Chinese Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow)

Har gow shrimp dumplings recipe

The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska 

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Refrigerate: 60 mins
Total: 2 hrs 15 mins
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1577 Calories
95g Fat
114g Carbs
62g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 1577
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 95g 122%
Saturated Fat 10g 51%
Cholesterol 550mg 183%
Sodium 2557mg 111%
Total Carbohydrate 114g 42%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 62g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 217mg 17%
Iron 7mg 41%
Potassium 572mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Whether listed on the menu or featured on the dim sum cart at your local Chinese restaurant, har gow (xia jiao), or steamed shrimp dumplings, are often the most popular items ordered, and one of the classic dishes on which dim sum chefs used to be judged. Silky on the outside with a chewy and flavorful filling, these dumplings are made of translucent wrappers that hold a shrimp and vegetable mixture seasoned with rice wine and sesame oil. It makes for a flavorful, delicate, and light-tasting pocket of food. 

The most challenging part of har gow is handling the dough, which is very sticky and can break apart easily, but as long as you follow the instructions, get multiple people involved, and don't rush, it's a rewarding effort.

These steamed dumplings are a perfect appetizer or a side dish with other dim sum classics such as buns, other dumplings filled with pork, or lotus leaf wraps. You'll need a bamboo steamer, and a heat resistant plate that fits inside it, for the dumplings, but you can find those in some supermarkets, major cities that have Chinatown neighborhoods, or online. Serve hot with hot chili oil or soy sauce for dipping.

Ingredients

For the Dough:

  • 3/4 cup wheat starch

  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2/3 cup water (divided, boiling)

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil

For the Filling:

  • 6 ounces shrimp (rinsed, tails removed, and chopped)

  • 3 tablespoons bamboo shoots (finely chopped)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons green onion (finely chopped)

  • 3/4 teaspoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)

  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 2 pinches salt (or to taste)

  • 1 pinch white pepper

  • 1 large egg white (lightly beaten)

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

For Shaping the Dough:

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (or as needed)

For Serving:

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this shrimp dumpling is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Dumpling Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for har gow (Chinese shrimp dumplings)
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the wheat starch, tapioca starch, and the salt.

    Combine starches and salt in a bowl for har gow dough

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 

  3. Slowly stir in 1/2 cup of the boiling water. Add the oil and begin using your hands to shape into a dough.

    Starches with oil and water added to them in a bowl for har gow dough

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 

  4. Add the remaining boiling water if the dough is too dry. Don’t overwork the dough, but continue shaping it for about 2 minutes, until it is smooth and shiny.

    Fingers leaving an indentation in har gow dough

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 

  5. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

    Har gow dough in a bow covered with plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 

Make the Filling

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, place the shrimp, bamboo shoots, green onions, rice wine, sesame oil, salt, pepper, egg white, and cornstarch. Mix well.

    Ingredients for har gow (Chinese shrimp dumplings) filling in a bowl

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 

  2. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to give the flavors a chance to meld.

    Har gow filling in a bowl covered with plastic

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 

Form the Dumplings

  1. Coat a paper towel with vegetable oil and use it to oil your cutting board or work surface and the broad side of a cutting knife or cleaver. Keep the dough covered to prevent it from drying out while preparing the dumplings.

    Oil on paper towel and covered bowl of har gow dough

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 

  2. Break off 1 teaspoon of the dough and roll into a ball. Flatten the ball of dough by pressing it in the palm of your hand.

    Dumpling dough being rolled into a ball and flattened

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 

  3. Lay the dough on the oiled work surface and press down on it with the oiled side of the knife or cleaver to form a circle that is 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide.

    Dough pressed out to 3 inches wide on oiled work surface

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska  

  4. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper, spreading it out evenly, without it touching the edges.

    Har gow (Chinese steamed dumplings) with filling added

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 

  5. Carefully lift the top edge of the wrapper and fold it over the filling toward you to obtain a half-circle shape. Use your thumb and forefinger to form pleats in the dough, and pinch the edges closed.

    Form dumpling
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska  
  6. Repeat the process until you have used all of the dough and filling, always greasing the work surface with vegetable oil when needed. Place the completed dumplings on a plate and cover with a damp cloth to keep them from drying out while preparing the remainder of the dumplings.

    Cover dumplings
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska 

Cook the Dumplings

  1. Prepare a pan at least 2 inches larger than the bottom of your steamer. Add 2 inches of water and bring to a boil.

  2. Arrange an oiled plate inside a steamer. Place a few har gow on the oiled plate, cover, and place the bamboo steamer on top of the boiling water in the prepared pan. Steam the dumplings in batches, until the wrapper is translucent and the shrimp appear slightly orange, around 13 to 15 minutes per batch.

    Put dumplings in basket
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska 
  3. Serve the har gow with chili oil and soy sauce for dipping. Enjoy!

    Dumplings in sauce
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska 

Is the Dough for Dumplings Gluten-Free?

Most doughs used to make dumplings are wheat-based and thus not suitable for a gluten-free diet. Some doughs, like the one used in this recipe, are made out of wheat starch and tapioca starch, which are technically two gluten-free ingredients. Sourced from wheat, potatoes, or corn, wheat starch is a carbohydrate used to stabilize many baking products, as is tapioca starch, but it can still contain traces of gluten depending on where it was sourced from and therefore, not be suitable for people who adhere to a strict gluten-free diet.

How to Store and Reheat Har Gow

  • Any leftover har gow should go in the fridge in an airtight container. Place the individual dumplings not touching one another to avoid sticking and breakage of the wrapper. The dumplings will keep for up to 3 days.
  • For reheating, the best method is to use steam again, but because they're already cooked inside they don't need as much time. Check for temperature after 5 minutes, but don't overheat, as the filling can dry out and the dumpling can get gummy.