This popular snack in Southeast Asia is made shredded jicama and carrots enclosed in homemade soft, chewy sweet potato tapioca wrap and steamed to perfection. Served with chili sauce on the side.
I remember walking to this little shop that sold many snacks (we call it kue kue/kueh in Bahasa)almost every morning and few of the things I often got were Ma Lai Gao and this Chai Kueh. The uncle knew me and my sister. We were the frequent patrons to his shop.
Though the Chai Kueh in Singapore is slightly different than the one we have in Medan. But I love them both. In medan, the two versions I know are these you are seeing here made with sweet potato wrap and these, which is translucent in color. We call it Chai Pao in Medan, but they are known as Chai Kueh in Singapore and Malaysia.
If you have never tried jicama, you should. This tuber is crunchy and sweet in nature and commonly used in Southeast Asia. My mom sometimes cook the filling as a side dish to go with rice. Super yummy!
The other variety of Chai Pao you might like with different skin wrapper is HERE
Please weigh ingredients with a digital kitchen scale instead of using measuring cups as they are not very accurate especially when it comes to recipe that requires precision.
- 1 lb jicama peeled and shredded
- 2 large carrots peeled and shredded
- 2 oz green beans cut off both ends and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and finely minced
- 6 oz raw medium shrimp - optional - peeled, deveined and chop finely
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp cooking oil
- 300 gr peeled sweet potato - cut into small cubes
- 500 ml water
- 500 gr tapioca flour
- Small pinch of salt
- 10 medium-size dried chili soaked in warm water to rehydrate
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 6 oz shallots - peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 cup cooking oil
Preparing shallot oil:
- Preheat the oil in a medium size skillet. When it's hot, add the sliced shallots. You may need to lower the heat a little bit to prevent the shallots burning too quickly. Cook on medium heat until they are golden brown. They will still appear to be soft when you lift them out from the oil, but they will crisp up when they cool down. The fried shallots can be stored in airtight container as topping and the oil can be used for stir-frying vegetables and other use
Preparing the skin:
- Boil the sweet potato cubes in 500 ml water until fork-tender, about 5-8 minutes. You may lose some of the liquid but it shouldn't be too much. While the water is still hot, gradually add in the tapioca flour until you are able to form a smooth pliable dough. This is important or the dough will be dry and hard to roll if the water is not hot boiling. You may need more flour or less flour depending on the sweet potato. So, it is important to add the flour a little bit at a time. The dough should feel smooth and does not stick to your hand.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes. It is important not to skip this step. You can even do this one day before and place in refrigerator. Just bring it back to room temperature when you are ready to work with the dough
- Lightly dust your work surface with a little bit of tapioca flour and divide your dough into 3 to 4 balls. Dust your rolling pin lightly with some tapioca flour and roll it into 1/8-inch thickness. If you have cookie cutter, use cookie cutter to cut out circles, or you can use the rim of the cup, glass or bowl to cut the dough too
Preparing chili sauce:
- Place all the chili sauce ingredient in a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into a small saucepan and cook until the sugar dissolves. The sauce should be slightly sweet and tangy. Adjust by adding more sugar or vinegar to your liking, It should be spicy with slightly tang and just hint of sweetness
Preparing the filling:
- Preheat oil in a large wok or skillet. Saute the garlic for about 10 seconds, add in the shrimp (if using) and cook until they turn color, about 30 seconds or so. Add in the jicama and carrots and cook for about 2 minutes. Add in salt and sugar stir to mix everything. Have a taste and season with more salt or sugar to your taste. Remove from the heat and let it cool off completely before wrapping
Making the skin wrapper, wrapping, and steaming:
- The dough might stick to your working surface after you roll it out, which is fine, You can remove it by sliding the knife underneath it to remove the flattened dough, this will ensure you dough is thin enough. Place about 1-2 Tbsp of fillings in the middle of the flatten dough. Close one end to another to form a half-circle and pinch to seal the edge. Place them on a greased plate and steam for 15 minutes or until the skin is transparent. Brush with some shallot oil before serving. Serve with chili sauce on the side