Crystal Shrimp Dumpling (Har Gow)

Enjoy this Dim sum classic, a plump crystal dumpling stuffed with shrimp and bamboo, from the comfort of your home!

Har gow, shrimp dumplings with a translucent wrapper, is a classic Cantonese dish often served at dim sum restaurants. Well, what exactly is dim sum? Dim sum is a Cantonese-style cuisine where small-portioned dishes are pushed around on a cart, and guests select which dishes they want from the cart. Each dish is appetizer-sized so that people can share a variety of different dishes with others. Traditionally, the dishes are served with hot tea.

There are a wide variety of dim sum dishes, with the most popular ones including har gow, shiu mai, BBQ pork buns, egg tart, and chicken feet. Har gow is one of my favorite dim sum dishes, so being able to make it at home is certainly a nice perk!

These shrimp dumplings are typically made with pleats on the dough, which requires plenty of practice. Since I am not a dim sum master, I did not attempt the pleats; I went for a traditional dumpling look that alters only the appearance and not the taste. Additionally, the har gow dough is not easy to work with. If your dumplings do not look aesthetic on the first try, no worries, just continue to practice. To make har gow, you will need the following ingredients and tools:

Wheat starch: is a carbohydrate extracted from wheat gluten and is used to thicken foods like sauces and soups. Wheat starch gives the wrappers the crystal/translucent appearance. Wheat starch is NOT the same as wheat flour. There is no substitution for this ingredient. You may purchase online or in an Asian grocery store.

Tapioca starch: you may substitute tapioca starch with corn starch

Bamboo: fresh or canned

Steamer: any simple steamer will do; a bamboo steamer is traditionally used for dim sum

Crystal Shrimp Dumpling

yield: 32 dumplings

total time: 45 min.


For wrapper:

For filling:

  • 400 g. shrimp, cut into small pieces
  • 65 g. or 1/2 c. bamboo, chopped
  • 8 g. or 1 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 g. or 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 5 g. or 2 tsp. grated ginger
  • 4 g. or 1 tsp. sugar
  • 3 g. or 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 10 g. or 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 10 g. or 2 tsp. Chinese oyster sauce


  1. In a bowl, combine wheat starch, boiled water, and oil. Mix until combined and knead with hands for 2 minutes. If the dough feels sticky, add some more wheat starch. Set aside covered or wrapped in plastic wrap.
  2.  In a bowl, combine shrimp filling ingredients. Set aside.
  3. Take the dough and cut it in 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a log (1 inch diameter) and cut each log into eight (1 cm pieces). You should have 32 dough pieces.
  4.  Lightly oil a dough piece and flatten it into a circle of 3 inch diameter with your knife, a rolling pin, or your hands. Place a spoonful of shrimp filling on the inside and pinch the edges to seal. Repeat for the remaining dumplings. Cover the other dough pieces with plastic wrap when you are not using them. You do not want the dough to dry out.
  5. Line a steamer basket with parchment paper and place the dumplings in, leaving about ½ inch between each dumpling. If you have multiple steamer layers, you can steam the dumplings all at once. If you do not, you will have to steam the dumplings in batches.
  6. Place the steamer baskets over a large pot with simmering water. Steam the dumplings for 5-8 minutes and serve immediately. I like to dip my dumplings in soy sauce and chili oil.

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9 thoughts

  1. Oh, we eat them to at parties. They are lovely. I like the spicy shrimps. They have the form of a crescent moon.

  2. I’ve never made this type of dumpling, but as soon as I have sourced the two starches, I’m going to have a go. Is the bamboo ingredient just the regular ‘bamboo shoots’ widely available in cans? I’ve got a huge Chinese supermarket/warehouse nearby – they sell everything.

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