Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hakka Dough Dumplings 客家粄粽

Just made these yesterday. This is not a back post :)

Yes, it's almost that time of the Lunar Year again, Duan Wu Festival or Dragon Boat Festival, the day that the Chinese remembers the loyal scholar who commited suicide. The actual day is next Wednesday, 16th June 2010. But I'm making this early for your reference :) I always do my dumplings one or 2 weeks earlier, just for the sake of eating.

Actually I’ve never eaten this, nor have I seen this in real life. I only got to know the existence of this type of Zongzi when I was searching the internet for the real Cantonese Zongzi last year. Malaysia’s Chinese food is already so, so fusioned, that one no longer can distinct between each other, except for certain dishes.

This year Kristy made some sweet hakka dough dumplings.
And I have already planned to make these since last year.

What makes Hakka dough dumplings (客家粄粽) different??. Wait before that, let me tell you there is another type of Hakka Dumpling that is shaped like a pillow... that is a rice dumpling and it is not the same as this dough dumpling.

The difference of savoury hakka dough dumplings is that it uses glutinous rice flour instead of glutinous rice.
Uses minced meat instead of meat pieces.
Uses preserved radish instead of beans.
Fillings are pre cooked and not used raw
Other than these, the mushroom is there, the 5 spice is there. No chestnuts and no salted egg yolks.

And one mistake I did, I thought since this is steamed and not boiled, soI didn’t bother about the small cracks in some of the wrapping. And I also wrapped them quite tight, tried hard to eliminate empty spaces in the wrapping. It is ok, to just form a round ball, with a slightly pointed end and fold the top wrapping loosely over, no need to be too tight cos the dumpling will expand a bit during steaming. Hahaha, the dough seeped out from the cracks during steaming, like Incredible Hulk getting green, cos there was no where to go, except through the wrapping, and caused dumplings that didn't have cracks in the beginning to tear after steaming.

Anyway, it goes into the tummy…..

Here goes the recipe

Hakka Dough Dumpling Recipe

5 shitake mushrooms, soaked and chopped, it will come to about ½ cup
200gm minced meat or 1 cup
½ cup or 70gm chopped preserved radish (Choy poh, I used the sweet type, just rinse and chop, if salty type please soak for 30 minutes, squeeze out water before use)
5 shallots, sliced or chopped
10gm (1 heaped Tbsp) dried shrimps, soaked for 30 minutes and finely chopped
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt (you may need less if using salted preserved radish)
½ tsp 5 spice powder
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 cup water +1 tsp cornstarch

1. Heat wok and put in 3 tbsp oil. Put in shallots and fry until golden, drain and dish up.
2. Put in chopped dried shrimps and fry until fragrant, then put in minced meat and fry until dry and fragrant, put in preserved radish and fry until fragrant. Put in seasonings and cornstarch mixture. Cook until the water is absorbed by the fillings. Mix in fried shallots.
3. Dish up and let it cool down. Divide into 16 and freeze filling to harden slightly.
4. Meanwhile prepare the dough

550gm (5 cups) glutinous rice flour
190gm rice flour(1 + 2/3 cups) (If you prefer a less sticky texture, you can substitute some of the glutinous rice flour with rice flour)
2 Tbsp cooking oil
300ml water + 1tsp salt + 1 Tbsp sugar
300ml water (room temp)

1. Mix both flours and make a well in the centre. Put in 2 Tbsp cooking oil
2. Put salt, sugar and 300ml water in a saucepan, bring to a boil.
3. Pour half of (2) into (1) and mix with spoon, bringing in flour slowly into the center. Pour more of (2) and combine. Add the room temp water slowly and knead the flour into a dough. You may not need all the water. Knead dough until smooth. Divide dough into 16 pieces, about 80gm each.

