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Chef Andrew Wong of London's eponymous A. Wong is taking dim sum to the next level with his spectacular Har Gao.

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Transcript

- Ha gow is particularly special to me because I think it really exemplifies what we do in a restaurant being a combination of history, culture, a little bit of science, and most importantly cooking. My name is Andrew Wong, chef-owner of restaurant A. Wong. Restaurant A. Wong is a modern explorative Chinese restaurant where we look to celebrate China as a whole. My first memory of dim sum actually I would say its probably got nothing to do with food. I think it's more to do with commonalities. It's about gathering around and eating together. The thing that stays with me the most is the idea that it was the one time of the week where the whole family would sit around the table and probably argue. Today we're cooking the most staple of dumplings on any dim sum menu. It's Ha gow which is a prawn dumpling. This dish today has particular significance because it was really the first dish that we had on our menu where I really stopped purely cooking other people's recipes. So I'd like to think that our menu today is a big thank you to all the chefs who were very generous with their time and knowledge while I was with them in that particular kitchen from around China. We're gonna start off by making the filling. The most important thing about the filling for Ha gow is the freshest of ingredients. The one thing that Cantonese food really prides itself on. We get the prawns and we dice off three cross sections from the head end. The remainder of the prawn, we use the side of the cleaver to puree by smashing down. With these two preparations, the prawn it really shows the versatility of the meat cleaver within Chinese cookery. And the reason that we have these two different textures of prawn is that it creates the texture within the filling. To the prawns, we add the vegetable fat, the sugar, the potato starch, the sesame oil, the salt, the white pepper, and the ginger infused water. First we mix it with a spoon just to mix the ingredients together because the mixture contains potato starch, it's important to work the mixture and by slapping it down with the hand, it really makes the mixture bind to itself and become sticky. When you can feel with your hand that the mixture is bound together, the filling is done. What is very important with this particular dough is the temperature of the water. If the water is too cold you won't get an elastic mixture that binds together and if it's too hot the mixture will be too firm and you won't be able to make your pastries. In order to make this dough we start off with the wheat starter of potato starch in a bowl. To that we add the water and we must make sure that number one, the water is boiling, and number two, you stir to stop the starch from setting too quickly. When it seemingly becomes to forming to a dough, you add a little bit more potato starch and the oil and begin to work it with your hand until you form a smooth, shiny dough. As you knead the dough, you begin to work and put heat into the dough. And what you'll find is that it will become more malleable and you should be able to stretch it across the board. If it breaks you'll know you haven't quite kneaded it enough. It should be able to spread across the board in one single go without breaking. When the dough's ready to use, you roll it out into a log and you divide it into seven gram portions. You roll it into a ball and place it on a board. You dot a little bit of oil over the top as lubrication and then using the side of the cleaver, you begin to push out a flat pastry which if done correctly should be about seven to seven and a half centimeters in diameter. When the pastry gets to about half a millimeter in thickness, it's ready to be taken off the board and ready to wrap. To the pastry you add about three quarters of a teaspoon of filling and holding it with one hand, you pleat with the other until you get 13 pleats around the dumpling. Although the pleating process is quite intricate and requires a lot of practice, actually the fundamental of it is to seal the filling inside the skin. The important thing after we've pleated the dumpling is to remove all the excess pastry. So we do that by using the blade of the knife to scrape off all the excess. At this point, the dumplings are done and ready to cook. The foam in essence is a sauce that's been aerated and the important thing it does here is it adds a little bit of acidity to the dumpling. For the foam, start with some water and vinegar. Add some sugar for seasoning and then soy lecithin which emulsifies the mix and then using a hand blender, aerate the liquid to create a foam. The important thing is to blend the surface only. Which allows the mixture to aerate. One of the most conventional ways of cooking dim sum is by steam. In order to steam you place the dumplings into the top layer basket and we close the lid, we put some water into a wok and we layer up some bamboo baskets making sure that the top layer doesn't touch the water and we steam for four minutes. So although the dumplings have last minute garnishes, we still serve them in the baskets as an homage to the traditional way of eating dim sum. Once the dumpling is cooked, we add one layer of sweetness using a sweet chili sauce and then we finish with our vinegar foam which simulates a cloud over the top of the dumpling but adds an amazing texture to it. And that's our take on a traditional Ha gow dumpling. We have the freshness of the prawn, and then you have the gelatinous texture of the pastry, then you have the sweetness of the chili sauce, and then right in the end you have the acidity from the vinegar. People really enjoy this dish I think most importantly because it's a staple. So when people think about dim sum, they automatically think of this Ha gow. I hope that when they have our Ha gow it's a fresh take on something that's very familiar to them. I'd like to think that this dish is an A. Wong unique take on a very traditional dim sum item.