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Hakka Xi Ban 客家喜粄 - Kuih Week #1

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Recipe tried out in October 2010

My first encounter making xiban wasn't as good as I hoped, the colour's off and maybe my kungfu is not enough to make it stay soft for long. But this recipe is a totally different story. This is DELICIOUS, but that is if you like chewy chewy things.

As always long fermentation always wins compared to short time fermented rice cakes. It's nice and chewy, soft even to the next day. The previous recipe was crumbly in less than 12 hours but not this one. Stays delicious even for up to 36 hours without reheating (no idea after that as it was already finished)

I'm submitting this to
hosted by SSB of Small Small Baker

Hakka Xi Ban
Recipe source: Aunty Yochana

(A)Sponge dough
1 tsp yeast
200gm flour
150gm water

100gm flour
150gm glutinous flour
125gm water
125gm sugar
Few drops of pink colouring

Some corn oil for rubbing hands

(1) Mix all the ingredients for sponge dough, cover and keep overnight. (I did this before I went to sleep, proofing time about 9 hours)
(2) Mix all the ingredients (A) and (B) together into a soft dough and proof for another 4 hours.
(3) Divide soft dough into 50 gm. each (rub palm with cornoil) and place on top of a greased banana leaf. Leave to proof for another 15 mins.
(4) Steam over moderate heat for 15 mins.
(5) Remove from steamer and leave to cool.

Torn to reveal fluffiness
Bitten to reveal chewiness

60 lovely notes:

Rose October 19, 2011 at 11:20 AM  

I love eating this when I was kid..... Yummy

Mel October 19, 2011 at 11:32 AM  

I thought it has some filling inside. Just eat plain?

rahel October 19, 2011 at 11:39 AM  

waa..cantiknye bun tu Wendy..

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more October 19, 2011 at 11:40 AM  

I never saw this in my hometown, but it's sold in other places, like Taiping. so my first encounter was when I made this.

The recipe shows it's plain woh. those that I bought is also plain

Amelia's De-ssert October 19, 2011 at 11:45 AM  

I loves this too, very nice and chewy. Yours looks good.

cherry potato October 19, 2011 at 11:50 AM  


wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more October 19, 2011 at 12:13 PM  

ini bukan pau, rasa nya lebih ke kuih


cherry potato,
Oh.. so it seems I'm the only one never seen this before, LOL.

Puan Ros,
Kalo suka bende bende pulut, sukalah nie

Belly Good Cooking October 19, 2011 at 12:15 PM  

My kids love these. Hubby too!! hehe.

CaThY October 19, 2011 at 12:24 PM  

Looks really good. I have never eaten a xi ban before in spore.. ;)

Vivian Pang October 19, 2011 at 1:11 PM  

Lovely light pink colour. I like the fluffy texture too. Do I keep the sponge dough at room temperature or fridge? Thanks!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more October 19, 2011 at 1:15 PM  

Belly Good,
This seems to be a really popular kuih :P

I've only eaten one when I made it, LOL. Try making it then.

Vivian Pang,
room temp. Once you bite in, it's chewy.. no longer fluffy

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) October 19, 2011 at 1:24 PM  

next time i also want to try sponge dough!

Blessed Homemaker October 19, 2011 at 1:42 PM  

I'm not Hakka but I love this too! I rem this recipe was very popular then, I've shortlisted but forgotten about it until I see it here. Going to get some banana leaves so I can make this.

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more October 19, 2011 at 1:52 PM  

please do, it's so much better.
I actually made this 2 weeks after I tried your recipe to make myself love this kuih.

Blessed Homemaker,
Oh was it? I didn't know. No need banana leaves, even muffin liners will do. Or greaseproof paper.

Chah October 19, 2011 at 2:08 PM  

Hi winner! Never taste dis b4, is it taste like apam?

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more October 19, 2011 at 2:12 PM  

nope. apam is soft.
this is... like.. hmm....gummy gummy la. Macam makan kuih apa? entah la camane nak describe.

Happy Flour October 19, 2011 at 2:19 PM  

I had come across few bloggers make this but I never try this out yet. How does it taste like? From your photo the texture seem like wan goh kueh.

