These are ugly, but delicious. Haha!
I actually made these after making kimchi. You see, I had searched 2 supermarkets for chinese chives, aka, ku chai, without success. So I asked my mum to buy some for me from the wet market on Saturday morning. I was not sure how much I needed, but I showed her roughly around the quantity that would fit into the circle made with your forefinger and thumb.
According to my dad, who went with her, she told the wet market vegetable seller it was the quantity about 2 forefingers and 2 thumbs combined to make a circle. Sigh. I didn’t know to laugh or to shriek when I saw the amount she bought. She bought 1 kg of chinese chives. Speechless.
Chinese chives are very hard to keep as they turn yellow very easily. That is why the supermarkets do not stock them. The wet market vegetable seller keeps them wrapped up in newspaper in the fridge.
So there I am, with so much extra chinese chives on hand, even after using for kimchi and dried mee siam. What else could I do?
Ku chai kueh (adapted from Peng’s Kitchen)
- 150 grams wheat starch
- 150 grams tapioca starch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 350 ml boiling water
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 500 grams chinese chives/ku chai, washed and cut into 1 inch in length
- 8 cloves of garlic, minced
- 60- 80 grams (small sized) dried shrimps, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes (retain the liquid)
- 80-100 grams dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes and sliced (retain the liquid)
- 2-3 tsp oyster sauce
- 4-5 tsp light soya sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- White pepper to taste
- Mix wheat starch, tapioca starch and salt in a bowl. Add boiling water and stir with a spoon until roughly combined. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool before handling.
- After 10 minutes, add in oil and knead until a dough forms. It can still be quite hot at this point so be careful. Cover with damp cloth to prevent drying out.
- To make the filling, add 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
- Add in garlic and stir fry until fragrant.
- Add in dried shrimps and mushrooms and stir fry for 5 minutes until fragrant.
- Add in chinese chives and stir fry until combined.
- Add seasonings. Stir fry until well combined.
- Add in 6 tbsp of the mushroom dried shrimp retained liquid from soaking.
- Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Turn off heat and let cool completely.
- Divide dough into 24 pieces. Flour work area with rice flour.
- Flatten the dough and roll out into a circle. Place around 2 tbsp of filling in the center, fold the dough in half and seal well. Place on an oiled plate.
- Prepare steamer with water sufficient to boil for 1/2 hour.
- Steam ku chai kueh for 20 minutes. Serve hot.
My ku chai kueh has more mushrooms than ku chai! The amount of oyster sauce and light soya sauce depends on the amount of dried shrimps you use. The more dried shrimps, the saltier the filling.
If you are unable to finish all the ku chai kueh at one go, what I did was to freeze it uncooked. To cook it, defrost in the fridge for 2 hours, then steam for 25 minutes. You’ll find the skin might easily rupture after freezing but it still tastes good.