Rice Paper Har Gow (or Crystal Skin Dumplings, Crystal Dumplings) is a cheating version of Har Gow, a delightful Cantonese Dimsum with succulent shrimps paired with crunchy bamboo shoots, all wrapped in a thin, chewy, and delectable translucent skins.
Usually, har gow wrappers are made using wheat starch, which can be time-consuming to prepare. But today, I have a fantastic rice paper hack that will give your har gow the same crystal-clear appearance you find in Chinese restaurants and dim sum spots. Not only easy-to-make and gluten-free, these crystal skin dumplings could be ready in under 30 minutes.
❔ What is Crystal Skin Dumplings (or Har Gow)?
Har Gow, also known as Crystal Skin Dumplings, is a traditional Cantonese Dim Sum delicacy. They feature thin, stretchy, and translucent wrappers which embrace vibrant pink morsels of fresh shrimp. Back when I lived in Saigon’s Chinatown, I made it a weekly ritual to enjoy these Crystal Dumplings at a renowned Cantonese restaurant in the neighborhood.
The texture of the crystal skin dumpling wrappers is quite different from regular ones made with wheat flour. They have a delightful chewiness, thanks to the incorporated starches. Through some experimentation, I discovered that Vietnamese summer roll rice papers make a perfect substitute for har gow wrappers. These rice papers are crafted from similar ingredients, such as rice flour and tapioca starch. Once steamed, they too achieve that mesmerizing crystal-clear, translucent appearance and offer a delightful chewy texture.
❤️ Why you will love this Rice Paper Har Gow recipe
- Full of flavors: The combination of succulent shrimp, paired with crunchy bamboo shoots would create a delightful burst of flavors .
- Easy and time-saving: With the rice paper hack, you can achieve the crystal-clear appearance of traditional har gow wrappers in less than 30 minutes, saving you time and effort in the kitchen.
- Gluten-free option: If you or your loved ones have gluten restrictions, this recipe offers a fantastic gluten-free alternative, allowing everyone to enjoy the deliciousness of Crystal Skin Dumplings.
🌟 Choosing the Right Rice Paper for making Crystal Skin Dumplings
For the ideal har gow skins, opt for rice paper specifically designed for fresh summer rolls. These rice papers have a higher proportion of tapioca starch compared to those used for fried spring rolls. This higher ratio of tapioca starch gives the skins a chewier texture and a more translucent appearance, closely resembling the authentic har gow.
🦐 Ingredients for Quick & Easy Crystal Dumplings
- Rice Papers for making Fresh Summer Rolls
- Shrimp: Opt for medium-sized to large shrimp. Give them a slight mash and then coarsely chop them.
- Bamboo shoots: they add a delightful crunch to the filling, enhancing its overall texture.
- Ginger and cooking wine: Include these ingredients to minimize any fishy flavor, providing a more balanced taste.
- Garlic chives: They contribute a mild oniony flavor that complements the shrimp.
- Sesame oil: Add a touch of sesame oil for a pleasant fragrance. Be careful not to add too much, as it can overpower the flavors of the crystal dumplings.
- Cooking oil (or lard), egg white, and corn starch: These ingredients work together to enhance the juiciness of the filling.
- Seasonings: Use a combination of chicken powder, sugar, oyster sauce, and pepper to season the filling. Adjust the seasoning amounts according to your taste preferences.
📝 Step-by-step Instructions:
Preparing the filling:
- Defrost your shrimps (if you use frozen shrimps), then devein them. Pat the shrimps dry with paper towels and give them a gentle mash before coarsely chopping them into a paste.
- Finely chop the bamboo shoots, ginger, and garlic chives into small pieces. Combine them with the shrimp filling.
- Add cooking oil, cooking wine, corn starch, and egg white to the mixture.
- Season the filling with sesame oil, chicken powder, sugar, oyster sauce, and pepper. Use a pair of chopsticks to thoroughly mix the ingredients in one direction, or alternatively, you can mix the shrimp filling by hand. Allow the filling to marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Preparing the rice papers:
- Begin by cutting the rice paper into two equal pieces. Dip one piece of rice paper into cold water for approximately 5-10 seconds, similar to making Gỏi Cuốn – Vietnamese Summer rolls. Fold the rice paper to form a shape resembling one-quarter of a rice paper.
