Shrimp Bonnets (Ha Gow)

Shrimp Bonnets (Ha Gow)
Shrimp Bonnets (Ha Gow)
Adapted from Rhoda Yee’s Dim Sum.

Makes: 4 dozen

1 recipe of wheat starch dough

1 lb. prawns: cleaned, shelled & minced
¾ cup minced bamboo shoots (omit if taste is too pungent for you)
½ cup minced, cooked pork fat *
1 stalk minced green onions
2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
4 pinches white pepper
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt


To make filling:
1. Combine above ingredients and chill for several hours (for ease of handling) before wrapping. Be sure to taste test the filling to make sure it is seasoned to your liking. To test it, set up your steamer and drop a spoonful into your cake pan.

* I asked my butcher for a strip of pork fat. Finely mince it, then cook in a frying pan over low heat until it turns translucent. You don’t want it to brown. Season with about ½ teaspoon of salt.

1. Divide dough into 4 parts. Roll each part into a ½ inch wide sausage like strip. Cut strip into 1-inch lengths (about 12 segments). Roll out each segment into approximately 3-inch to 3 ½-inch rounds.

Note: A tortilla press is highly recommended to press the dough to the proper size and thinness. I made do by placing my dough on a piece of wax paper, covering it with saran wrap, then flattening it with the bottom of a heavy stone mortar. This worked well. The thinner the dough, the prettier your ha gow will be. However, the thinner the dough, the harder it is to handle when wrapping.

2. Lightly oil your fingertips so that they don’t stick to the dough as you wrap them.

3. Make 6 pleats along the semi-circle facing you. This will form a pouch so that you can easily place 1 teaspoon of filling into the opening. Then, press the unpleated part of the circle up against the pleated part to seal. Gentle fold in the outer corners towards the center to give the bonnets a slightly curved shape.

1. Oil a cake or pie pan and lay the bonnets in a single layer, pleated side up. Steam for 15 minutes. Let cool for 2-3 minutes before handling. Serve with light soy sauce for dipping. If you are using a bamboo or aluminum steamer, place a cheese cloth or parchment paper on the steam rack before laying out the bonnets. This will prevent them from sticking.

Do-ahead Notes: The cooked ha gow can be kept for several days in the refrigerator or 2-3 weeks in the freezer. In either case, keep them well wrapped to prevent discoloration. Reheat by steaming, 10 minutes from refrigerator, or 20 minutes from freezer.

Wheat Starch Dough
Recipe from Rhoda Yee’s Dim Sum.

Makes: 3 dozen wrappers

1 cup wheat starch
2/3 cup tapioca starch
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup and 2 tablespoons boiling water


1. Mix well the first 4 ingredients in order given. Bring water to a rolling boil and stir into dry ingredients with chopsticks until dry ingredients adhere. (I had to add a little more water than the recipe called for in order to get the dough to come together).

Note: It is very important that the water for the dough be boiling vigorously for several minutes before mixing with the starches. One sure way to have just the right amount of water is by first having a larger quantity than is called for in the recipe. Bring water to a rolling boil for 5 minutes, then measure off the proper amount, return the water to an empty pot, then bring it to a vigorous boil again, adding to starch mixture right away. If the water is cooled off even for just a few seconds, the starch will not get cooked and the dough will fall apart. (You’ll see the dough taking on a chalky white appearance instead of a transparent look. This indicated it is properly cooked.)

2. Cover and let cool for 15 minutes. Lightly oil kneading surface and knead dough for several minutes until it is well mixed and smooth. Not it is ready for wrapping.

Do-ahead Notes: Dough can be kept at room temperature for 1 day if you wrap it in plastic wrap.