Corner Café

March 29, 2010

Wah Kueh / Hokkien Ricebowl Pudding 碗粿

Filed under: Dim Sum,Kuih-Muih — SeaDragon @ 12:00 am
Tags: , ,


Recently, in an episode of Poh’s Kitchen, she served a plate of Chwee Kueh made by her mother to her guest chef. Anyway, I think they were Chwee kueh (水粿, or its Cantonese equivalent 碗仔糕) as they were turned out from the moulds and the topping scattered on top. I still can’t tell the differences between Chwee Kueh and Wah Kueh.
I grew up eating only Wah Kueh, so I’m not too familiar with Chwee Kueh. As far as I can tell, they are both very similar. Chwee Kueh is from Teochew, Wah Kueh is from Hokkien. So I did a little research, I think the differences are that Chwee Kueh is usually topped with chai poh only after the rice pudding is steamed, while Wah Kueh has more topping ingredients other than chai poh and the topping is steamed together with the rice pudding.
After watching that episode, I wanted to make some as I haven’t tasted Wah Kueh for years. After consulting a few recipes, I made this haphazard version of mine. From my research, I found that the standard proportion for the rice pudding is roughly 1 part flour to 4 parts water by weight. From memory, the rice pudding itself is very plain, so to make it more palatable, I added fried shallots and dried shrimps to it with a little seasoning of salt and sugar. The puddings turned out quite well and happily they cured my hankering for this hawker snack of my childhood.


Oh, a mention about the preserved daikon (chai poh), nowadays the Asian supermarkets here sell the full-piece version, I bought it to make these Wah Kueh and they were far superior than the already-chopped ones!

Makes 12 small bowls

Rice Pudding:
200g rice flour
50g tapioca starch
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1050ml water

30g dried shrimps, soaked & drained
3-4 Asian shallots, peeled & sliced
40g lard
40ml corn oil

100g minced pork, marinated with 1 tsp light soy sauce, 1/2 tsp sugar & dash of ground white pepper
100g preserved daikon (chai poh 菜脯, the salty type*)
10g dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked until softened
125ml (1/2 cup) water

Seasoning (adjust to taste):
1-2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

* If you use the sweet type of chai poh, you need to adjust the seasoning.
1. You need 12 small bowls, about 150ml-capacity each. These small bowls are about half the size of a normal Chinese rice bowls. If you only have normal rice bowls, then you only need 6 of them.
2. Marinate the minced pork for about half an hour. Chop the preserved daikon. Chop the softened mushrooms.
3. In a hot wok, melt the lard with the corn oil. Add sliced shallots and fry until golden brown over moderate heat. Remove the fried shallots and set aside; leave the oil in the wok. Add drained soaked dried shrimps to the oil, fry briefly until aromatic; remove and set aside.
4. Add the marinated minced pork to the remaining oil in the wok, stir-fry until colour changes. Add chopped preserved daikon and chopped mushrooms. Add about 1/2 cup water and seasoning (it would be advisable to season sparingly at this stage). Cover and simmer over low heat for about 8-10 minutes. Adjust seasoning if necessary, then dish up the topping and sauce to separate bowls.
5. Start heating water to boiling point in a steamer for steaming.
6. For the rice pudding, mix together rice flour, tapioca starch, salt and sugar. Gradually stir in water until you get a smooth paste. Add remaining water, stirring to make a very thin paste. Pour this rice mixture, together with the reserved fried shallots and fried shrimps, into a saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring all the time until it just thickens. This should take about 3 minutes of cooking time. Remove from heat immediately.

I slightly over-cooked mine, I should have removed the rice mixture from heat a few seconds before this.

7. Ladle the rice mixture into the small bowls to about 3/4 full, or just slightly more. Smooth the surface (pic #1) and spoon some topping over the rice mixture (pic #2). Steam over high heat for 30 minutes (pic #3).


8. Serve hot with the sauce from the topping, or some chilli sauce and garnish with coriander leaves if desired.

Taste: Soft rice pudding with delicious savoury topping
Consume: Best serve hot
Storage: May be stored under cover in the refrigerator for a couple of days; re-steam until hot before serving
Recipe Reference(s): From a few sources, including ‘Wah Kuih’ by Gina of Kitchen Capers forum


  1. I have never tried this. Looks delicious. Would love to try. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by MaryMoh — March 29, 2010 @ 6:49 am | Reply

  2. in SG’s context, chwee kuih is with chai-po topping; whereas wah-kuih is with other toppings, like minced meat, dried shrimps and spring onion,sometimes mixed into the batter and steamed. also there’s a dark sauce that goes with the wah-kuih. size-wise, wah-kuih is much bigger too!

    thanks for sharing the recipe. will try it out when i feel adventureous enough. 🙂

    Comment by Ida — March 29, 2010 @ 11:05 am | Reply

    • Ida,
      Thanks for the info. So the sizes are different too, didn’t even think of that, I think my Wah Kuih were the size of Chwee Kuih 🙂

      Comment by SeaDragon — April 3, 2010 @ 7:34 am | Reply

  3. SD…hello…our family does these slightly differently…more Taiwanese style…for the filling, we use chopped/ground pork, chopped shrimps, soaked dried mushrooms and fried shallots — stir-fried and seasoned. We also top these bowls (before they are completely solidified) with beaten eggs diluted with a little water and more fried shallots…yummy!

    Comment by San — March 30, 2010 @ 9:22 am | Reply

    • San,
      Oh yes, I did come across the Taiwanese-style Wah Kuih with eggs on the net, will try that next time too. I also got an old Taiwanese cookbook but the recipe in there did not include egg, so I assume the egg thing is a recent addition…

      Comment by SeaDragon — April 3, 2010 @ 7:40 am | Reply

  4. I’ve ate the wah kuih when at taipei, and its alittle different from chwee kuih, chwee kuih’s batter has more water content the texture is softer compare to wah kuih which is more compact. Yours look ok but maybe needs alittle more water.


    Comment by Jennifer — March 31, 2010 @ 4:37 pm | Reply

    • Jennifer,
      Thanks for the info too 🙂 Will take note of the softer texture for Chwee Kuih next time when I make them.

      Comment by SeaDragon — April 3, 2010 @ 7:47 am | Reply

  5. Thanks for sharing the recipe! I’ve got everything right except the rice pudding..Mine turned out slimey (not firm enough, hence not cut-able) =( I’m wondering if i’ve put too much water when stirring the rice flour to make the thin paste or is it because i removed the rice mixture from the saucepan too quick? Can’t figure out which one…

    Comment by Alice — September 12, 2010 @ 11:37 pm | Reply

    • You must cook the paste until it thickens like what I showed in the picture. If you want, you may reduce the water for a firmer texture. I’m only sharing recipe with the texture that I like personally, other people may not like the softer texture so you need to adjust to your preference.

      Comment by SeaDragon — September 15, 2010 @ 7:49 pm | Reply

  6. Hi SD
    This reminds me of ‘yew chang kueh’ in my ver young school days I Sibu. I will make the chai poh version soon.


    Comment by Betty — March 15, 2014 @ 5:16 pm | Reply

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