Har Gow Horrors - Shrimp Dumplings

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Picture of Har Gow Horrors - Shrimp Dumplings
Grim some dim sum. Tea time terror.

Yup, there is something not right with the food I eat.  You shouldn't find this on the menu at your favorite Chinese restaurant let alone on your plate.  Make these yum yum treats to serve to your high-class friends...low-class too.

Har gow are classic shrimp filled steamed dumplings usually served at dim sum, kinda like brunch.  They are one of the many treats you select from the rolling serving carts in restaurants that serve dim sum.   At the end of the meal, the waiters count up the used plates on your table to tally up your bill.  What's next,  rat's bird's nest soup?

And if you want more tea, you signal others to politely pour you a cup by scratching the table in a tapping motion, coincidence?

CAUTION: If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. If you are not allowed to use things like knives and the stove, teach your kids to cook.

NOTE: I did not make these in the shape of Mickey Mouse.  That would have been tasteless. Kids on the site, ya know.

Step 1: Scurry for ingredients

Picture of Scurry for ingredients
For the filling,

I used frozen shrimp because that was handy.  The package says they are cleaned but that only means the intestinal tract was gutted out.  You still have to rip off the crawler legs, tail and shell.

I would prefer to use fresh shrimp and go for the better softer texture than you get with frozen shrimp.

 It doesn't really matter what size the shrimp is since you will chop it up for the filling. But don't use those tiny tiny shrimp though.

Additional for filling,
a bit of chopped bamboo shoot or water chestnut
it adds a little bit of crunch 


ground pepper - can use white pepper
have a few whole peppercorns to use for the "eyes", black sesame seeds or something similar would work.

cornstarch - just a bit to help the mass bind

any other seasonings - drop of wine or soy sauce, etc.

For the dumpling skin:
You may need to find an Asian market or visit a market with a good international selection of imported foodstuffs.

Tapioca Starch - this gives the skin its translucent property

Wheat Starch - this is not the same as regular wheat flour

a drop of oil to keep it from sticking

boiling water to mix
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darrenhall2 years ago
I love (well - loved) dumplings, until I saw the film by the same name - cannot bring myself to eat them now.

You have some great instructables - very cool.

Arbitror4 years ago
This reminds me of newborn mice!
food for cats!
And snakes! ;-D Rubber Boas love pinkies! ;-P~
kooyma Arbitror4 years ago
caitlinsdad (author)  Arbitror4 years ago
aaaagh, I think I just threw up a little...not
triumphman4 years ago
The little mousies that look like yours, only fried , well I just found the recipe for you, they are called, Jalapeno Chili Pepper Screamers, by caitlinsdad, in food: snacks & appetizers (instructable). They are breaded & fried in oil. Sounds yummy. Thanks for yours, can't wait to try it! Triumphman.
caitlinsdad (author)  triumphman4 years ago
ahem, that's me too!
triumphman4 years ago
These look like the Stuffed Halepino Pepper thingys someone made in an Instructable!. Awesome dude! You have some imagination. I love it!
krysteanuh4 years ago
!! Oh my gosh~! I love har gow~!
Well, in Mandarin, we just call them shrimp dumplings (xia jiao).
Nevertheless, I'm definitely going to try this. Awesome instructable~!
caitlinsdad (author)  krysteanuh4 years ago
Well, in Toisanese(Toi shan) we just call them ha gow.
i thought it was Cantonese? (Har Goe)
In Arkansas we just call that "dang good eats, ah tell ya whut!" :D - Pj
kooyma piperjon4 years ago
and here in the midwest day-yuuum!

LOVE this- particularly the pink innerds showing through the skin at their little bellies
dude- you are my kind of brilliante!
I aspire to your level of sickness :O)
caitlinsdad (author)  michaelgohjs4 years ago
and you can pick from hundreds of the Chinese dialects and it still tastes good.
LittleWolf4 years ago
No, no!!

Ben was brown, Socrates was the white one!

In a less important note, your instructables are always awesome. I am making them for our halloween bash.
caitlinsdad (author)  LittleWolf4 years ago
Lemme guess, your big bad brother is scaring those little pigs in the houses down the block.
Civet4 years ago
Awesome Instructable, now i'm tempted to try this out. xD
caitlinsdad (author)  Civet4 years ago
hopefully not with civet filling.
Nah, although i was thinking of using other questionable meats as a substitute... xD
Truly gross. Don't think I could eat them shaped like that even if I liked shrimp, which means you did a good job. ;)
caitlinsdad (author)  jessyratfink4 years ago
Weenie...and I suppose served with mayo would have freaked you out. Persnickity eaters, hmmph!
It just so happens we're talking about two of the things I hate the most... throw ranch in there and I'm done.
mix in some black food coloring to the dough to make them look more like the baby mice serve at a Halloween party
caitlinsdad (author)  Cyberscann544 years ago
that would make them really creepy.
Not sure if this has been asked or not, after they have been formed, can they be frozen? or pre-cooked and then frozen for later re-heating?
caitlinsdad (author)  iminthebathroom4 years ago
I think you can but we have always made it fresh because it is so easy to make, I know it will keep a day or two in the fridge tightly covered. The problem there is you are dealing with seafood that will let out it juices and the skins will harden up. That said, your alternative fillings will freeze up well but the skins may get freezer burn and the texture may not be as good after you defrost or throw them straight into the steamer. You may have to overcook them to ensure the center filling is hot. There are frozen ones at the supermarket but I do not know if they work because of chemical additives, industrial flash freezing methods or if they have been parboiled before they are frozen. You could always experiment with a batch and have fun in the kitchen.
jennablur4 years ago
Wow, I must try them!
sunshiine4 years ago
I love it but could never never eat it!
caitlinsdad (author)  sunshiine4 years ago
Maybe if you put it on a stick...naaaaah.
NO WAY! You pegged me right! LOL.
WOW. Wonderful! How can I nominate this for the halloween contest!? XD It looks like a great recipie and PERFECT for halloween!
lemonie4 years ago
Nice, they look good disemboweled.

caitlinsdad (author)  lemonie4 years ago
I worry about you...sometimes.

Title includes "horrors", I worry about you too....

This is awesome, but any guesstimate as to how much bowling water added to the wheat:tapioca mixture you used?
caitlinsdad (author)  iminthebathroom4 years ago
maybe half a cup of boiling water. Just start mixing as you pour and the starches start to gum and ball up. Scrape the bowl with a spoon. Wait a minute for the starch to absorb the water and add a few more drops to mix in if too clumpy. Dig in with your hands to ball up and you can feel if it is too wet or sticky. It should be like smooth play-dough.
For those of us that aren't seafood enthusiasts, what kind of meat mixtures could we use? In fact it doesn't have to be meat mixtures; are there any dessert recipes that would work?

I love3 the creepy translucence to this, but I won't try it unless it's NOT fish X3;;
caitlinsdad (author)  bluesquirrel4 years ago
Stuffing can be anything you like. There is ground pork or beef filling. You can go vegan with chopped mushrooms and leafy green veggies that have been previously wilted with onion and garlic (interesting point - Buddhists do not use garlic ) There is dim sum that is stuffed entirely of chives - a little too herby and grassy for my taste.

Come up with your own type of filling. I'm not sure if cheese works too well with this kind of dough and being steamed, try this instead.
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