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more October 19, 2011 at 2:44 PM  

then try making this :p

Happy flour,
gummy, chewy

Honey Bee Sweets October 19, 2011 at 3:04 PM  

You said it's gummy... Not like bao texture? Interesting. It's not common in Sg, but have seen it in Malaysia pretty often. Looking at your photos are making it worth a try! :)

yummylittlecooks October 19, 2011 at 3:40 PM  

Always buy this from pasar malam.

Elin October 19, 2011 at 3:51 PM  

WEndy...that looks good. I must try making this. Frankly speaking, I have never eaten one before. The only Hakka food that I have taken is the Hakka mee :p Strange isn't it for someone living in a multi culture country...shame on me..really :( I will make this since you say it is so nice and delicious !

lena October 19, 2011 at 4:16 PM  

i never tried proofing for so long for my kueh, i would like to try that for pandan flavour. is the yeasty taste ok?

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more October 19, 2011 at 5:06 PM  

Oh yes, totally not bao like texture.
I'm not surprised, I've never seen it before too, prior to blogging.

don't buy anymore, make ;p

since u dun like resteaming, then this recipe should be good for you. But can finish ah? LOL

no yeasty taste, ok woh, funny leh.
You try with pandan, I'm sure it taste fabulous!

ReeseKitchen October 19, 2011 at 5:06 PM  

I also tried once with pumpkin then added peanuts fillings...damn nice! Like the chewy texture...:)

ICook4Fun October 19, 2011 at 7:08 PM  

This is my niece fav kuih. I have to try making this one day. I like the smell of this kuih. Yeasty like the pak thong koh :)

Anonymous,  October 19, 2011 at 8:30 PM  


Huh so fast get on to share recipe... u are my hero ....


wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more October 19, 2011 at 9:13 PM  

that was last yr right?

Yeah... i love the smell too.

I have been talking too much on masterchef, should be back to core biz now. too many back logs

pc October 20, 2011 at 2:09 PM  

wow! my favourite! must bookmark this and try to do!!!

i just bought some from kl back to sg:). think it is better from there... must be those childhood memory trigger the biasness;p.

anyway, thanks for sharing^^.

Evelyn,  October 20, 2011 at 3:57 PM  

What flour do you use in sponge dough? You use room temperature or lukewarm water for (A) and (B)?

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more October 20, 2011 at 7:16 PM  

LOL, we always compare tastes to what we grew up with, I do that all the time!

If no specific flour is stated, it is always always plain flour.
If there is no specific temperature stated for water, it is always always room temp.

Quay Po Cooks October 20, 2011 at 11:11 PM  

I have eaten this before but did not know it is a Hakka kueh and the name is xi ban. Now I know:D

babe_kl October 26, 2011 at 8:23 PM  

This is my son's fave but now I'm limiting him on his snacks :p

Janice October 28, 2011 at 11:33 AM  

this is my favourite kuih. i like when there is pounded peanut filling. deliciouss

Libra November 4, 2011 at 6:45 AM  

If I want to use pumpkin instead of using colouring, how much pumpkin do I need to add? Do I need to reduce water amt? Is there a way to calculate the proportion of the ingredients used? My kids love to eat this, but everytime I have to wait for my friend to buy from jb. Now I can steam this at home!!!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more November 4, 2011 at 11:30 AM  

Quay Po,
Never to late to know :)

You can limit him within ur eyesite, once he goes to school you won't know :p

Oh, next time I want to try that.

Hmmm.... I never never done pumpkin version. It also depends on type of pumpkin used. The very green skin Japanese pumpkin has higher water content and the local brown skin type is lower water content. You can try to experiment by subtituting the water with pumpkin puree, maybe can try 100gm pumpkin puree 50gm water for the 2nd proofing. I'm just ASSUMING that it might work, that's how I always play with my recipes.

Libra November 4, 2011 at 4:37 PM  

Ok, i will give it a try.. but I got no luck with trial n error..lol..so I'm going to try the original recipe first to have a feel of the texture first..thank u!

Serene March 19, 2012 at 9:01 PM  

My parents love xi ban and always complaining about the difficulty of buying them! So glad I found this, I might be able to try this during the weekend.

But my parents are a bit health conscious. Is the sweetness just right? Is there any need to reduce the sugar? :D

Thanks for the sharing this recipe!