16 pieces of bamboo leaves or more, washed and trimmed
Hemp strings or cotton strings
Some cooking oil for coating the dumplings

*click on pic to have a larger view on how to form the cone. This is one of the crucial steps in wrapping. Once I did this in Pudu Girls School, and my students took 2 hours just to learn the wrapping method, and they found the cone forming step is the most difficult of all, besides getting the four corners as pointy corners.
The rest of the wrapping method is in my Bak Zhang Recipe

1. Take one piece of dough roll it round.
2. Lightly flatten it, and make the sides flatter than the center.
3. Place one piece of filling in the center and wrap up the dumpling. Gently rolling it in your hands to seal up. Repeat until all fillings are wrapped up. (I managed to wrap all the fillings with dough in less than 10 minutes, simply due the fillings are hard and clumped together because they are half frozen)
4. Coat each dumpling with cooking oil. Shape each dumpling to look like a green pear, slightly conish.
5. Form a cone with bamboo leaf and place one piece of dumpling(pointy side down) into the cone. Lightly press and fold the rest of the bamboo leaves to form a “pyramid”.
6. Tie with a piece of hemp/cotton string.
7. Steam on high heat for 30 minutes.

So, how did this hakka dough dumpling taste like.... Chewy and the filling taste good. Much chewier than kuih koci, if you want to know the comparison. A fresh change from the usual.

If you prefer a less sticky texture, go with half glutinous rice flour and half rice flour.
If you like it softer, you can use less boiling water and increase the room temperature water. The boiling water here partially cooks the dough, and makes it sticky. When the dough is partially sticky, it needs less water to form a dough and the dumpling will have a firmer and chewier(ngann) texture. But you cannot simply increase the water, you must decrease the boiling water and increase cold water, remember.

My neighbours liked them a lot, and hahaha, indeed this dumpling was a stranger that no one knew before this. But now, at least now, my family knows that this thing exist :)

Recipe adapted from these places:

Oh yes, I'll be making more Zongzi this weekend, Both Cantonese and Hokkien varieties.
Not making any Gan Sui Joong.....

Video on how to wrap (updated 6/6/13)

Zongzi (粽子)


  1. WOW! It's time to eat rice dumplings now! I think I'll like Hak Ka dumplings because there are all my favorite ingredients. Thank you so much for the recipe and the making process. Although I still have no passion to make dumplings but may be one day your recipe is useful for me. I'll keep it till my passion come. Thanks a lot! Your dumplings look very very good!

  2. ooohh, they look so good. I love eating zhongzi. I actually just ate one at dim sum today. I can't for your other zhongzi posts, I really want to learn how to make it and I'm the type of person who likes looking at recipes rather than learning by watching and not knowing the exact measurements. I also like zhongzi with red bean. :) Thanks for this post.

  3. Wow, beautiful dumplings!!! Envy.....

  4. WOW...amazingly beautiful dough dumplings, wasn't aware there was a difference between rice and dough dumpling till now, I learnt something new today. :)

  5. waaa so shiny and slippery looking hhhahhha....drooling drooling

  6. I didn't know this is considered as Hakka version zhong cause my FIL is orignated from China and the Hakka zhong he used to make is just flavoured rice, red beans and a piece of meat. Frankly, it tasted really really good eventhough just a few items. You know what, my FIL's mom was a nun/sister (nun & sister is it the same?)! Beautiful love story indeed! You see, Love is blind after all! hehe....
    Hope you're having a wonderful day!
    Cheers, Kristy

  7. Oh! I had never tried dumpling made from glutinous rice flour before. Look yummy.

    You really have a good patient. I must give you a big claps. I'm tooooo lazy to lay my hand on this again. (Used to help my mum when I was young.) I can't imagine going though the whole process again washing the leaves, preparing the ingredients, wrapping (I love this part the most.) and cooking.

  8. Kitchen Corner,
    Hahaha, many prefer to buy than to make nowadays.
    It's a lot of work, but a lot cheaper.

  9. Esther,
    Yeah, when the older generation makes them, they don't have any exact measurement, and this makes it hard to learn.

