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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Asian Cooking / Is there an expert on Har Gow to answer my questions?
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    Is there an expert on Har Gow to answer my questions?

    Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:45 pm
    Semi-Experienced "Sous Chef" Poster
    I'm suffering some confusion about making Har Gow. To save you some time, refer to my question at:

    I don't understand the need for two kinds of starch. Wouldn't cornstarch alone do the job? Or rice starch? I have both, but do not have wheat starch. The people over there seemed to think wheat starch is wheat flour, and I already know they are NOT the same thing.

    I've thickened many sauces and gravies, not just Oriental ones, with cornstarch when I want the gravy thickened, but glossy and semi-translucent. When I do not want it that way, I thicken with flour.

    Flour, the standard wheat flour, would not yield the transparency needed for Har Gow; I already know that much. The people over there seemed to think that gluten IS necessary, but I feel sure its absence is necessary.

    I've learned that freshly made Har Gow dough tends to crack easily in handling, and would appreciate some expert tips on how to deal with that.

    I can't get wheat starch. Would cornstarch and rice starch do? If so, which should I use in the larger quantity as the recipes direct?[i]
    Stella Mae
    Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:10 am Groupie
    Hi faster, and welcome to the Asian forum. From what I understand about shrimp dim sum -- aren't these small dumplings delicious?! -- you need both wheat starch and tapioca starch, and both can be found at an Asian market or ordered on line.

    The purpose of the tapioca starch is simply to give the dumpling its translucent look, and I believe the wheat starch is to give it "body". If you absolutely cannot get wheat starch, then you might experiment with corn starch and see how it works.

    Let us know what you decide. I'm sorry I cannot be of more help to you, but we'll be happy to hear how your Har Gow turns out. I'm sure it'll be very good and we'll want the recipe!
    Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:17 am Groupie
    Wheat starch is certainly not the same as wheat flour. It can be found in Chinese markets and is known as dung mein fun. Tapioca starch also known as ling fun can be found in Asian markets. It would be hard to make authentic hargow without these two flours and really do not know if other subs will work. Your idea of using rice flour may work but it probably will produce different results. The closest sub for tapioca starch is potato flour also known as katakuriko and is found in Asian markets. I wish I can offer better ideas but I've never made hargow without having both flours.
    Sat Dec 29, 2012 2:35 am Groupie
    BTW, I've heard you can make hagow with only wheat starch and tapioca flour is there for better seal. But, I've never tried one without the tapioca flour. Wheat starch is found in the same area as tapioca flour/starch and not in the area where regular wheat flours are sold in the Asian markets.
    Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:11 pm
    Semi-Experienced "Sous Chef" Poster
    I thank you all for your replies.

    There are no Asian markets near me, because I live in Mexico. There are a lot of foreign residents here, so I can get many things that aren't available generally in Mexico, but I can't get everything I might want.

    Once, long ago, I did get tapioca flour. Maybe I still can. I'll check. What I DO have are cornstarch and rice flour (starch).

    The explanation that wheat starch helps bind the edges together sounds reasonable. I doubt I can get any, though.

    I'm disabled, and it's hard for me just to get all the ingredients I need for, say, a stirfry I want to make. Right now, I DO have all the ingredients for Har Gow, but not the precise starches recipes call for. I think they ought to work fairly well, though, so I will try it.

    I've never tasted Har Gow. Don't need to. I already know it'll be scrumptious. Weep for me, please, because there are no places where I could get dim sum without traveling to the States. Which I can't do physically, much less financially. I didn't even learn of dim sum until I moved here. I'm slathering to try the full assortments, and never will.

    Many dim sum places use ingredients that aren't available, anywhere, except in China, Japan and other Oriental countries. So the dim sum places in the States have to import them directly. That's sad, too. It means that, even with a recipe, most Americans can't make them at home.

    I've loved Oriental food all my life. My hometown had a Chinese take-out place right near the train station, so everyone would drool over the aromas as they passed by! I still can't generate that aroma, no matter how authentically I try to make Oriental recipes at home. They're delicious, but that aroma is still a mystery to me. I wish somebody could tell me what it is coming from.

    Thanks for the help. Now in a few days, I'll take the plunge. However they turn out, they'll probably be delicious.
    Stella Mae
    Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:59 pm Groupie
    Give it a try, faster, and let us know how it all turns out. l Iive in a city in the states where there are at last three Asian markets so, yes, we can get all the ingredients for any Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Indian, etc. recipes. But if you are not close to an Asian market, you might consider going on line to find the exact ingredients that you need. I think that would be a good option. After you've experimented and settle on the perfect recipe, I do hope you'll post it here. We love to share Asian recipes!
    Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:45 pm Groupie
    Good luck nontheless and my feeling is that if you do not have all the ingredients, you can at least try anyway. The results may not be perfect or even close, but the thoughts are there and I think that's what is most important. When my family first came to the US in the early 63, it was impossible to find Japanese ingredients in Arizona or central PA. We improvised. One of the things I remember fondly is Japanese style pickles. No Japanese cukes and no rice bran flour to make them. Mom used dill pickles, thinly sliced and pickled that in soy sauce for few days. Nothing close to what we had in Japan, but it had the Japanese taste component and was good in those days. Now, I'm afraid not so much because I can get almost all things here or from Japan. Hargow is not like regular gyoza/potsticker dough. It is like soft, gooey, translucent dough. I can't think of any in Mexico that would be close to it. I bet whatever you make, you will still be happy with it.
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