Serene March 19, 2012 at 9:07 PM  

Sorry for the double posting. I forgot to ask whether it's all right to proof more than 9 hours (for the first proofing)?

bu hao yi shi >.<

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more March 19, 2012 at 9:44 PM  

I am not sure, but another extra hour or 2 should be fine, as the proofing is really slow.
I just start the proofing just before I sleep and do it when I wake up. The original recipe just said overnight, and I did it in 9 hours.
The sweetness is mild. To describe.. at the degree like guava, about that.

Serene March 19, 2012 at 9:56 PM  

Thanks for the fast reply! **I just drool at your Crispy Tofu picture** XD Haha

Anonymous,  April 24, 2012 at 12:24 AM  

What flour to use ?

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more April 24, 2012 at 10:10 AM  

Anonymous (pls leave a name),
If no specific flour is stated, it is all purpose flour, or plain flour.

Jas May 8, 2012 at 10:08 PM  

Hi, Wendy can I know why mine kuih crack on top? Pls advise.


WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more May 9, 2012 at 12:30 AM  

I hope you didn't use high heat to steam.
Instructions said, moderate heat.

Simone,  August 3, 2012 at 8:40 PM  

Hi, thanks for the recipe! I tried this a few days ago, quite a success. i've put peanut fillings in some of them (ground peanut & sugar), very good! Gonna try them with yam paste n kaya fillings next week!!

Kenny September 14, 2012 at 8:20 AM  

I wonder if i steam half, can i keep the rest of the dough in the fridge and steam it the next day?

I can't eat it all at once and i want to save the work in making a second batch. Basically wondering if i put it in the fridge, will that halt the yeasting process?

I ask that as once i left pak tong ko to proof for too long and the yeast taste was overwhelming. :P

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more September 14, 2012 at 8:52 AM  

You can steam all in one go and chill whatever you want to keep, and reheat the next day.

Kenny September 15, 2012 at 8:15 AM  

Thanks Wendy. I just made these and they were fantastic. My mum loved them, she said they were better than the ones in the store. :)

Just one question, do you think the first proofing could be reduced by adding some of the sugar from dough 2 into dough 1 since yeast feeds on sugar? (I'm impatient) XD

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more September 18, 2012 at 1:26 AM  

It's the long proofing that gives it this fantastic texture.
If you were to speed it up, the xiban will turn dry and hard much faster.

Kenny September 23, 2012 at 5:48 AM  

Ok i've been eating this with my family for the past 2 weeks. We've experimented a little and tweaked it a little.

In the end we have ended up just mixing all the ingredients up at once (i am lazy) and using the kneader attachments of the electric mixer (gives much better results than my hand kneading).

We've tried putting taro filling in some times for variety.

I'm dying to get one of those wooden moulds to make it look prettier.

We have to make a batch each day as they never last very long.

Me & my family would like to thank you very much for this recipe. :)

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more September 23, 2012 at 3:23 PM  

U're welcomed and thanks to my source too, if not I too will not know that this recipe is so nice.
If u consume this rather quickly, it's ok to do a shorter fermentation.

Anonymous,  December 14, 2012 at 4:33 PM  

Hi, Ying here (couldn't enter my name in the Name/URL column). May I ask if we need to knead the dough until month and elastic, or until window pane stage like how we do with bread dough? And the dough increases until almost triple or quadruple in size during the four hour second proofing. Is that normal? @@ btw, yours look awesome :D thx for the recipe.

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more December 16, 2012 at 9:10 PM  

As long as u leave a name, it's ok. At least I know who am I replying, hehehe.
No kneading is needed at all. The gluten slowly develops from the overnight proofing.
Just mix to form a dough, that's all.

Charmaine April 10, 2013 at 8:41 PM  

Hi Wendy,

I'm interested to make this. Can i know roughly how many pieces I can get from one batch? Thanks ya :)

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more April 10, 2013 at 10:35 PM  

I don't remember exactly, but you can plus up all the weight, then divide by 50g each. It'll be around there.

rei chan April 14, 2013 at 11:38 AM  

hi wendy

just made this today and they tasted so yummy !!

and my whole family loves them !!

thanks for sharing

Mindy,  March 3, 2015 at 7:58 PM  

Will definitely try this out. Been away from Malaysia for forever and suddenly had the urge to eat this. Thanks. It's a life saver.

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