  10. Honey Boy,
    No need to envy. :)
    Try to make some

  11. HK Choo,
    The culinary world is a never ending school.

    I only learnt about this last year.

  12. Manglish,
    Hahaha, shiny and slippery due to the oil.
    But if not enough oil, then the dumpling will stick to the wrappings

  13. Kristy,
    Errr... sister is used for Catholic nuns. I don't think buddhist nuns are called sisters :)

    Oh, so your hubby's grandma is a nun. Haha, your FIL's dad must have done a lot to move her heart. Must be a real casanova.

  14. Happy Flour,
    Oh... if you have the knowledge of doing this, please pass it on.
    It's an almost dying skill. Of the 40 students in my cooking club back in school, non have seen the process and non knew how to do it before hand. And even the teachers didn't know how to do it and was peeping through the window looking at my students learning how to wrap.

  15. So white and smooth! I don't think I'll attempt to make any rice dumplings, at least not in the near future since both mom and MIL make them yearly. Hope to learn how to make them one day.

  16. taught this in school? Surely they'll be curious many have actually seen it being made? I haven't even made one myself although I've seen my mum n dad wrapping in the kitchen while I take care of my youngest brother. But i've never seen nor heard of this type of zongzi before...1st time...very interesting indeed.

  17. I keep smelling steaming dumplings wafting around the neighbourhood these couple of days... I have never made dumplings...and would be keen to try... very timely post! By the way, I love Nonya Zhang...

  18. I never see or eaten this kind of Hakka dumplings. Very interesting. Is like kueh koci with savory fillings in it :)

  19. Blessed Homemaker,
    Learn the wrapping skill, that's the most important thing. I don't have a sifu to teach me, ahaha, and I can only do 1 or 2 leaves, and I can't patch really well.

  20. Mel,
    Not this hakka dumpling la. I taught the students how to wrap dumplings and yes, we did the gan sui joong in school just before I left.
    Mrs Yong was very happy that I taught the students this. The principle and Pn Pushpa was also very happy.

  21. Shirley,
    Nyonya chang will be next year. One year one new chang. And that's after I plant my own blue pea flowers in my new garden. Hmmm.. after nyonya, what else should I do, maybe Hong Kong style, with scallops and lots of goodies.

  22. ICook4Fun,
    Yes, this type of dumpling is not a familiar sight in Malaysia.
    Maybe kuih koci is a local rip off from the traditional delicacy. I do believe that this dumpling has been around much longer than kuih koci.

  23. Wendy, I nvr eat or dun think see this hakka dumpling b4, looking at the pix alreadi know must b yummy. As I am such a lazy person dun think I wil attempt dumpling making soon. Wish I can b ur neighbour to try ur dumpling *envy*

  24. I have never eaten this type of dumpling, using flour. The ones I have tasted were made of glutinous rice. Looks interesting and delicious.

  25. These look gorgeous! I must try this filling, very different from what I know.

  26. Jess,
    Hahaha, the amount of work involved in making dumplings can be scary :)
    But this version is a lot simpler than Bak Chang.

  27. Judy,
    Yes, in Malaysia this is really an almost unseen sight.

  28. Angie,
    Ok, hope to see the "dumpling" soon.

  29. Wai...feel like wanna become your neighbour la...can learn even more than here! :)
    Oooooh...and i love nyonya chang! My mum haven't been making them since a few years ago. She says too much work. The filling is like this hakka chang--all minced, I've gota tell her how you do it---freeze them before wrapping...such a good idea!

  30. I've never had zhong made with rice flour before! Looks really good!

  31. This is the 1st time I came across this dumpling. I only know how to make the Hokkien Bak Chang but this one seems to be interested to try. Is this similar to the white colour kuih with sengkuang filling that sold at the stall?

  32. Mel,
    Yaya, nyonya chang also minced up, plus wintermelon and plus plus plus other stuff.
    Next year, I'll do that next year.

