Har Gow - shrimp dumpling

Since young I had this habit. Every week, a dim sum fix.
Har gow – shrimp dumpling. These are the delectable darlings of the dim sum world which rightfully conjures a weekly yumcha session dependency. A top-notch har gow wrapping should be just thick enough to wedge between chopsticks without breakage -- never chewy or too sticky.

Cantonese dim sum is a cuisine on its own. With a full fleet of dim sum masters rolling and wrapping little parcels of all types. This type of manual artistry in dim sum making is never replaceable with machines. 

And also almost every week, I teach dim sum class too. I always warn the class, Har gow is the hardest to perfect. You never expect that these pretty dumplings needed so much work. It's mainly 2 ingredients - Shrimps and the wrapper. But, these wonderful translucent shrimp dumplings served at dim sum restaurants are one of the most difficult to make. It takes plenty of skills to knead out perfectly thin skin and pinch out uniform pieces. These littles bites are the dumpling that many dim sum masters are judged by.
Dainty these dumplings might seems, making Har Gow yourself are not meant for the girlie girlie type. You better put on your Nike Dri Fit because it's gonna be a tough work out. This means an early morning trip to the wet market for the freshest shrimps you can find. Besides that, to achieve the super crunchy texture, you need to be rough when handling them. This is what I mean; After the whole act of shelling and deveining, you got to give them a good wipe down to get them really dry. Next is to mix them up in a gingery marinating concoction. Then is time for good arm work out. Churning and revving it up with speed until your arms are aching. I would always say, "churn them fast with a wooden spoon. Check only when you counted 300 hundred times."  It's done when you see sticky traces clinging on the side of the mixing bowl. This marinating method is widely use in Chinese cooking. It makes the shrimp super juicy and crunchy.

The next mission is to get skin wrapper right. Pleating the thin delicate skin is another test. This requires some practice and will be easier if you already know the basic dumpling wrapping method, which works just fine as well.. The perfect har gow consist of 9-13 pleats. But whatever shape it is, it will taste good. 

And when you steam them. They must be exactly 7 mins.

Har Gow 16 pieces

2 slice of ginger, finely minced
15 medium shrimps, shelled, deveined

Shrimps marinade:¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon chicken stock powder
½  teaspoon Chinese Shaoxing wine
½ teaspoon lard
½ teaspoon light soya sauce
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Mix the ingredients for the filling thoroughly. Beat the paste for 10 mins in the same direction with a spoon or chopstick. Set aside and refrigerate over night or for at least 6 hours. When ready to wrap, roughly chop them into big chucks.

60 gram wheat starch
30 gram tapioca flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon corn oil
100 mL boiling water (must be boiling hot)

In a medium bowl, combine the wheat starch, tapioca flour, and salt. Add the boiling water and canola oil and stir well with a wooden spoon. Knead until smooth. The dough should be soft and sticky initially but when it cools down it should be smooth.

With your palms, roll dough into a log. Cut log into 2, place log together and cut to 8 pieces. Place the pieces in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a wet tea towel to keep them moist.
Flatten each piece of dough which your palm into a round dumpling wrapper. Then using a rolling pin, roll out the dough further to make it larger and thinner.

Working with the wrapper to make the dumpling is the trickiest part. Rolling the wrapper to get the right thickness — neither too thick nor too thin –- is key but wrapping the filling requires a certain technique, which can only be learned and mastered through practice. Form each dumpling wrapper into a cup with overlapping pleats on one side.

Spoon about a teaspoon of the shrimp filling into the pocket and keep the filling from touching the open edge of the wrapper. Close the wrapper by pressing the edges of the wrapper together, forming a half circle.

Line bamboo steamer with baking paper, spray some oil on baking paper to prevent dumpling from sticking. Set each dumpling in a steamer and make sure to leave enough space so that they do not get too crowded. I steamed half a dozen dumplings in an 8-inch bamboo steamer,

Set up steamer and bring water to boil. Steam the dumplings over high heat for 7 minutes. Let the dumplings rest for a few minutes before serving.

-till next post, ss.

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