Har gow is a traditional Chinese dumpling served in dim sum. The dumpling is sometimes called a shrimp bonnet for its pleated shape. Traditionally, har gow should have at least seven and preferably ten or more pleats imprinted on its wrapper. This dish is often served together with sieu mai; when served in such a manner the two items are collectively referred to as hargow-sieu mai.
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The wrappers are made with boiling water, to which wheat starch, tapioca starch, oil and a small amount of salt are added. The filling contains shrimp, cooked pork fat, bamboo shoots, scallions, cornstarch, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, and other seasonings. The pouch-shaped dumpling is then steamed in a bamboo basket until translucent; at the table it is usually dipped in soy sauce, or red color rice vinegar. When the dough for the wrapper is properly prepared and cooked, the dumpling has a slightly sticky, chewy texture. The shrimp are not overcooked, so they retain a slightly crisp texture. Ingredients vary regionally, but most versions contain sesame oil, salt, sugar. Other versions may contain oyster sauce, water chestnuts, or ginger.
This dish is said to be the one that the skill of a dim sum chef is judged on. The skin must be thin and translucent, yet be sturdy enough to not break when picked up with chopsticks. It must not stick to the paper, container or the other hargow in the basket. The shrimp must be cooked well, but not overcooked; be generous in amount, yet not so much that it cannot be eaten in one bite.