    Freezing them really makes it really easy, I can take the the clump of filling in my hang w/o worrying that it'll fall apart. I also freeze my cha siew to make cha siew pao, really fast and easy.

  33. Pigspigscorner,
    Hehe, I'm not surprised. This is my first time making and eating one.

  34. Suesue,
    There are 2 types of kuih with sengkuang filling, one is what KLites call "chai Kuih" and another type is "Radish dumpling, loh bak ban" and this one is in my blog too.

    I'm not sure which one you are refering to, as chai kuih is made with wheat starch and loh bak ban is made with glutinous rice flour plus flour, but the latter is not commonly found and I'm not sure you've eaten loh bak ban that I can use that to compare.

    Kuih koci then I'm sure u've eaten, and it's much chewier than that.

    If you really want to try this, I suggest you reduce the boiling water to maybe 1 cup, and add room temp water until you get a pliable dough because I find this too chewy (cos too little water, but cannot too much water also), really needs a lot of dental strength and my husband says, must be careful when chewing and swallowing, can easily "kang sei".

  35. Thanks for sharing this Hakka dumpling, new to me and it look so delicious, I especially like the filling.

  36. Wendy, I am referring to the loh bak ban. I think I wan to try out this weekend and half the recipe. Do half the portion first and try out, if not overly I have to eat all myself. Hehehe

  37. sifu! Happy dumpling festival to you first before i forget. I am Hakka but this is first time i see Hakka dumpling la...

    next wednesday is dumpling festival right, dont might post some to me hahahha :P

  38. SueSue,
    Oh great. Please let me know the outcome.
    If you family loves kuih made from glutinous rice, usually this will be ok.

  39. CHVoon,
    Haha, now you know lor. My blogger friend's husband is from Srwk, and he's Hakka, and her FIL taught her to make this type of dumpling but she didn't know that it's Hakka in origin.

    It's more popular in Taiwan, I think, but not here.

  40. er... her hubby from Srwk too ke? FIL taught her one... so good! why i dont know one :(

  41. hey! i was wondering if i could just use normal rice instead of glutinous rice?

  42. Anonymous,
    Nope. You can't use regular rice flour. It needs the stickiness from glutinous rice flour.
    Not rice, but glutinous rice FLOUR.

  43. Hi, I was looking for the chinese spelling of Lo Pet Ban ~ Hakka radish dumplings (my mum makes those) and found your post. My Vietnamese Sis-In-Law made these for CNY as she couldn't make square Banh Chung (Vietnamese square rice dumplings) as her kitchen was being renovated. She used rice flour for savoury ones with ground pork and wood ear mushrooms as filling. Sweet ones where made with glutinous rice flour and had mung bean and coconut filling.

  44. Plum Leaf,
    There is another radish dumpling in this blog.
    You can find it in the list of kuihs.

  45. Thanks, I saw the radish dumplings but not the same as my mum's. I'm sure the jicama is nice and crunchy.

  46. Plum leaf,
    Yeah, I guess mine is a rip off version from a recipe book
    I have no idea how the real thing is like.

  47. Can i order dumplings from you?

  48. You are so amazinggg.. Nuff said! :)

  49. Iris,
    Sorry, not taking orders.


  50. Hi Wendy

    I tried your Hakka Dough Dumpling Recipe and I would like to comment that it was very good recipe.

    The fillings were very tasty and the dough has excellent texture. The dough stayed soft even on the following. If not for the fillings which I feared might turn rancid in room temp, I would have had left the dumplings on the table without refrigeration for more days.

    Thank you for sharing this unique recipe.

    Priscilla Poh

  51. Priscilla Poh,
    thanks for the feedback and glad you enjoyed them

  52. Oh Wendy, I forgot to ask you in my earlier post that since the dumplings were good and stayed soft even right up to the following evening without reheating, I like to know if I can use the same dough recipe for making Ang Ku kuehs?

    Priscilla Poh

  53. Priscilla,
    Angku is made with sweet potato in the skin :)
    This one doesn't.


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