I finally got down to my attempt on Soon Kuih, a Teochew (dialect) food made using turnips as the main filling.
(Kuih is a Malay word for bite-sized snack or dessert foods commonly found in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia – Wikipedia.com).
DS and I like Soon Kuih. We miss the ones we used to enjoy in Batu Pahat, Malaysia where we came from. Unlike the Singapore version, the ones in Batu Pahat use only turnips (but nothing else) as filling, and the turnips are cut in small cube size (instead of being julienned). They are served in watery chilli sauce and red sweet sauce whereas over here, Soon Kuih are commonly served in black sweet sauce which is a little thick.
In Alexandra area, there is one kuih stall (named Poh Cheu) selling pretty good Soon Kuih, probably the best we have tasted in Singapore all these years. The skin of the Soon Kuih is soft and not too thick, and the filling compact and tasty. There are probably better ones on this sunny island but we haven’t come across yet. We enjoy eating the Soon Kuih from Poh Cheu as dinner on some Friday evenings when I don’t cook dinner.
So, I had been entertaining the thought of making my very own Soon Kuih. I imagine it would be nice and very satisfying if I could just produce them with my own hands whenever I feel like eating them!
The making of Soon Kuih involves two parts of ingredients – the wrapping skin made using flour and the fillings.
For the fillings, which was the easy part, I added garlic, carrot, black fungus, mushrooms and dried prawns to the turnip, and stir-fried them till soft with salt and pepper added as flavouring. Traditionally, as the name of the food implies, bamboo shoots (pronounced as Soon in Teochew) was one of the main ingredients. But I wonder if people actually use bamboo shoots these days. Fresh bamboo shoots are more expensive than turnips, and it requires quite a bit of steps to treat them in order to get ride of the bitter taste or weird smell, as I have read about it from a cookbook.
The real challenge for me was the making of the wrapping-skin which I was actually not sure of what type of flour and the ratio to use. Thanks to the convenience of internet, and after some online searching, I decided to use the Soon Kuih dough recipe from this food blog called Guai Shu Shu, hosted by a gentleman by the name of Kenneth Goh. I was amazed by not just the large amount but also the varied categories of recipes in his blog!
Dough using 40% of rice flour and 60% of wheat flour as per Guai Shu Shu‘s recipe
Oh mine, the rolling and wrapping were no easy tasks at all. The skin tended to break easily, hence I had do it very carefully and slowly. Too thick the skin will not be nice to eat. So, it requires a bit of skill but it is a skill that can be improved with practice, as the saying goes, practice makes perfect! Excluding cooking of the fillings, I ended up spending close to 3 hours to prepare the dough, and produce 12 considerably decent-looking Soon Kuih for dinner and also breakfast the next day.
First batch fresh from steam oven. They looked a bit dull before being coated with a thin layer of cooking oil
Garnished with sesame seeds and spring onions
I am glad that I have tried this and thanks to Guai Shu Shu’s recipe! I was satisfied with the skin, but I did not get the taste of the filling quite right. That can be improved.
However, given the time spent, I concluded that it may be too much the trouble and time spent to make a few just for the two of us. It will be better to just get DS to buy them back whenever I have a craving for it 🙂