- Fold the three edges of the one-quarter shaped rice paper to create a slightly round-shaped appearance, similar to the original crystal skin dumpling wrappers. This forms a rice paper skin for the Har Gow.
Assembling the rice paper Har Gow:
- Place the filling in the center of the wrapper, then fold two edges of the rice paper skin.
- Initiate pleating on one side, aiming for about 7-9 pleats in total.
- Pinch the Har Gow to seal it with the other side.
- Use scissors to trim any excess wrapper from the top to achieve a neat appearance. Pinch again to ensure the top is sealed (I just forgot to trim the wrapper in this time). Repeat the process with the remaining filling until all are completed.
Steaming the Har Gow:
After the water in the steamer has come to a boil, place the crystal skin dumplings in the steamer and steam them on high heat for approximately 5 minutes. Ensure there is enough space between the Har Gow to prevent sticking.
Once steamed, serve the dumplings hot. Enjoy them with a dipping sauce made from a combination of soy sauce, black vinegar, and Chinese chili oil.
If you’ve tried this recipe or any others from my blog, please share your creations with me on Instagram by tagging #savour_thepho or mentioning me in your stories with @savour_thepho . I would be thrilled to see what you’ve made and it would definitely brighten my day! Don’t forget to stay in touch with me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube 🥰.
Rice Paper Har Gow (Crystal Skin Dumplings) (Gluten-free)
- 1 mixing bowl
- 1 Steamer
- 1 Meat Clever
- 1 Cutting Board
- Rice Papers (the type for Vietnamese fresh summer rolls)
- 200 g (0.45 lbs) peeled and deveined Shrimps
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic chives
- 1 egg white
- 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) finely chopped bamboo shoots
- ½ tsp chicken powder
- ½ tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tsp Chinese cooking wine
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp corn starch
- ½ tsp white pepper powder
How to prepare the filling:
- If using frozen shrimps, start by defrosting them, then devein the shrimps. Pat the shrimps dry using paper towels and gently mash them before coarsely chopping them into a paste.
- Finely chop the bamboo shoots, ginger, and garlic chives into small pieces. Combine these ingredients with the shrimp filling.
- Add cooking oil, cooking wine, corn starch, and egg white to the filling.
- Season the filling with sesame oil, chicken powder, sugar, oyster sauce, and pepper. Thoroughly mix the ingredients in one direction with a pair of chopsticks, or by hand. Allow the filling to marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
How to prepare the rice papers:
- Start by dividing the rice paper into two equal pieces. Submerge one piece of rice paper in cold water for about 5-10 seconds, following the technique used for Vietnamese Summer rolls (Gỏi Cuốn). Fold the rice paper to shape it into a quarter.
- Fold the three edges of the quarter-shaped rice paper to achieve a rounded appearance, resembling the traditional crystal skin dumpling wrappers. This creates a rice paper skin for the Har Gow.
How to fold the Rice Paper Har Gow (Crystal Skin Dumplings)
- Begin by placing the filling in the center of the rice paper wrapper. Fold two edges of the rice paper skin over the filling.
- Start pleating on one side, aiming to create approximately 7-9 pleats in total.
- Pinch the Har Gow to seal it with the other side.
- Use scissors to trim any excess wrapper from the top, ensuring a neat appearance. Pinch again to ensure the top is properly sealed. Repeat the process with the remaining filling until all Har Gow are assembled and completed.
How to steam the Har Gow
- Once the water in the steamer reaches a boiling point, carefully place the crystal skin dumplings inside and steam them over high heat for about 5 minutes. Remember to leave enough space between the Har Gow to prevent them from sticking together.
- Once perfectly steamed, serve the dumplings hot. Enhance their flavors by pairing them with a delectable dipping sauce from a blend of soy sauce, black vinegar, and Chinese chili oil.