Monday, May 25, 2009

How to make Nonya Rice Dumpling aka Pua Kiam Tee Chung

My mother usually prepared three types of rice dumplings for the Dragon Boat Festival and she had to spend three days to complete this annual task. On the first day, she prepared the Kiam Bak Chung (Salty Meat Rice Dumpling) and followed by the Pua Kiam Tee Chungs (Sweet and salty Rice dumpling). On the third day, the Kee Chung (an alkaline rice dumpling, which is normally eaten with honey or syrup) were specially prepared as an alter offering to the gods, especially the Kitchen God, who seems to have a sweet tooth. Mother believed the Kitchen God makes an annual report of all happenings in the household to the higher hierarchy in heavens and she made sure that he is always offered the best sweets on feast days. I often wonder, is there a more ingenious or ingenuous way to sweeten his mouth while reporting on the family?

Although Kee Chung is the gods favourite, but we mortals, would rather prefer Mother’s Pua Kiam Tee aka Nonya rice dumplings as our favourite.

Nonya Rice Dimplings aka Pua Kiam Tee Chung Recipe:


500g glutinous rice
1 tbsp pandan essence to provide green colour and flavour (normally the indigo blue colour is extracted from the butterfly pea flower is used in this recipe.)
2 tbsp cooking oil.


1 tbsp pepper
2 tbsp coriander powder
8 cloves of grounded garlic
1 tbsp galangal powder
350g mince pork
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
150g candied winter melon (tung kwa) coarsely chopped
100g roasted peanut coarsely chopped.
30 dried bamboo leaves, soaked till pliable
Hemp strings
2 pandan leaves cut into 3cm length.

Soak the 350g glutinous rice overnight in water. In a separate stainless steel bowl, soak 150 with water and add pandan essence, overnight. Heat oil in a wok and fry seasonings till fragrant. Add minced pork and fry well. Stir in candied melon, peanuts until well mixed. Set aside to cool. Depending on the size of the bamboo leaf, fold one or two leaves in to a cone as shown in drawing. Fill the cone with one tablespoon of glutinous and 1 teaspoon of pandan green-coloured glutinous rice. Add 1 tablespoon of fillings and covered with another 1 tablespoon of glutinous rice. Top with a piece of pandan leaf. Wrap dumpling into a pyramid shape as shown in drawings and tie securely with hemp string.
In a large stock port, bring water into a rapid boil just before putting the dumplings to boil for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until cooked. Keep an eye on the water level by topping up the water in pot with hot water during the cooking process. Remove dumplings when cooked and hang to cool and dry.


  1. u got make any spare? i want to eat!!!

  2. hi uncle phil,

    i will have to give this recipe a shot soon. however, candied winter melon isn't available here, what would be a good sub for it you reckon? sugar perhaps but it would certainly lack the crunchiness of the melon.


  3. Hi Ange,
    I will post how to make candied winter melon tomorow. Can you get water melon at this time of the year in France? Do not discard the white part of the water melon after you have consumed the red part of the melon. They can be candied to sustitute winter melon.

  4. Hi BY,
    We haven't started wrapping the Bak Chung until Wednesday. That's the reason why I spent this afternoon drawings this pictures instead of photos here. We will keep some in the freezer for you and your family.

  5. ok thank you!!

    your drawing is very nice, u can become an artist already!!

  6. Hi BY,
    The Orr Luar Pek is in the sketch book and I am trying to do more sketches of other hawkers of the bygone era as a side show. Haha.


  7. Great!! will be looking forward to see them!!!

    thanks for everything!

  8. It´s good with this illustrations, I tried this once but failed, I am often great with my fingers but not this, I don´t know why. Will try it again. Thanks for this Phil.

  9. Wah.. your drawing is AMAZING! Initially I thought you found the picture from the web (which was amazing enough)... wah seh.... no horse run!

  10. Hi HW,
    If not, how to pass my botany...:0. Have to go to the attic to dig out my botanical drawings before the silverfish get to them. Haha

  11. Hej Estee,
    Are you able to buy dried bamboo leaves in Sweden? If you can..Have a go at it. You soon get a knack of it.

  12. Wow! So you're an artist as well. I made 6 changs with real pandan this year, edible but all were out of shape & ended up different sizes, as usual lah. Also no blue coloring, no tung kwa :(
    P/s: canned oyster in orr-luak not nice; too mushy.

  13. Hi Vin,
    Artist? Boleh tahan lah. I'll will be posting the candied winter melon (tung kwa) later in the day.Still waiting for it to dry out before taking photo. We have tried tumeric for colour and they turned out quite pretty. Use fresh prawns or baby sotongs instead.

  14. Pls. share the recipe for making candied water melon rind. I make Pickled Water Melon Rinds. Thks.

    South Carolina girl from S`pore. asks

  15. Your drawings? nice!