Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Hakka Steamed Radish Dumpling ~ 蘿蔔粄 (Law Pet Ban)

Both my parents are Hakka descendants and when we were little wewere taught to speak our parents' mother tongue, Hakka.  As we grew older, English quickly became our preferred language as we were surrounded in English language through school, television and our friends.  We still had to speak Chinese at home to our parents though and we even went to Chinese School to learn how to read and write in Cantonese.  Nowadays, we mainly speak Cantonese at home. 

Mealtimes were almost always Chinese meals and often Hakka specialities.  Sometimes mum would make Hakka snacks, one of these were Radish Dumplings 蘿蔔粄 (Law Pet Ban).

It has a soft dough that almost sticks to your teeth without being tough and chewy and is filled with shredded radish which is seasoned with lots of white pepper, sweetened with dried shrimps with ground pork and Chinese mushrooms for added flavour.

She made these back in November (I've been meaning to blog about so many things!  I have a backlog building up!) and although I wanted to help her - the technique she used to roll the dough skin seemed tricky.  She was precise with the dough skin, it had to be a certain thickness and if it wasn't right she would scrunch the dough up and start again. 

 Here you can see her rolling the dough around an orange.  This is so it will have the 'cupped' shape which is then generously filled.

Stuffed and steamed ready for sampling! Mmm!  Reminds me of my childhood days!


  1. My grandma makes this too! I really enjoy eating it. I think my grandma has an easier method, where she just puts the filling in and wraps it up so that it ends up with a ridge in the middle. Not a such a hassle and fast to wrap. Will you be sharing the recipe?

  2. Lynne...mmmm I can smell the radish dumpling thru the screen :) salivating now and hungry too :)

    Muax Minh for me :)

  3. Esther - I have no idea how to make this. My mum had the filling and dough made. I just sat and watched. It was very much like being a kid again where all we did was watch mum at work, wanting to help but not wanting to get it wrong.

    I would imagine it's a couple of large radishes, grated and cooked with some flavourful ingredients: chinese mushroom, dried shrimp, whatever you like. Seasoning: probably salt, soy, lots of white pepper. Make sure filling isn't too wet as it may burst the skin. No idea how the dough is made.

    lol Elin! Yes, cooked radish has a rather distinctive pungent aroma! Argh! I know what its like to want to lick the screen when you see something yummy! Minh has some new short videos!

  4. many languages! haha...I speak cantonese at home too and english elsewhere :) These dumplings looks delicious! I love how they are so perfectly round before steaming!

  5. Hi Von! How are you? Yeah, mum is fussy when it comes to the skin rolling so I thought I'd just watch. I think rolling round the orange made it beautifully cupped and round. Love the way mum makes them all the same size. Mine would be all different sizes! Ha Ha

  6. Oh, There really is radish in the dumpling.
    The recipe where I got it from uses jicama and shaped like a radish. It's actually a rare fare here, can rarely find it outside.
    The technique of shaping the dough with an orange is truly special.

  7. Hi, I was surfing for some Pau recipes and saw this post. Your mom used plain flour or glutinous flour. Mind sharing.

  8. Hi Callie, thanks for stopping by. It's not a steamed fluffy bun. The skin is thin but a little sticky and chewy. It is a mix of plain flour and glutinous rice flour.

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  10. A quite similar Hakka snack in this website.

  11. Thank you very much for recording this procedures. I'm Hakka too. This traditional winter solstice Hakka snack is fading out in our generation. It's really appreciated that you have it recorded in details. Thank you!

  12. Hi, I'm so glad I found you blog.... I was searching for Hakka dishes my mother used to cook. Was trying to replica some dishes this Lunar New Year.... afraid I was not very successful.
    Its like I hit a gold mine... Thanks a mill?