I read through about a dozen recipes for Har Gow prior to proceeding and found that most called for using the flat side of the blade of a large Chinese cleaver to flatten the individual dough balls into dumpling wrappers (and/or using a rolling pin). I like Ellen Leong Blonder's method, described in her Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch, in which she puts the dough between two square pieces of parchment paper before flattening them so that they are easier to remove. In the end, I ended up using the bottom of a heavy cast iron skillet to flatten the dough, which worked out pretty well. I think I'll try using a tortilla press next time (after I actually buy one) as, in my mind, that should achieve the same result in perhaps even less time. We shall see...
1 lb. medium shrimp, shelled & deveined & coarsely chopped (cut each shrimp into 3-4 pcs.)
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup minced bamboo shoot
1 tbsp. finely chopped water chestnut (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
Dough (for the above filling amount, you will need to make 2 batches of the dough recipe: I would not double the recipe, but just make 2 batches so that the dough won't dry out):
1 1/4 cup wheat starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup boiling hot water
1. Combine all filing ingredients together in a bowl, cover & refrigerate for at least one hour before using. In the meantime, line a baking sheet with parchment/wax paper & spray surface evenly with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. To make the dough, combine all dry ingredients together in a medium bowl; stir well. Add oil and hot water, then using chopsticks or a wooden spoon, stir together quickly. While dough is still very hot but easy enough to handle, remove the dough to a board or surface (I just used my kitchen countertop, which is granite and great for kneading stuff) that has been lightly dusted with some wheat starch. Knead the dough, adding a bit more wheat starch as needed, until smooth and no longer sticky.
3. Divide the dough into 3 pieces and roll each piece into an approximately 8" log. Work with one log at a time (cover the remaining logs with a damp paper towel to keep them from drying out). Cut the log into 8 pieces, then roll each piece into a ball shape. Place four dough balls on a large 12" sheet of parchment or wax paper, spaced 6-8" apart, then cover with another large 12" sheet of parchment paper. Using the flat side of a cleaver, rolling pin, or a heavy skillet, flatten the dough balls until they form about a 3" round.
4. Remove one wrapper from the parchment paper and form pleats on one side to create a pocket in the dough (see photos below for a better idea of how to do this). Spoon about 1 tsp. of filling into the dough and carefully fold the other side over and seal the dumpling; the dough tears easily, so don't overstuff. Place the completed dumpling on the oiled, parchment-lined baking sheet. Continue filling the remaining three wrappers in the same way. Repeat the process with the remaining two dough logs.
5. Coat the bottom of a large metal steamer with oil (or spray with cooking spray) to prevent the dumplings from sticking. If using bamboo steamers, just line the bottoms with nappa cabbage leaves. Cover and bring the water under the steamer to a full boil. Using tongs, place the dumplings on the steamer (do not overcrowd), cover, and steam over high heat for about 5 minutes or until just done. Serve immediately with chili-garlic sauce, Chinese hot mustard and/or light soy sauce.
6. The raw dumplings will not keep well in the refrigerator (the dough dries out easily) and should be steamed right after you make them. You can, however, freeze them after steaming them.