Friday, October 28, 2011

Soon Kueh (笋馃)

The last time I made Soon Kueh (it was my first attempt then), I used pre-mixed soon kueh flour.  While the filling was flavourful and soon kueh were nicely wrapped, my mum "failed" the dough skin.  Her verdict: skin texture and colour not there yet ....   There are pros and cons when your mum is a good cook.  Well ... you get to eat lots of home-made goodies.  But, when it's your turn to cook, you know just how hard it is to pass their test.  

While my mum makes lots of yummy steamed yam cake and glutinous rice (she used to sell these at a coffee shop and I was her part-time assistant), I do not recall her making any soon kueh (maybe once for own consumption).  So, I have no recipe to "observe" back home.  I needed a soon kueh dough skin recipe - one that will give a clear and slightly translucent colour, the skin must be soft and very importantly, it must not stick onto your teeth.

I google for soon kueh recipes and scribbled down the amount of flour, types of flour, amount of water, oil etc.  Most recipes have a combination of wheat starch (澄粉 or dim sum flour), tapioca flour and/or rice flour.  Some even have mashed yam in the dough skin (Hakka Soon Kueh).  To make the dough skin, you need to pour hot boiling water into the flour mixture, stir it quickly with a rice scoop or chopsticks, cover and let the dough rest for about 10 minutes before kneading it.  The proportion of flour to water is about 1: 1.5 to 1.7.  Next, you need to add a little cooking oil and knead the oil into the dough.  The dough is now ready to use and it should be soft and not sticky.  Cover the dough with a damp cloth while wrapping to prevent the dough from drying out.

I spent the whole afternoon making the soon kueh and gave some to my mum.  She called me the next day and told me "I have passed" ^_^

Soon Kueh before steaming

I still have some leftover soon kueh flour from my last attempt, and so I added some into making the dough skin.  This flour combination gives good result.  The dough is soft and easy to handle.  After steaming, the skin is translucent, soft to bite and is not sticky.

(makes about 30 soon kueh)

Dough skin
200g wheat starch
100g tapioca flour
100g soon kueh flour (consists rice flour, tapioca flour, wheat starch, corn flour)*
600ml water
3 to 4 tbsp oil (I used shallots oil)
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp sugar

* or replace with 60g rice flour, 20g tapioca flour, 20g wheat starch (rough estimate)

1) Mix the flours together in a mixing bowl.  Bring 600ml water to a boil.  Add in salt and sugar.  Pour the hot boiling water into the flour mixture and quickly stir with a pair of chopsticks or rice scoop.  Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.

2) Knead in 3 to 4 tablespoons of shallot oil into the dough till smooth (kneading takes a few minutes only).  Divide the dough into two portions (cover with damp cloth when not working on the dough).  Roll each portion into a long tube and cut into small disc (each weighs about 35g).

3) Flatten each disc and roll out thinly.  Use a round cutter or a rice bowl (my bowl measures 11cm in diameter) to trim the dough skin into a round shape (note: combine the excess dough skin and roll it out again).  Dust a little tapioca flour on the dough for easy handling.

4) Place one heaped tablespoon of filling on the dough skin, fold it over to form a semi-circle and pinch the edges firmly to seal the filling.

5) Place the soon kueh on well-greased steaming rack, brush the soon kueh with a little shallot oil and steam on moderately-high heat for 10 to 12 minutes till dough skin turns translucent (I placed a piece of clean banana leaf on the steamed rack and brush a little oil on the banana leaf).  

6) Brush another thin coat of shallot oil on the soon kueh after steaming.  Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds and fried shallots over the soon kueh.

7) Serve hot with a drizzle of sweet black sauce and chili sauce.

Soon Kueh for breakfast the next day

Soon Kueh filling:
(makes about 30 soon kueh)

750g mang kwang (about one medium-sized turnip or 沙葛), thinly shredded
1 to 2 carrots, thinly shredded - about 180g
5 to 6 Chinese mushrooms, soaked & sliced, keep the liquid
2 to 3 tbsp dried shrimps, soaked & finely chopped, keep the liquid
600ml water (including the liquid for soaking mushrooms and dried shrimps)
Few cloves garlic, minced
Few slices ginger
5 to 6 shallots, sliced (deep fried and use the shallot oil for making and brushing the dough skin )
Seasoning:  oyster sauce/soy sauce/salt & pepper to taste, a little sesame oil 

1) Heat a few tablespoons of shallot oil and stir fry the ginger and mushrooms till fragrant.  Push to one side of the wok, add in the dried shrimps and minced garlic, fry till fragrant.

