chai kuih , vegetable dumplings.
A Nyonya in UK, Culture, Snack

Crystal Dumplings or Chai Kuih

Crystal Dumplings or Chai Kuih is also know as Soon Kuih in the southern part of Malaysia.

This is one of my favourite Chinese snacks. When I was growing up in Malaysia, my neighbour from 10 doors away used to make this. As they are of the Teochew dialect and we are Hokkiens, their festivals and prayer days are a bit different from ours. I remember my mum used to help them out. In those days, it was common practice to help each other when there are festivals or prayers.

I used to be a busy body and observed them. There would always be the issue of having the skin dough right. So it was always a trial and error. I wonder why don’t people write the recipe down. Now I realised most of the people then were uneducated.

There are usually 2 types of fillings. One is shredded ‘bangkuang’, ‘sengkuang’ or jicama, and the other is chopped Chinese chives. I like the jicama filling and I find the chives filling a bit too strong for me.

Har gao, or prawns crystal dumplings

Chai kueh is now easily available for tea or in night markets. I used to buy them each time I go to the night market.

Now I am so pleased that I can make it.

Full and printable recipe is below.

Please give a thumbs up and share.

Until the next post, Happy cooking.

Penang Lassie

Crystal Dumplings or Chai Kuih

A delicious vegetable dumplings that is filling and so tasty.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: bangkuang, dim sum, jicama, kohl rabi, sengkuang, tapioca flour, wheat starch
Servings: 24 pieces
Cost: £5.00


  • Steamer with steaming tray,
  • A tea towel Perforated non-stick baking parchment or grease-proof paper to line steaming tray.
  • A pair of tongs
  • Rolling Pin
  • Pastry brush
  • Frying pan
  • A pair of chopsticks or a wooden spoon or somethingsimilar for stirring the dough



  • 1 piece (500g) Bangkuang or jicama or kohlrabi, or broccoli stems, hard skin removed, cleaned and  julienned, grated or coarsely chopped ½
  • 1/2 small 100g carrot julienned, as above
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped    
  • 1 tsp 1tsp Chopped coriander (optional)  
  • Salt & pepper to taste, or seasoning

Wrapper dough

  • 120 g Tapioca flour
  • 180 g wheat starch extra flour for dusting
  • 475g Boiling water
  • 2 tbsp Flavourless cooking oil  
  • pinch of salt
  • garlic oil for greasing, or extra oil for greasing


Tomake the filling:

  • In frying pan, spray with calorie-controlled spray. Or use 1 tbsp cooking oil. Then add in chopped garlic and fry until lightly coloured.
  • Add in the julienned vegetables and toss until wilted.
  • Season with salt and pepper and add in the chopped coriander. Toss and then dish out on a plate. Set aside to cool.

To make the wrapper:

  • In a bowl, mix the 2 flours together and then pour in the hot boiling water.
  • Stir with a pair of chopsticks so that it becomes a sticky mass. Let is cool a bit and then add in 2 tablespoons of oil.
  • Mix and then turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead it until smooth. The dough should be firm. If it is too hard, add a table spoon or of water and knead until smooth. Set aside for about 20 minutes.
  • Set up steamer.

To wrap:

  • Roll the dough to about 2-3 mm thick. (you can make the wrapper as thin as you want).
  • Use around cutter to cut circles.
  • Put a tbsp of the filling in the centre of the wrapper and gather up the edge to forma circle or a semi-circle.
  • Or the dough can be divided into 20 to 24 pcs and individually rolled out to a circle.
  • Repeat until you use up all the filling or the wrapper.
  • Place the perforated paper on the steaming tray. Arrange the dumplings so that itdoes not touch.
  • Brush with the garlic oil.
  • Steam for 15 to 20 mins until the wrapper is transparent.
  • Lightly brush with oil again and gently remove from the steam and arrange on a plate to serve.
  • If you need to make a lot of it, you can stack them after cooking provided you brush the dumplings with oil to prevent them from sticking.
  • Serve with chili sauce.




You may also like...