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Har Gow

This recipe for delicate wrappers enclosing fresh shrimp, pork, and bamboo dates back to the early 20th century.

Har Gow were created at the beginning of the last century in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province, by the owner of a small, family-style teahouse on the river’s edge. Anxious to beat the competition, the teahouse owner took advantage of the fresh shrimp sold by fishermen directly from their boats. He adorned the local catch with little more than a bit of fresh bamboo shoots and pork, and enclosed it in delicate wrappers.

Watch how to make these with Martin Yan as part of our People Cooking Things series!


Makes 30 dumplings
  • 8 oz medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 3 T minced bamboo shoots

  • 1 t soy sauce

  • 1/4 t kosher salt

  • 1 t Shaoxing wine
  • 1/4 t ground white pepper

  • 1/2 t toasted sesame oil

  • 1/2 t ginger, grated

  • 1 t cornstarch

  • 1 egg white


  • 1 1/4 C wheat starch (not flour)
  • 1/4 C tapioca starch
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1 C boiling water

  • 1 t lard (or neutral oil)


  1. Mix the filling ingredients together and let stand on the counter while you make the dough.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the wheat starch, tapioca starch, and salt. Pour in the boiling water and add the lard while mixing in one direction with a wooden spoon or dowel. Dust a counter with wheat starch and turn the dough out. While it’s hot, knead the dough for 6 minutes or until smooth but firm. If the dough is too sticky add a bit more wheat starch. When done the dough should be just finger soft but not really sticky at all.

  3. Hack the dough into 4 equal parts and roll each section into an 8-inch-long snake. Place dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, which will prevent it from drying out.

  4. When ready to roll, cut the dough snakes into eight 1-inch sections. Place a piece of dough between two small pieces of parchment and flatten with the backside of a heavy clever or underside of a pan. Then, using a dumpling dowel or chunk of broomstick, start to roll from the center out, until you’re left with a circle that’s 3 to 4 inches in diameter (and just about 1/8-inch thick). Place the finished wrappers back in a bowl and cover until you finish rolling out the remaining dough. It’s best to do the whole batch of dough at one time to prevent it from getting too stiff.

  5. When ready to fill, remove a wrapper from the bowl and form it into a cup in your palm by overlapping the edges and pleating one edge. Drop a teaspoon of filling into the center of the wrapper, trying your best not to get filling on the outside edge—any oil on the outside edge of the wrapper will most likely break the seal. Form the har gow into a half circle and press together the smooth and pleated sides to lock in the filling.

  6. Place 6 dumplings in a standard 8-inch steamer over full steam, making sure not to overcrowd them. Steam over high heat for 6-7 minutes

  7. Let the dumplings cool for 1-2 minutes before serving, as the little crustaceans inside hold their heat almost too well. Serve with chili oil and red vinegar.