Har Gao – Recipe

Cantonese Har Gao a.k.a. Crystal Shrimp Dumplings are tender, juicy and loaded with shrimp. The wrapping is see-through because it is made of wheat starch dough. Once the Har Gao are steamed, the shrimp filling turns pink and the beautiful color shows through the translucent wrapper. Simply beautiful.

Normally, you could go into a store and buy wheat starch to make the dough for the wrappers but because we are in zefta Egypt, we have to improvize! Wheat starch is not commonly available here, so my dear friend and fellow food blogger Marwan Hazem told me about a trick of using Tapioca starch in order to achieve that see-through look. Now ZUMRA also provided me with a very special type of Tapioca flour that is mixed with rice flour. After plenty of experiments, I am finally ready to present you with my Har Gao recipe, without the need for wheat starch.

  • You will need:
  • For the wrappers:
    • 60g Chive Dumpling flour mix from ZUMRA
    • 25g corn starch
    • 15g Tapioca starch
    • 10g sugar
    • 3g salt
    • 100g boiling water
    • 10g sesame oil
  • For the filling:
    • 250g shrimp
    • 50g bamboo shoot
    • 25g fresh ginger
    • 1 Tbsp corn starch
    • 1 tsp soy sauce
    • Salt & pepper to taste
  • For the dipping sauce:
    • 60ml dark soy sauce
    • 40ml rice vinegar
  • Method:
    1. To make the wrapper dough, mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl.
    2. Add the boiling water and stir quickly to combine. The water has to be absolutely boiling hot or this will fail.
    3. Once the dough comes together in a homogeneous, sticky lump, add the sesame oil and start kneading it with your hands until smooth. Don’t over-knead ot or it will become too sticky to handle.
    4. Form the dough into a log and place it in a plastic bag. Refrigerate until needed.
    5. Chop up the ginger and bamboo shoots into a very fine dice. I used canned bamboo shoots because we are in shitty Egypt. But if you can find fresh, then by all means, use that instead.
    6. Chop up the shelled, deveined shrimp into a mushy paste. I mainly used small sized shrimp for this. I feel it’s counter economic to buy expensive large shrimp only to turn it into paste! I added 2 or 3 large ones to give variation in texture. Don’t put this in the food processor, you don’t want a smooth unidentifiable paste.
    7. Mix the root vegetables, shrimp, corn starch, soy sauce, salt and pepper with a pair of chopsticks in a large bowl. Use a circular motion until you have a gooey mixture. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    8. Combine the ingredients of the dipping sauce and set aside.
    9. Prepare your steamer. A bamboo steamer lined with parchment paper works best.
    10. Now take out the dough and filling from the fridge.
    11. Start by cutting a thick coin-shaped slice of the wrapper dough and roll it out into a flat disc. Make sure the edges are thinner than the center and use sesame oil on your board and rolling pim to prevent the dough from sticking.
    12. Grap the dough pancake and scoop about half a tablespoon of the shrimp filling into the center.
    13. Carefully fold the wrpper in half, covering the filling. Use your fingers to pleat the dough while sealing the top end as you go along.
    14. Once you have filled all of your dumplings, place them into the hot steamer for 5 to 7 minutes.
    15. Enjoy!

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