2) Add in the shredded mang kwang and carrots.  Stir briefly, add water and cover to simmer over medium-low heat for about 45 minutes to an hour till turnip becomes soft.  Give a few quick stirs in-between simmering to ensure even cooking.  In the last 15 minutes, add in the seasoning and half the fried shallots. (Note: Turnip will release water as it cooks, so do not add all the water at the beginning.  Keep a little and pour in later if the mixture is too dry.)  

3) Cool the filling before wrapping.

I am submitting this to "Aspiring Bakers #12: Traditional Kueh (October 2011)", hosted by Small Small Baker. 


  1. I had never using soon kueh flour before, from your written details I think next time I must give it a try. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Your soon kueh look so yummy. I didn't know there is ready mixed soon kueh flour in the market. Thanks for sharing your recipe with us. Will try this and let you know the outcome. Thanks again.

  3. Yummy Soon Kueh - I went back to Sg last year and didn't have a chance to eat soon kueh - now you are making me really really hunger for some.

  4. Is it as easy as you make it sound? I have had bad experiences making anything pastry related but I would really like to try making those.

  5. I'd bookmarked it, thnx for sharing!
    Gonna make dis soon~~coz dis is superb delicious!

  6. Happy flour: The Soon Kueh flour has higher proportion of rice flour than wheat flour. I prefer more wheat flour, which will gives a more translucent skin.

    Irene: using Soon Kueh flour is more convenient as it saves us the trouble of buying separate flours, then use a portion each and end up with packets of leftover flour to store. But, as I mentioned, just Soon Kueh alone does not give a nice translucent skin, as it does not have enough wheat starch in it.

    Christine: There are many yummy food in SG. Take turn to enjoy them when you're back.

    Sarah: this is my second time making Soon Kueh and I find them manageable. Personally, I find making this Soon Kueh dough skin and the wrapping is easier to handle than say, making curry puffs. But, be prepared to spend quite some time making them. If you have somebody to help to roll the skin and another to wrap the fillings, the process is much faster.

    An Tee: try it and keep me posted :)

  7. I made this today and it was yummy-licious!!! Thank you for your post!

  8. Tried and failed on the dough... I used up 4 packets of flour, didnt work, as soon as I poured hot water, it went sticky and very hard to manage, tried using cold water, it was still sticky and stuck everywhere (T_T) very upset (>.<)

  9. The dough will be sticky once you pour in the hot water cos of the wheat and tapioca flour. This is why in step 1, you stir with a pair of chopsticks or rice scoop first while the dough is hot and sticky. Let it rest, add in oil, then proceed with kneading. Hope this helps.

  10. For the benefit of those who tried this recipe, but failed. I did the dough skin recipe again and it works. If you want a more manageable dough skin, try to reduce a little water. Use hot boiling water and pour into the flour mixture. Rest time is necessary. Dust some flour when rolling out the dough skin.

  11. May I know is wheat flour called 面粉? Thank you .

  12. Brenda: Wheat starch is not 面粉. It is 澄粉, a kind of dim sum flour.

  13. Can I use any other oil besides shallot oil?

  14. Can I not use shallot oil? Can I use eg sunflower oil?

  15. HI Savvy Mummy: Shallot oil gives that extra aroma, but you can use other oil.

  16. I made Soon Kuey out of this recipe this morning, it's so so good. The transparency and a little chewy texture is what I am looking for all this while. I am very happy that it turns out so well. Thanks for sharing this precious recipe, I am going to enjoy soon Kuey from now on.


  17. Hi Ling, so happy that this recipe works for you too. If you like garlic chives, 韭菜, you can also use it as a filling instead of using turnip and carrots. Just made a batch of garlic chives Kueh this afternoon , and it was delicious.

  18. hi, i'm interested to use the garlic chives for the filling. Pls share with me how to prepare the garlic chives filling. Need to cook it first? what other ingredients to add? thks

    1. If you are using garlic chives, there's no need to precook. Cut the garlic chives into small pieces and season with salt, pepper, sesame oil and a little sugar. You cal also add some minced dried prawns and sliced mushrooms. You will need to stir fry these with a little oil and garlic. Cool briefly and stir in the seasoned garlic chives. If you like it more flavorful, stir in a little fried shallots with the fillings.

  19. Hi ter
    Hubby had req 4 hm made soon kuey & I'm glad I found ur website. Made tis today & he said its comparable to store bot haha tt e happiest ting I heard ;)

  20. Hi Fong,

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I live in Perth and it's hard to find authentic kueh kueh here. I made this on the weekend and it was a success! All my friends and aunties were delighted! As Soon Kueh flour is not sold here, the estimated makeup of the Soon Kueh flour was very useful. Many thanks again!

  21. Thanks. I'm glad I saw your recipe!

  22. Hi Fong,

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I've tried this dough today and it turned out to be a success. Initially it was very sticky so I added the oil as I knead which made it easier to handle.



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