As teahouses flourished in the southern areas of Guangdong (Kwangtung) province during the Tang dynasty (AD 618-906), it became necessary for southern chefs to devise and create more and more dainty nibbles and pastries to accompany the now popular and leisurely pastime of tea-drinking. Seafood was used, as well as pork and chicken, to stuff pastries and dumplings, har gau being the Cantonese masterpiece of this specialized art of dim sum.
- For the Dough:
- 1 cup Chinese wheat starch flour (dun min fun) (available at Chinese stores)
- 1/4 cup potato flour (available at Chinese stores)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 tablespoon lard
- For the Filling:
- 8 ounces fresh uncooked shrimp, shelled, deveined, washed under cold running water, and dried
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh pork fat (trim fat from a pork chop or similar - essential for a crisp, crunchy texture)
- 2 tablespoons minced water chestnuts
- 2 tablespoons minced bamboo shoots (available at Chinese stores)
- For the Seasonings:
- Good pinch of white pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Beaten egg for brushing
FOR THE DOUGH:
Place the wheat starch flour in a stainless-steel mixing bowl, and add the potato flour. Mix the flours together and gradually add the boiling water, mixing at the same time with a wooden spoon until a fairly thick, soft dough forms. Do not over-mix at this stage.
Sprinkle the work surface with potato flour, and add the dough, kneading well, adding a little extra potato flour when necessary to make the dough quite smooth with no lumps. Add the lard to the center of the dough, spread over and knead into the dough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap to keep it warm.
Roll the dough into a 1-inch thick sausage. Slice the dough into 1-inch pieces. Shape the pieces into balls and flatten with the flat side of an oil-rubbed cleaver. (You will need to lift the dough from the work surface with the chopper.)
FOR THE FILLING:
Roughly grind (mince) the shrimp. Grind the pork fat. Combine the shrimp, pork, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. Add the seasonings ingredients. Beat all of the ingredients together to make a smooth mixture. Cover and refrigerate to chill completely.
FOR THE DUMPLINGS:
Place a walnut-size ball of the filling into the center of each dough wrapper, pressing well. Fold the dough to encircle the filling, pleat the back side of the wrapper, and press the other side to seal. The dumpling will look like a bonnet.
Place the dumplings, without touching each other, in a lightly oiled bamboo steamer. Steam over boiling water for 10 minutes.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Russell. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
39 calories; 1g total fat; 15mg cholesterol; 71mg sodium; 5g carbohydrates; 0g fiber; 1g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.