video: ХАР КЕЧА БУ СУРАНИ ЭШИТИБ ЁТИШНИ УНУТМАНГ! (August 2022).