Corner Café

April 12, 2008

Yee Puah / Hainanese Leaf-Held Dumplings 燕粑

Filed under: Kuih-Muih — SeaDragon @ 4:25 pm
Tags: , ,
Yee-Puah 07

Yee-Puah 06

These are Hainanese sticky rice dumplings made inside leaf bowls. It is known as ‘Yee Puah’ in Hainanese, and written variously as 燕粑, 薏粑, 憶粑, or 鴨粑. In Teochew dialect or Hokkien dialect, it is known as 海南燕粿.
This recipe was a trial, it still needs improvement at a later date. As you can see, most of the dumplings (leaf bowls) were crooked after steaming – I only secured near the top of the bowl, next time need to secure both the top and bottom of the bowl, as the bottom flared out during steaming. The red dot on top of each dumpling also bled after steaming (need to find a solution to prevent the bleeding).

Makes approx. 10 pieces

10 pieces (2 1/2-inch x 6 1/4-inch) banana leaves

115g glutinous rice flour
25g tapioca flour
extra glutinous rice flour, about 20g
110ml water
20g caster sugar
10ml canola oil

50g freshly grated coconut, or frozen grated coconut
25g palm sugar (gula melaka), grated or chopped
1/8 teaspoon salt
25g Ground Peanut Filling
To make banana leaf bowls:
I’m not sure if this is the correct way to make the bowl, if anyone has a better way, will appreciate if you can let me know.
Cut banana leaf into ten 2 1/2-inch x 6 1/4-inch pieces. Fold in half lengthwise so it is 1 1/4 inch x 6 1/4 inch each half. Sit it so it is like an ‘L’ from the side view. Mark the bottom half out into 5 squares of 1 1/4 inch x 1 1/4 inch and cut it to the bend in the leaf. Then turn the leaf around in a circle into a bowl shape by overlapping the two ends of the uncut half, the bottom of the bowl will have the 5 layers from the cut half. Secure with toothpicks.

1. Mix glutinous rice flour and tapioca flour, add water to form a stiff dough.
2. Take 50g of the dough and divide into 5 portions. Roll each into a ball then press between your fingers to flatten. Drop into boiling water and cook until they float to the surface. Remove from water, drain and return to the uncooked dough.
3. Add sugar and knead the cooked and uncooked dough together until smooth. Knead in oil. At this stage the dough will be soft and sticky. To make it easier to work with, add more glutinous rice flour (I added extra 20g or so) and knead in until the dough is not sticky and pliable to work with.
4. Divide the dough into 10 portions, about 30g each. Roll each portion into a ball then flatten. Place about 1 teaspoon of filling in the centre and seal up. Place each dumpling into the banana-leaf bowl.
Yee-Puah 05
5. Steam over high heat for about 20 minutes.

1. Mix grated coconut, grated palm sugar and salt together, then steam for 10 minutes over high heat.
2. Mix the steamed coconut with ground peanut filling. Set aside.

Texture: Pastry is chewy like Muah Chee but with banana leaf aroma
Consume: Best serve hot or warm, or within 24 hours (re-steam to soften if necessary)
Storage: Covered at room temperature
Recipe References: ‘海南糕鴨粑’ by 陳孟齡, ‘燕粿’ recipe at Xocat II Forum, ‘椰絲燕粿’ by 曾大平 from the Chinese cookbook ‘民間小吃製作圖解’, & a hand-copied recipe, ‘Coconut Snow Balls 椰蓉糯米糍’ (author unknown)


  1. i will be happy if there is repice in chinese

    Comment by a — May 3, 2008 @ 12:47 am | Reply

  2. seadragon

    perhaps stamp the red dot after steaming

    Comment by lily ng — May 6, 2008 @ 7:36 am | Reply

  3. Lily,
    I’ll try that next time, thanks.

    Comment by SeaDragon — May 7, 2008 @ 9:55 pm | Reply

  4. Hi there

    Thank you soooo mooocuh for the lovely recipe for Yee Puah.. I was sourcing for a long time high and low and finally today stumble upon your website and…wah…

    I’m a Hainanese and loved this kuih and hopefully will turn out good.

    I’m living in oversea and somtimes trying to get home made cookies, kuihs it pretty hard..

    Once again thank you..


    Comment by Pnut — November 30, 2009 @ 8:29 am | Reply

  5. I am a Hainanese myself but don’t know how to make any Hainanese food except Hainanese Chicken Rice and Hainanese Chicken Chop. Do you know any websites I can visit to learn more about Hainanese cooking? Thanks.

    Comment by Caroline Poh — November 25, 2010 @ 6:33 pm | Reply

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