Woo Gok

Taro Root Horns

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 24 Pieces

Appears in

The Dim Sum Book

The Dim Sum Book

By Eileen Yin-Fei Lo

Published 1982

  • About

Taro root is a traditional food during the Festival of the August Moon, when it is served plain after being boiled. At New Year’s it is finely sliced and fried in chips, similar to potato chips. At other times of the year it is made into dim sum—the fluffy, egg-shaped woo gok—after being steamed and then mashed. I have a particular fondness for woo gok now because I introduced my husband to it when we first met in Hong Kong. It became his favorite dim sum during our honeymoon, and after.


  • pounds of taro root (see note), to yield exactly 1 pound of cooked, mashed taro
  • 6 ounces fresh shrimp, shelled, deveined, washed in salted water, well-dried, and diced into ⅛-inch pieces
  • 6 ounces fresh pork, diced into ⅛-inch pieces
  • 4 medium Chinese dried mushrooms, soaked in hot water for ½ hour, squeezed, stems removed, diced into ⅛-inch pieces
  • cup wheat starch
  • 10 ounces boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • cup lard
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 to 5 cups peanut oil for deep-fat frying
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • teaspoons oyster sauce
  • ½ teaspoon blended whiskey
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  1. Peel taro root, cut into large pieces, and steam for 1 to 1½ hours. To make certain the pieces are tender, insert a chopstick into the vegetable. If it goes in easily, the taro root is cooked. Allow to cool a bit, then mash the taro root with your fingers. It should be quite smooth.

  2. Combine shrimp, pork, and mushrooms and marinate for 30 to 60 minutes in:

  3. In a mixing bowl, mix wheat starch with boiling water. As you pour the boiling water into the mixing bowl with one hand, stir the mixture with chopsticks with the other hand. Stir until mixture becomes a paste.

  4. Add the mashed taro to the wheat-starch paste. Add salt, five-spice powder, and lard and knead the mixture with your hands like a dough until all ingredients are well blended. Refrigerate mixture for at least 4 hours.

  5. Stir-fry marinated shrimp-pork-mushroom mixture in the 3 tablespoons peanut oil over high heat for 1 or 2 minutes until cooked. Add beaten eggs, lower heat, combine until the eggs are softly scrambled and mixed with other ingredients. Remove mixture from heat, place in shallow dish, and allow it to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate 4 hours.

  6. Take 2 or 3 tablespoons of taro dough mixture, mold it into a ball, and gently press, creating a well with your fingers.

  7. Place 1 tablespoon of chilled filling in the center of the well; then, holding woo gok in one hand, thumb in middle, turn and close with the other hand. When hole is closed, lightly turn with 2 hands, making an oblong-shaped form. Repeat until all the dough mixture and filling is used.

  8. Heat the 4 to 5 cups of peanut oil in wok to 350° to 375°F. Place woo gok, 4 at a time, in wok and fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain and serve immediately in fluted paper cups, which can be purchased at any supermarket or food store.

Woo Gok cannot be frozen, but can be prepared a day ahead. Reheat either in 350°F. oven or deep-fat fry for 1 to 2 minutes.