Corner Café

December 29, 2010

Bangkwang Kueh

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


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

Rice Pastry:
300ml water
40ml canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
125ml water
10g (1 tablespoon) rice flour
2.5g (1 teaspoon) tapioca starch
220g rice flour
55g tapioca starch

Jicama Filling:
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

To serve:
shallot-garlic oil
chilli sauce

Jicama Filling:
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.


Rice Pastry:
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


  1. Oooh…I love these dumplings. Must be a long time I have not eaten them. I wish I can find bangkwang here. I don’t mind the cracks. They look very delicious. Thanks very much for sharing.

    Comment by MaryMoh — December 29, 2010 @ 2:01 pm | Reply

  2. wow… yummy!! They look exactly like my mum’s soon kueh, especially the cracked ones ^^

    Comment by Ms Moon — December 31, 2010 @ 4:10 pm | Reply

    • LOL, maybe her recipe is quite similar to mine…

      Comment by SeaDragon — January 2, 2011 @ 3:45 pm | Reply

  3. Hi,

    Did your kueh crack before they were steamed or after? If it’s before steaming, then you might want to rest your dough for a while before wrapping. If it cracks during steaming then maybe you can try sprinkle some water on top of the kueh before steaming…

    I made my soon kueh several times and they never crack except when I accidentally rolled the dough way too thin and the filling poke out during steaming. My recipe is different from yours though. Check it out:

    Hope it helps…

    – Regina Chennault

    Comment by reginachennault — January 1, 2011 @ 5:29 pm | Reply

    • Hi Regina,
      Thanks for the helpful tips. My dumplings cracked before steaming.
      I see that you added the oil last, maybe I should try that next time instead of adding it right at the beginning together with the water.

      Comment by SeaDragon — January 2, 2011 @ 4:12 pm | Reply

  4. Hi SD,
    This is no easy feat. I’ve tried several times to make this kuih but always not successful. According to old folks, they use 1 pkt of rice flour, a handful of tapioca starch, water and oil mostly based on estimation. When they knead it’s using tapioca starch. Oil is added last btw. I think it’s successful if when cooled, the kuih will not harden.

    Comment by delia — January 12, 2011 @ 10:02 am | Reply

    • LOL, this kueh is certainly not easy to make, looks simple but very deceptive. Thanks for the tip about adding oil last, I think that’s one of the key step…

      Comment by SeaDragon — January 13, 2011 @ 5:17 pm | Reply

  5. SD,
    Mine cracked too but your tip about adding a little oil does help. Crack or not, your recipe turns out really yummy. Actually your recipe yield kueh that is more like the authentic ones sold at hawkers’ centres in Singapore. I have tried other recipes but they are more like dim sum dumplings as they look too transparent.

    Thanks again SD.

    Comment by sassy — January 19, 2011 @ 10:55 am | Reply

  6. Dear Sea Dragon,
    I have been making png kueh (the pink looking one) the skin is generally the same. One of the reason why its crack is due to insuffucuent tapioca flour and water. Try increasing them in your next try. Good luck

    Comment by Nancy — February 12, 2011 @ 11:27 am | Reply

    • Thanks, Nancy, for the great tips. I will try that next time. Cheers 🙂

      Comment by SeaDragon — February 12, 2011 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

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