Hakka steamed dumpliings 客家茶粿

Chinese name: Hakka chai guo 客家茶粿 or Hakka chai bao 客家菜包

In Brunei we called these dumplings chai kuih. I remembered in our family we used to have them for breakfast nearly every weekend, we buy them from the kuih lady in the market. Eventually we learnt how to make them and have them as and when we feel like making some. I have never seen these dumplings in UK restaurants, the only way I can have them is make my own.

The dumplings pastry has a soft chewy texture. Nice eaten hot, freshly steamed or reheated in the steamer. Reheating in the microwave is ok but sometime the pastry can be a bit dry.

My pastry recipe use rices flour and tapioca flour. I have seen some Taiwanese recipes use rice flour and glutinous flour.

Here is the recipe if you like to give it a try.


A. Dough (makes about 50 dumplings, a big plateful)

Part 1
250g oriental rice flour
150g tapioca flour
700ml(g) water
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cooking oil

Part 2
about 100g rice flour
some cooking oil


  1. Mix all ingredients in Part 1 together till no lumps. Pour this into a pan, heat at medium heat and stir continuously till the mixture become a very thick paste. Cover and leave to cool. This will take over 1 hour till the paste is cool enough to handle.
  2. Sprinkle the working area with some rice flour from Part 2. Scrape the paste onto the dusted flour. Sprinkle more flour on top of paste. Knead and fold in rest of the the rice flour. This is very messy job will stick to all your hands and fingers. Knead till the dough is smooth without lumps and all flour is incorporated. Scrap the sticky dough off your hands with a spatula. Clean hands.
  3. Put some cooking oil in a small bowl. Now brush/dip the spatula with oil and scrape the dough to a rounded lump. Grease both hands with oil then lightly knead the dough and form into a smooth round lump.
  4. Divide the dough into few pieces. Roll each into a sausage about 2.5cm thick. Then cut with a oil greased spatula or knife into small pieces, each about 22 - 25g each.
  5. Roll each piece with oil greased hands then put aside.

Make this filling while the dough paste is cooling.

about 600g peeled mooli (daikon) or jicama (mungkuang)
about 200g pickle mustard (hum choi)
about 250 minced (ground) pork
about 50g dried shrimps
about 10 cloves garlic
2 tsp sugar
2 - 3 tbsp light soy
salt to taste
ground pepper to taste
about 2 - 3 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp cornflour mix with a little water
4 - 5 stalks of spring onion (scallion), chopped

* I much preferred jicama but this vegetable is not something I can get locally. So I used mooli.

  • Shred mooli or jicama with a cheese grater. Sqeeze out excess water to about 450 - 480g.
  • Cut/shred pickle mustard into very fine strips. Have a taste if pickle is salty soak with water for few minutes then squeeze out excess water.
  • Soak dried shrimps for about 10 - 15minutes then chop.
  • Chop garlic.
  • In a wok, add few tbsp oil. Heat and add 1/4 of the garlic. Fry till till fragrant add dried shrimps and pork. Mash the pork till no large lumps. Stir fry till the meat has turned brown and any liquid is drying. Add in some light soy, sugar and pepper to taste.
  • Add shredded mooli (or jicama) and pickled mustard. Stir fry till vegetables are softened and heated through. Have a taste see if you need more light soy or salt to taste. Finally drizzle in slackened cornflour. Stir till thickened then add remaining chopped garlic and spring onion. Remove onto a plate, spread it out and leave to cool.

Now time to wrap dumplings

Put about 1/2 cup of rice flour in a container or bowl. This is for dusting to prevent dough sticking.

Take a piece of parchment paper. Cut it to fit the steamer tray. Then punch many holes with a sharp skewer to let steam flow and prevent condensation logging in between dumplings during steaming.

  • Take a piece dough. Lightly coat with dry rice flour. Coat fingers with some flour too to prevent dough sticking to hand and fingers..
  • Then roll it out quite thin about 1.5mm thick.
  • Take the dough onto one hand. Put some filling on one side of dough.
  • Fold the dough into half moon shape. Pinch and seal the edge
  • Then place the dumpling with the seal edge facing up in the middle like in picture.
  • Place dumplings on paper lined steamer tray. Continue wrapping the dumplings till the tray is full. Can also place any extra dumplings on a greased tray to steam for later. Cover dumplings with tea towels to prevent drying.
  • Heat steamer till water is boiling. Steam dumplings for about 4 -5 minutes on high heat till dumplings are cooked and pastry looks semi translucent.
  • Brush cooked dumplings with a little oil to prevent drying and sticking to other dumplings when piling up on a plate.

Plateful of dumplings

Eat them while hot or reheat, on their own or with some light soy, chilli sauce or chilli oil.

Great for breakfast, brunch or snack anytime of the day and night.


  1. Love your blog, I'm really enjoying reading through it :)

  2. I LOVE dumplings, dim sum or yum cha, well, you name it! I don't normally like aubergines that much, but when I do eat it, I like it spicy and with ground pork, so this dumpling combo would definitely work for me! I made something similar months ago- 'Mapo tofu' dumplings, but without aubergines :).


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