This is another one of those ‘crave’ posts. Soon kueh, or bangkwang kueh to some, is a southeast asian morning or afternoon snack – a simple, steamed turnip dumpling. I haven’t sighted any of these in London and I do not remember when was the last time I had one of these babies. And so, in another desperate attempt to savour these childhood faves of mine, I virtually dusted off an old email from a good friend who had given me the recipe a couple of years back.
Another reason for the major two-year delay in making soon kueh, aside from utter laziness, is the fact that the turnip (yambean or jicama) for this recipe does not exist in the UK. I had to google for a suitable substitute for this particular type of turnip and the closest and most available fellow root vege is daikon radish (known as mooli in the UK). I had used mooli in my chinese carrot cake recipe before and was hoping that it’d work just as well. And it did.
The making of the filling was the easy bit. I julienned a large mooli instead of shredding it, as I prefered having more of a bite to the vegetable, and also to prevent it from turning to mush…Now, the skin of the dumpling was a different story. It’s a very sticky dough, which requires partial cooking in a pot before kneading. Kneading steaming hot dough is not quite as fun as you can imagine, plus it gets really sticky and messy, so there was quite a bit of oil and extra tapioca flour on the side to prevent the dough from clinging on to my tabletop and hands too much. It took me about three hours from start to when we devoured the dumplings, but I had fun in what my hubby refers to as my ‘cave-time’ – julienning, cooking, cooling, kneading and forming these dumplings.
Ironically, you can just pop out to a shop in Singapore to buy these for no more than S$0.70 per piece…I definitely spent way too much, and took way too long to make ’em. But it was worth it.
The recipe below makes 28 mid-size dumplings. Good thing about soon kueh is that you can eat them slightly cooled. (In fact, I prefer it that way) Serve with a generous drizzle of sticky sweet caramel soy sauce and Lingam’s chilli sauce, garnished with crispy fried shallots. Oh…yum.
I do not normally post recipes, but since this wasn’t taken from a website or book, I thought I’d post it…Credit for this recipe goes to my friend, Sue Koh – Susie, you’re amazing and I miss you!
Ingredients for filling:
1 turnip – shredded
15 dried shrimps
1-2tsp of light soya sauce
dash of pepper
(**I added some diced chinese mushrooms to it as well)
Ingredients for the dough:
300g rice flour
30g tapioca flour
300ml cold water
300ml boiling water
1. Fry shallots till they are dark brown in colour.
2. Add the dried shrimps, white pepper and soya sauce to shallots.
3. Add turnip and some chicken stock. Final filling should look slightly moist in texture and light brown in colour. Set aside.
4. Mix both flour together in a big glass bowl
5. Add cold water & mix till smooth paste/liquid is formed.
6. Heat up 300ml water till it comes to a boil. Pour the dough into the boiling water, stirring at the same time. When dough is almost done, remove from heat.
7. Grease the palm of your hands and knead dough for about 10 to 15 mins until the dough is smooth.
8. To form the wrapper, pinch some dough about the size of a ping pong ball. Sprinkle some tapioca starch on your hand (prevents sticking). Roll the ball into a flat disc.
9. Spoon some filling onto the wrapper and seal the edges
10. Steam Soon Kuehs for 10 mins.
11. Brush some garlic oil over kuehs – prevents sticking.