'Jicama Dumplings', or in Hokkien Chinese, 'Chai Kueh'. Not to be mistaken for 'Pot Stickers', altho these could easily stick to a pot if you let them.
I was never into Chai Kueh in my younger days, but then, I've never really been into very traditional Chinese foods and snacks. The olden day Chinese would have me burnt on a stake .... wait, i think I've got my wires crossed. Oh, never mind.
Anyway, one day, a friend brought these dumplings over and claimed they were so good, they'd knock my Chinese senses from being dormant for way too long. And, you know what? They did! Not only were my senses awakened, I actually crave for them often. Then one day, TRAGEDY! They stopped selling them! I am so doomed! Oh woe is me and all that drama stuff!
You never know you have it in you until something drastic happens and you find out just how risilient and capable you are (ahem).
Tragedy no more, crave no more!
After scouring the net, I've found several good recipes. The main ingredient is basically yam bean/jicama, then all the other variations come in as in every other recipe.... carrots, bean sprouts, tofu and chinese chives versions. I made mine as how I remembered it to be.
The most important part of this dumpling is actually the skin. Now, this is where I'd got a little confused and had to decide on what to do. Some recipes add glutinous rice flour and some don't. I'm assuming that it makes a whiter looking dough rather than the translucent one that I'm looking for. So, I omitted that.
I'm very happy with the results, filling and skin both altho I would roll out the skin a little thinner the next time. I wasn't sure how elastic the dough would be and if they'd tear while I'm wrapping.
Most of the recipes encourage you to use quite a lot of oil for the dough and also to brush more on while steaming since this is a seriously gooey, sticky, fragile skin. But I'm trying to reduce as much oil as possible without causing the skin to be dry and non-elastic and mainly not have them swimming in oil like some I've seen sold at the stalls. Eck.
about 400 g Jicama / Yam Bean / Bangkuang
about 100 g carrots
2 tbs dried shrimps
5 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbs oyster sauce
2 tbs light soy sauce
1 tbs sugar
1/2 cup water
oil for frying
Rinse and soak dried shrimps until soft. (About 20 mins)
Peel and shred or finely julienne yam bean and carrots into about 3" long strips.
Drain soaked shrimps and squeeze out water. Chop coarsely.
Heat a little oil and saute the garlic and shrimp until fragrant.
Stir in both veges until slightly cooked.
Add in oyster sauce, light soy sauce, sugar and water.
Stir to coat evenly.
Lower heat, cover and simmer. Give it a stir every now and then. Check often to see if you need to add more water.
Cook until vege is soft and translucent but still holding its shape (not too mushy).
Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I didn't add any)
Turn off heat and leave to cool.
165 g wheat starch
85 g tapioca flour
420 g hot boiling water
3 - 5 tbs oil (I used 3 tbs)
Combine wheat starch and tapioca flour in a large, heatproof mixing bowl.
Stir in boiling water until you get an almost translucent dough.
* Note: This was tough to do as the dough was very sticky and firm so I gave up and transferred to my Kenwood Chef mixer with a dough hook to mix and knead.
Once you get a nice translucent dough, cover and leave to rest for about 10 mins.
Add in the oil 1 tbs at a time and knead well after each addition. Keep at it until all 3 tbs oil are used up.
Remove from bowl and shape into a long log and divide into about 30 - 35 pieces, depending on how big you want your dumplings to be.
Prepare the steamer.
Oil the base of your steaming tray. (Some people use parchment paper)
Roll out the little balls of dough into circles (I rolled mine to about 3" in diameter).
Work quickly or the skin will dry up and become too brittle to wrap. Cover with a damp cloth in between.
Spoon a good tbs of jicama filling into the center of the skin.
Bring the two ends together, pleat and pinch to seal.
Arrange the dumplings onto well-oiled steaming tray and steam for 15 - 18 mins or until skin is translucent.
Serve warm with chilli sauce.
Dumplings can be kept in the freezer uncooked.
Place frozen dumplings directly into steamer and steam for about 15 - 18 mins or until translucent.
*Remember to oil the tray your dumplings sit on or use parchment paper to line.