If you like to cook and you try foods from different cultures every now and then you have a disaster. Well, for me that's har gow. For those that may not be familiar with the name, har gow is a traditional Cantonese shrimp dumpling served in dim sum format.
I love har gow and can make a fool of myself eating them.
So, I decided to make some har gow at home. I looked at numerous recipes and watched numerous Chinese chefs make them on YouTube. I already have a double layer bamboo steamer, that I primarily use for shrimp and lobster, so I was all set with the necessary equipment.
It wasn't difficult for us to obtain some of the special ingredients such as Shaoxing wine, wheat starch and tapioca flour as we have a few supermarkets that cater to oriental cuisine close to where we live.
Making har gow can be divided into two parts; the filling and the dough.
Let me say that making the filling wasn't at all difficult or overly challenging, the recipe that I had chosen broke down the directions into many simple steps.
However, the dough is another story and it is a story that ended in disaster. The dough is used to make very thin wrappers. So thin, that you can literally see through them and that's where the problems began.
This is the simple direction, after the dough is made, that was included in the recipe:
Cut the dough in half. Wrap half of the dough in plastic wrap to prevent drying and set aside. Roll the other half into a long rope. Cut the dough into 12 portions, about 1/4 ounce each. Using a small rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough into a circle about 2 inches in diameter. Continue with the rest of the portions and the other half of the dough, covering the finished wrappers in plastic wrap as you work. Cover the wrappers with plastic wrap until ready to fill.
I watched the YouTube video's read additional recipes and my dough would tear and the filling would fall out, when I made it thick enough that it wouldn't tear, they were pasty. There was flour all over the kitchen and in the end a lot of dough in the trash can.
I have to admit, that after a lot of frustration, that I gave up, in defeat. The only good part is that the filling tasted great.
I have since found a dim sum wholesale that sells har gow ready to be steamed and a supermarket that has a food counter that sells har gow already steamed! It will be quite some time before I try to make them again.