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  • Writer's picturerichelletanner

Dim sum at home!

I love dim sum. However, I live in a rural area. Therefore, I have not had dim sum in months (when was the last time I visited my parents...?). Combine that with quarantine-induced "creativity", and I decided to make 蝦餃 (har gow) from scratch. Luckily past-me bought the correct flour (starch, really) for this exact purpose. If you're curious, this is a translucent, steamed dumpling filled with a tender shrimp mixture, often including bamboo shoots and/or ginger. They are deliciously tender and one of the most popular dim sum items around. You don't need more convincing, let's get to it!


12 oz shelled, raw, large shrimp - peeled, deveined, and defrosted

1 tbsp baking soda

0.25 cup bamboo shoots

1 tsp finely chopped ginger

0.5 tsp white pepper

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp mirin

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp oil or pork fat

Chop half of your shrimp coarsely (~0.5-1 cm chunks) and the other half finely (like a mince paste). Combine in a bowl with baking soda - this makes them tender and it is very important! Cut your bamboo shoots into 0.5 cm pieces and combine all ingredients with the shrimp. Let sit at least 30 minutes before filling wrappers.


1.5 cup har gow flour (But actually, who has this besides me?? Use 1 cup wheat starch and 1 cup tapioca starch instead)

1 cup boiling water (how much you actually use varies widely)

Add the water gradually. Stir flour and water with chopsticks until you can work it into a ball with your hands. ALWAYS OIL YOUR HANDS AND WORK SURFACES WITH THIS DOUGH. I cannot stress this enough. Once you have a smooth, supple ball, let it sit for a few minutes and prep your rolling station.

Oil your work surface and rolling implement (rolling pin, wine bottle, dowel, whatever) - you will have to do this periodically. I also suggest at this stage you prepare parchment or silpat landing stations (with wet paper towel covers) for your dumplings to come, otherwise you'll be touching your cabinets with starchy fingers. Also prepare an area with wet paper towels to keep your dough pieces moist.

Roll into 1 cm diameter log(s), and cut them into ~1 cm pieces. Working with them one at a time, roll into circular wrappers by rolling one direction, turning 45 degrees, and repeating. The most important thing here is not necessarily the round shape, but the fact that you can see through the wrapper. If you don't roll them thin enough, they will be gummy and not tasty.

I like to roll one at a time and fill as I go - fewer steps of trying to pry very thin dough from whatever you put it down on. Fill each wrapper with ~1 tsp of shrimp mixture, and pinch too close. You can make it fancy with a pleating motion, but these are traditionally a little messier on the top so you do you. Just make sure they are sealed with no air inside, which shouldn't be hard because the dough is so sticky. Store on your parchment paper with a damp paper towel on top.

When you've made it through your dough pieces and filling, it is time to feast! Prepare a steamer pot (you can use a vegetable steamer if you don't have a bamboo one, which I do not). Cut little pieces of cheesecloth or parchment paper that the har gow can sit on in the steamer. You do not want them submerged in water while they cook. Cook them for 6 minutes and enjoy! You'll know they're done (and/or if you did this right) when the wrapper is translucent. Chili crisp optional. These can also be frozen - just do it individually on the silpat and then put in a bag once they're frozen. Increase the cooking time a tiny bit (30-60 sec) if frozen.

Wow, what a short recipe for such a time-consuming and (somewhat) difficult task!

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