Comfort Cooking: Chwee kueh with a touch of luxury

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STFood Online Editor Hedy Khoo shares a recipe for chwee kueh.

SINGAPORE - Make chwee kueh at home and add a touch of luxury to this hawker favourite with dried prawn and tee poh (dried flat fish). Omit these for a vegetarian version.

Instead of using lard to cook the chai poh (preserved radish topping), I use homemade shallot oil which has its own alluring aroma. The fried shallots can be stored in the fridge to accompany other dishes.

For the chai poh topping, I recommend using Thai sweet preserved radish - available from provision shops or online. Search for Mae Kim Huay Preserved Minced Sweet Radish.

If you have leftover chai poh after cooking Thai-style stir-fried kway teow from Tuesday's recipe, this is the time to use it up. This brand of chai poh is not overly salted, so you do not need to rinse off the salt.

Keep leftover chwee kueh in the fridge and steam them to reheat. The remaining chai poh topping can be kept in an airtight jar and stored in the fridge for at least a month. The topping can also go with other dishes such as instant noodles or grilled or steamed brinjal.

Shallot oil


400ml oil

200g of sliced shallots

¼ tsp sugar

Pinch of salt


1. Heat the oil over medium heat.

2. Add sliced shallots and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes until the shallots are a light shade of gold. Turn off the heat and let the shallots cook in residual heat until golden-brown.

3. Use a sieve to strain the fried shallots.

4. Reserve the shallot oil for later use.

5. Sprinkle sugar and salt over the fried shallots. Allow to cool and store in airtight containers in the fridge.

Chai poh (preserved radish) topping


280ml shallot oil

20g tee poh (dried flat fish)

35g dried prawn, soaked and finely chopped

100g shallots, finely minced

40g garlic cloves, finely minced

300g sweet chai poh (preserved sweet radish)

½ tsp salt

1 tsp dark soya sauce


1. Heat one-third of the oil. Over medium-low heat, fry the tee poh until crispy. Remove the tee poh and set aside.

2. Add the dried prawn and fry for a minute until fragrant.

3. Add half of the remaining shallot oil.

4. Allow the oil to heat up. Add the shallots and fry for three minutes.

5. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds.

6. Add the remaining oil. When the oil begins to bubble gently, add the chai poh and fry for 10 minutes.

7. Add the salt and dark soya sauce.

8. Crush the tee poh finely and add it to the chai poh mixture. Stir well and turn off the heat.

Chwee kueh (makes 27 pieces)

Before making the next batch of chwee kueh using the remaining batter, stir the batter well before pouring into the moulds. ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO


2 Tbs cooking oil

250g rice flour

15g wheat starch

15g tapioca starch

½ tsp salt

½ tsp sugar

400ml room temperature water

600ml boiling water

1 Tbs shallot oil

Equipment: 27 chwee kueh metal moulds of 7cm in diameter each


1. Bring the water in the steamer to a rolling boil.

2. Grease the insides of the moulds with cooking oil.

3. Place the moulds, as many as will fit in one layer, into the steamer. Cover and keep them heated, with the water in a rolling boil, while you prepare the batter.

4. In a bowl, add the rice flour, wheat starch, tapioca starch, salt and sugar. Mix well.

5. Add 400ml of room temperature water and stir until the mixture is smooth.

6. Gradually add the boiling water while stirring continuously until the batter is thick and smooth.

7. Add the shallot oil and stir well.

8. Open the steamer and fill each mould three quarters of the way up.

9. Steam for 15 minutes.

10. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

11. Before making the next batch of chwee kueh using the remaining batter, stir the batter well before pouring into the moulds. Also, ensure there is sufficient water in the steamer.

12. Spoon chai poh over chwee kueh before serving.

Serves five to six

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