Chinese Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow)

Chinese Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow)

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Chill/Rest: 80 mins
Total: 2 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 9 servings
Yield: 18 dumplings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
163 Calories
10g Fat
13g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 9
Amount per serving
Calories 163
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 44mg 15%
Sodium 194mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 17mg 1%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 47mg 1%
*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 item 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, but you can find those in most kitchenware stores, Chinese supermarkets, or online. Serve fresh from the steamer with hot chili oil or soy sauce for dipping.

2:09

Click Play to See These Har Gow (Chinese Shrimp Dumplings) Come Together

"The dumplings were challenging, but once I got the dough together and the right consistency, it went well. After some practice and watching the video, I managed to fill and shape the dumplings. They were delicious with the soy sauce and chili oil." —Diana Rattray

har gow shrimp dumplings
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

For the Filling:

  • 6 ounces shrimp, peeled, deveined, and finely chopped

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped bamboo shoots

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped green onion

  • 3/4 teaspoon Chinese rice wine, or dry sherry

  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the Dough:

  • 3/4 cup wheat starch

  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2/3 cup boiling water, divided

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil

For Shaping the Dough:

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil, or as needed

For Serving:

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Gather the ingredients for making Har Gow

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

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 / Maxwell Cozzi

  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 / Maxwell Cozzi

Make the Dumpling Dough

  1. 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 / Maxwell Cozzi

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

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

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. 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 / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

    Har gow dough in a bow covered with a towel

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

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 knife of har gow dough

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  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 / Maxwell Cozzi

  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.

    flatten dough with a knife

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  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 / Maxwell Cozzi

  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 Har Gow dumpling

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  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.

    har gow dumplings on a plate

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Cook the Dumplings

  1. Add 2 inches of water to a wok that is at least 2 inches wider than the bottom of your steamer; bring to a boil.

    water in a wok

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Arrange an oiled plate inside the 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 / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Serve the har gow with chili oil and soy sauce for dipping. Enjoy!

    Chinese Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow)

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Tips

  • Sift the starches into a heat-safe mixing bowl.
  • Make sure the water is at a rolling boil, and add only 1/2 cup (4 ounces) at first. Add more only if necessary. The dough should be smooth and should not break when stretched.
  • To divide the dough into uniform pieces, roll half of the dough into a long log about 1 inch in width and slice it into 8 or 9 pieces. Work with one ball at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered.
  • Try a small oiled rolling pin or pastry roller if you find a meat cleaver (or knife) challenging to work with. 
  • Roll/flatten the dough circle from the center out, leaving it slightly thicker in the center.
  • Pleating is a technique that takes practice—feel free to fold the dumpling over the filling and press the edge to seal.



Recipe Variations

  • You may swap out the tapioca starch with potato starch or cornstarch.
  • Change up the filling with another kind of seafood, such as finely chopped lobster or scallops.



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.

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, 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 suitable for people who adhere to a strict gluten-free diet.