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Chai Kuih (Steamed Vegetable Dumplings) 菜粿

by Angie Liew
Steamed Vegetable Dumplings (Chai Kuih)

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Steamed Vegetable Dumplings (Chai Kuih)

All-Time Favourite Steamed Chinese Snack: Steamed Vegetable Dumplings, Chai Kuih 菜粿

Steamed vegetable dumplings, locally known as Chai Kuih or Chai Kueh 菜粿, is one of many iconic Asian traditional delicacies, rumoured to be of Teochew origin. It bodies, mainly, stir-fried yam bean wrapped in a chewy crystal-like skin. These delicious vegetable dumplings are steamed to perfection! They make a light, healthy and tasty appetiser or snack!

Chai Kuih Recipe (Steamed Vegetable Dumplings)

Chai Kuih’s Signature Trait: A Soft, Chewy, Translucent Skin

The secret to making these popular steamed vegetable dumplings lies within its skin. The idea is to achieve a soft, springy and translucent pliable dough suitable for shaping the dumplings. These dumplings are deliciously good even on its own. Better, top it off with a sweet chilli sauce. They are so good, you can’t stop at 1, 2, 3, 4 or even 5! It’s truly a Teochew culinary treasure for the whole family!


Steamed Vegetable Dumplings (Chai Kuih 菜粿)

Steamed Vegetable Dumplings (Chai Kuih 菜粿)

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Chai Kuih (Steamed Vegetable Dumplings) 菜粿

Recipe by Huang Kitchen, Angie Liew
Steamed vegetable dumplings, locally known as Chai Kuih or Chai Kueh 菜粿, is one of many iconic Asian traditional delicacies, rumoured to be of Teochew origin. It bodies, mainly, stir-fried yam bean wrapped in a chewy crystal-like skin. These delicious vegetable dumplings are steamed to perfection! They make a light, healthy and tasty appetiser or snack!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Total Time52 minutes

Tap or Hover to Adjust Servings

Servings: 36 pieces


Yam Bean Filling Ingredients:

  • 500 grams Yam Bean, known as jicama/turnip, skinned, shredded finely
  • 50 grams french beans, sliced thinly
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Carrot, skinned, shredded thinly
  • 25 grams dried shrimp, soaked, blended
  • 5 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked, blended
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Skin Ingredients:

  • 300 grams wheat starch flour, tang mein flour
  • 300 grams Tapioca flour
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1.1 litre water, hot


    Cook Filling:

    • Soak dried shrimps and mushrooms.
      First, soak dried shrimps and dried shiitake mushrooms.
    • Shread and mince ingredients.
      Then dice the soaked mushrooms and chop, coarsely, the dried shrimps. Next, mince garlic, shallots and shred carrot and french beans, thinly.
    • Shread yam bean thinly.
      Using a sharp knife, peel yam bean's thick and papery skin. Then shred yam bean into long, thin strips. And we're ready to fry the filling!
    • Saute garlic, shallot, dried shrimps.
      Ready by heating up oil and sauté minced garlic and shallots till fragrant. Add in chopped dried shrimps and fry further.
    • Add diced mushroom.
      Then, add diced shiitake mushroom. Continue to fry.
    • Add in jicama.
      Add in yam bean and stir fry for about 5 minutes.
    • Add seasonings.
      Season with salt, chicken stock granules and white ground pepper.
    • Stir in carrot and french bean.
      Next, stir in carrots and french bean. Simmer till vegetable softens and cooked. And we're done!
    • Leave it to cool.
      Remove and leave to cool while we prepare the pastry dough.

    Dumpling Pastry:

    • Mix all dry ingredients.
      In a large mixing bowl, combine wheat starch, tapioca flour, salt and sugar.
    • Boil water.
      Bring water to a boil.
    • Mix into a dough.
      Add hot boiling water into the dry flour mixture and mix thoroughly with a long wooden spoon until you get a translucent light dough.
    • Knead in mixer.
      Then, transfer to a stand mixer and knead briefly.
    • Add in oil.
      Gradually add in vegetable oil and knead into a smooth dough.
    • Knead on floured surface.
      Remove from mixer and roll the dough out.
    • Divide dough into small pieces.
      Divide dough into small pieces, cover and leave aside for 10 minutes. Finally, we're ready to make the steamed dumplings!

