Savory Chinese Mini Rice Pudding Recipe

Ever seen these adorable rice puddings before?

If you grew up anywhere outside of Malaysia, Singapore or Indonesia, probably not. While there are many dishes similar to this, such as Taiwan’s tube rice pudding, this version in particular is unique to most Southeast Asian Chinese. They’re called “Chwee Kueh” in Singapore and “Woon Chai Koh” in Malaysia. But most importantly, it’s a version of rice pudding you really don’t want to miss out on!

The white rice puddings have a distinctive snow-white bouncy texture but once chewed on, simply melts in the mouth. Coupled with the salty, umami and incredibly savory topping of preserved radish, it’s a unique mouthfeel and something your taste buds will thank you for!

These smooth, bouncy rice cakes are made from cheap ingredients easily sourceable from your local Asian grocer. No rice needed here! Just packaged rice flour and water. Although, you could definitely blend your own rice flour if need be. (Commendable but completely unnecessary.)

One key ingredient to the texture of the pudding is tapioca starch. Without tapioca starch, wheat starch can be used as well and will result in an equally magnificent end product. Besides that, no other starch should be used as a substitute, although some home cooks have mentioned potato starch to be alright.

Savory Chinese Mini Rice Pudding Recipe

Course Snack
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 3

Ingredients

(Rice Pudding)

  • 150 g rice flour
  • 50 g tapioca starch
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 250 ml lukewarm water
  • 500 ml boiling water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

(Topping)

  • 100 g chopped preserved radish the salted type
  • 5 large shallots minced
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • ¾ tbsp white pepper
  • cup vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Soak the preserved radish and mince the aromatics
  2. Saute the aromatics until translucent before adding in the radish.
  3. Add all the seasonings and continue frying until the radish releases oil.
  4. Make the pudding batter.
  5. Pour into greased moulds.
  6. Steam for 10-15 minutes over medium-high.
  7. Remove from moulds and serve topped with the radish.

STEP ONE – SOAK THE PRESERVED RADISH

The first step is very important, and that is to soak the preserved radish to remove any excess salt as it usually comes very heavily salted. Chop any pieces that are too big and dump it all into a sieve. Rinse it briefly, and place the sieve with the radish in it in a bowl of water while you mince the shallots and garlic.

After done mincing, the water would have turned a darker color, drain and rinse the radish again. Squeeze out excess water with your hands and set aside.

STEP TWO – SAUTE THE AROMATICS

Begin by adding ⅓ cup vegetable oil to a pot or wok. On medium heat, fry the shallots for 5 minutes before adding in the garlic. Once all the aromatics have turned translucent but not to the point of crisping up, add in the preserved radish.

STEP THREE – SEASON AND SET ASIDE

Add all the seasonings and continue frying on the same heat for 6-8 minutes. As this topping is meant to be oily, there should be quite a large amount of oil so don’t be put off. The radish will absorb a lot of the oil and you might feel the need to add more, but persevere and after a while, you’ll see the radish releasing all the oil it has absorbed. That’s when you know your topping is ready. Turn off the heat and set aside.

STEP FOUR – MAKE THE PUDDING BATTER

Measure out both flours and place them in a large bowl. Pour in 250ml of lukewarm water and stir until homogenous. Boil 500ml of water (this electric kettle makes it super easy!) and pour it immediately into the dry ingredients. Note: Immediately. Stir until combined and add in the oil. The mixture will be very watery at this point.

Prepare a double boiler and stir the mixture over medium heat until it thickens slightly. Working quickly, immediately remove from the heat and place on a very wet washcloth or bowl of iced water to stop the cooking.

Important: The base of the bowl must not be in direct contact with the boiling water

STEP FIVE – POUR INTO GREASED MOULDS

Lightly grease small, metal moulds with vegetable oil, feel free to use some of the oil from the topping we made just now. Use ceramic ramekins (the type used for souffles) or a muffin tin if you don’t have these moulds, they’ll work just as fine! Pour the mixture ¾ of the way full into each mould.

STEP SIX – STEAM UNTIL SET

Steam for 10-15 minutes over medium-high heat steaming or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the largest one comes out clean. This steamer does the job perfectly!

STEP SEVEN – REMOVE FROM MOULDS AND SERVE WITH THE TOPPING

Let cool and once at a manageable temperature, remove from the moulds and flip out onto a plate. Most people simply use toothpicks, but the thin side of a rubber spatula works beautifully as well. A jam knife is alright, but the serrated edges might damage the smooth sides of the puddings. Once fully cooled, serve topped with a generous helping of the preserved radish topping and chili sauce if you’d like.

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you’d prefer a stronger, fishier flavor, mince some soaked dried shrimps and saute them together with the shallots. Or go the extra mile by adding reconstituted dried shiitake mushrooms and minced pork as well. The umami flavor will be over the roof!

These rice puddings make for a great (albeit slightly heavy) breakfast, they also pack very well for school or work lunches, just bring a little extra! Serve with just the preserved radish or with any chili garlic sauce such as sriracha. Chili oil would be a delicious addition as well.

Make these for your friends and watch their confused expressions turn into delighted ones! For more recipes with rice flour, check out our Gluten-free vegan mushroom waffles!

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