Bangkwang is a root vegetable that is not readily available here. Therefore it is always a delight to find it in the Asian grocery shops occasionally. The sweet, crunchy flesh of the white root is refreshing and delicious and so good as filling in spring rolls and dumplings.
Bangkwang, also known as Yambean or Jicama.
These rice pastry dumplings are something that I’ve always wanted to learn to make, but something I’ve never actually attempted before. Nowadays the crystal pastry seems to be more popular as the pastry for these vegetable dumplings for their translucent appearance, but the more traditional rice pastry is just as good in taste.
Originally known as Soon Kueh, or Bamboo Dumplings, from Southern China, these vegetable dumplings were adapted into Malaysian and Singaporean cuisines by using bangkwang instead of bamboo shoots as filling. Although colloquially still called Soon Kueh in these parts of the world, most recipes do not contain bamboo shoots in the filling any more. So to avoid any confusion, I’m posting this recipe as Bangkwang Kueh, and not Soon Kueh for obvious reason.
After doing some research, I decided to basically adapt a recipe from Malaysian food author, Agnes Chang, with a little tweak from another recipe by Mrs Leong Yee Soo where more rice flour is used, instead of the half and half of rice flour and tapioca starch used in Agnes Chang’s recipe.
Everything went well until I was rolling out the pastry for wrapping, I found the pastry cracked very easily and had a hard time wrapping the filling (any tips or hints to prevent this would be appreciated). I finally found that by kneading the pastry just before rolling out helped a little, but care and light handling is the key (with a lot more practice), and using wet hand! I wonder if adding more water to the pastry will help, but I’ll have to leave that until next time to find out.
Some of my failed dumplings with cracked pastry!
Makes approx. 16 dumplings
40ml canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
10g (1 tablespoon) rice flour
2.5g (1 teaspoon) tapioca starch
220g rice flour
55g tapioca starch
600g bangkwang (jicama), to get about 500g grated
30g dried prawns, soaked
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon chicken stock powder (I used Knorr brand)
dash of ground white pepper
Peel and grate the bangkwang. Soak the dried prawns for at least half an hour, drain. Heat oil in a wok, add chopped garlic and sauté briefly, add soaked prawns and stir-fry until fragrant. Add grated bangkwang and all the seasoning; please adjust the seasoning to suit your taste. Stir-fry for about 5 minutes to get rid of any excess moisture. Let cool before using. Makes about 450g filling.
1. Bring (A) to a boil. Mix (B) together. When (A) is at a rapid boil, pour in (B) and stir, bring back to a boil. Turn off heat. Add (C) all at once and stir quickly to mix with a pair of chopsticks.
2. Cool slightly until you can handle the heat and knead the rice dough into a dough. Add (D) and continue kneading until the dough is smooth. Cover the dough with cling film as you work.
3. Pinch off dough into about 40g each. Dust bench with a little tapioca starch. Take a piece of dough and knead lightly, round into ball and roll out to about 10cm circle. Add 1 tablespoon filling into the middle and fold the pastry over into half-moon shape, pinch adges to seal. Place on oil-greased plate, cover with cling film to prevent the pastry drying out as you work.
4. Steam over rapidly boiling water for about 15 minutes. Brush the surface of dumplings with shallot-garlic oil and serve hot with chilli sauce. Extra dumplings not consumed may be kept in the refrigerator and re-steamed or shallow-fried before serving.
Taste: Soft and slightly bouncy rice pastry with crunchy jicama filling
Consume: Best serve hot
Storage: May be kept in airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of days; shallow-fry in a little oil until crispy before serving
Recipe Reference(s): Rice pastry recipe from 客家韭菜粄 by 藍賽珍