    Make Dumplings:

    • Flatten pastry.
      First, dust tabletop with tapioca flour. Then flatten and roll out dough into a thin sheet.
    • Cut into circles.
      Using a round cutter, cut thinned dough into circles about 10 cm in diameter.
    • Flatten dough and cut into circles.
      Repeat for the rest of pastry dough to form skin.
    • Make dumpling.
      To make the dumplings, fold the skin into a semi circle, seal slightly on one end.
    • Add filling in centre.
      Scoop a heaping tablespoon of filling into the centre of the skin.
    • Make dumplings.
      Pleat the edge on one side of the skin and secure towards the other side into a half moon shape.
    • Make dumplings.
      Continue to pleat to the end, wrapping it up tightly.
    • Pleat the edges of chai kuih.
      Repeat the same for the rest of the cut pastry skin.
    • Oil the steaming tray.
      Next, brush cooking oil on the steaming tray.
    • Arrange dumplings on tray.
      Arrange dumpling on the oiled steaming tray. Make sure they do not touch one another.
    • Cover and steam over high heat.
      Steam over medium heat for 12 minutes or until skin turns translucent.
    • Brush with garlic oil.
      Remove the steamed dumplings to cool on wire rack and brush them with some garlic oil.
    • Steamed Vegetable Dumplings (Chai Kuih)
      Transfer to a serving plate when cooled slightly. Then garnish with fried garlic, shallots, spring onions and chopped red chilli. Serve warm with sweet chilli sauce and Enjoy!


Tried this recipe?Mention @HuangKitchen or tag #huangkitchen!


Adding oil to the skin dough prevents the dough from sticking onto your hand and gives the skin a smoother texture. It also prevents the skin from breaking easily.
You can vary the thickness of the dumpling skin according to personal preference but it should not be too thin so you can enjoy the chewy bite.
Be sure to cut FINELY all the ingredients for the filling. Otherwise it may cause the skin to break while wrapping.
Only remove steamed dumplings from the steaming tray when it is slightly cold. Otherwise, the skin of dumplings will tear.
Do not use high heat for steaming as the dumplings will expand too much and break.
Frying of the yam bean filling can be done ahead of time. Keep refrigerated / frozen until needed.
Course: Appetizer, Sides, Snacks
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese, Malaysian, Teochew
Keyword: appetizer, dumplings, kuih, steamed, vegetables

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SANDY LYNN STEVENS November 5, 2020 - 10:32 am

My daughter (in NY) and I (in Alabama) chose this recipe for a zoom cooking together experience. The taste was excellent, but even though I oiled the plate on which I steamed them, the dumplings stuck to it and everything else they touched (the side of the pot when I was taking them out of it, my hands, etc.) Would love a hint to avoid this in the future. Thank you for a very interesting and (for us) challenging recipe.

Angie Liew November 5, 2020 - 10:37 am

Hi, thanks for choosing our recipe. Will like to advise that after steaming you need to cool them a bit before removing from the tray. Use a spatula or something flat to remove if possible. Then you will not have the problem. Hope this helps.

SANDY LYNN STEVENS November 5, 2020 - 3:25 am

Not mentioned in the ingredient list, besides the chicken stock granules, are the shallots. Also the amount of minced garlic in the pictures and video look like a lot more than 1 clove. Can you tell us the number of grams of shallots and garlic you suggest? Thank you. Looking forward to trying this.

Angie Liew November 5, 2020 - 9:39 am

You can check out the full recipe at my website http://www.huangkitchen.com

sally May 15, 2020 - 1:24 pm

Thank you for your recipes. I wuld like to know whether you can freeze Chai Kuih (before steaming or after steaming)? TThanks. My email is: [email protected]

Angie Liew May 15, 2020 - 11:13 pm

Hi, freeze after steaming.Let cool before you freeze. This will retain the flavour of the Chai Kuih until needed.Thanks for viewing.

Kevin April 29, 2020 - 11:22 pm

Hi Angie, Thanks for a very detailed and beautifully illustrated recipe for making Chia kuih. Under “Cook the filling” at line 7 you mentioned ” Season with salt, chicken stock granules and white ground pepper.”
However chicken stock granules was not mentioned in your ingredients list. So how much Chicken stock granulesis used?
Also after frying the frying the sengkuang you added the carrots and french bean and allow to simmer. Do you need to add any water at this stage for the vege to simmer?

Angie Liew April 30, 2020 - 11:44 pm

Hi, thanks for pointing out. You can just add 1 tsp chicken stock granules for 500g yam bean. Otherwise can just leave that out. Just to add more flavour to the yam bean filling. Do not add water when you simmer as the yam bean will release fluid when simmered. Just make sure to continuously fry to make sure its not burnt and the vegetables softened. Hope this helps to clarify and happy cooking.

Huang Kitchen