Chinese Chives Balls – Khanom Kui Chai Dessert

Chinese Chive Balls (ขนมกุยช่าย)

This Thai dessert recipe comes from Thailand but includes Chinese chives, an ingredient. Chinese Chives in a Ball is made from rice flour. It’s served with three flavors of Black and Sweet Soy Sauce.

Khanom Kui Chai is a Thai snack that translates to “Chinese Chive Cakes.” These savory treats are a popular street food item in Thailand, especially in markets or areas known for their diverse culinary offerings. Wherever you have streets of Chinese people living, you can definitely find this dessert!

The main ingredients in Khanom Kui Chai are Chinese chives (also known as garlic chives or ku chai), which give the cakes their distinctive flavor. The chives are mixed with a batter made from rice flour, tapioca flour, and sometimes wheat flour, creating a slightly chewy and glutinous texture.

To prepare Khanom Kui Chai, the batter is ladled onto a hot griddle or frying pan, forming small round cakes. They’re cooked until golden brown and crispy on the outside while remaining soft and slightly chewy inside.

These cakes are usually served with a sweet and savory dipping sauce made from ingredients like soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and sometimes chili flakes or garlic, providing a delightful contrast to the subtle onion-like flavor of the chives.

To be honest, we like them plain too!

Khanom Kui Chai are enjoyed for their unique taste and texture, making them a popular choice among locals and visitors exploring Thailand’s diverse street food scene.

Prepare Ingredients for Khanom Kui Chai

  • 1 cup Rice Flour
  • 1 cup Glutinous Rice Flour
  • 1/4 cup Tapioca Flour
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cup drinking Water

Cooking Instructions

1. In a big bowl, sift together rice flour, glutinous rice flour, and tapioca flour.

2. Add water and vegetable oil and mix well.

3. In a Teflon pan, heat the flour on medium fire. Use a paddle to stir until it’s cooked. Notice that the flour does not stick to the pan anymore.

4. Remove from the stove.

5. When it is less warm, knead it well with another 1/4 cup of tapioca flour.

6. Leave it in a bowl, cover it with a wet white cloth, and let’s cook the stuffing part.

Stuffing Recipe 1 (Chinese Chives)

Prepare Chinese Chives Stuffing Recipe 1

  • 1 cup Chinese Chives (cut 1 cm.)
  • 1/4 tsp. Sodium Bicarbonate (commonly known as Baking Soda)
  • 1 tbsp. black and sweet Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp. light Soy Sauce (Golden Mountain is a good brand. Avoid Japanese brands – too harsh.)
  • 2 tsp. Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tbsp. minced Garlic

Stuffing Recipe 1 Cooking Instructions

1. Heat the pan. Add vegetable oil. Wait until the pan is hot.
2. Add garlic, Chinese chives, baking soda, black and sweet soy sauce, light soy sauce and sugar. Stir fry until the Chinese chives are soft. Remove from the stove.

Stuffing Recipe 2 (Bamboo)

Prepare the Stuffing Recipe 2

  • 1/2 cup cooked Bamboo (cut long and thin shape)
  • 1/2 cup minced Pork or Chicken
  • 1/4 cup dried Shrimp (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tbsp. light Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp. minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp. Pepper Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt

Stuffing Recipe 2 Cooking Instructions

1. Heat the pan. Add vegetable oil. Wait until the pan is hot.
2. Add garlic and fry until it has an aromatic smell.
3. Add chicken or pork. Cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add light soy sauce, pepper, salt, and dried shrimp. Mix well and remove from the stove.

Dipping Sauce

  • 1 tbsp. sliced Chili Pepper of any color
  • 1/2 cup black and sweet Soy Sauce
  • 3 tbsp. light Soy Sauce
  • 5 tbsp. Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar

Mix them all together.

7. Now, get back to the dough we prepare from the very first step.

Make a ball from the dough. Tuck any stuffing you like and roll it back to the ball shape. Use your two hands to squeeze it a little bit to make it flat. Make sure you don’t see the stuff coming out.

8. Dress vegetable oil in a steaming pot. Place the balls in it and steam for 20 minutes. After that, remove from the pot and put fried garlic on top. Dress some oil from fried garlic on them too, so each piece won’t stick to each other.

Stuffing can vary depending on your imagination. You may add boiled taro or potato then add some pepper and salt. Shrimps and tofu are your choices but not the whole fish with its head and Pla Rah from my previous recipe. 🙂 haha

It won’t taste good together.

3 thoughts on “Chinese Chives Balls – Khanom Kui Chai Dessert”

  1. I love Khanom Gui Chai. And your recipe is just WOW … crispy on te oustide and softy on the inside !!!! mmmmmmmmmmh
    I didn’t try yet the other recipe with the meat but for sure i will : )

  2. Vern & Joy

    How are you and your darling little baby girl doing? She must be pulling hersdelf up by now. I think she is 8-9 months old now!

    We enjoyed our Oct-Dec Thai-Laos trip so much!

  3. Hey, I was wondering how does cook flour look like? I heated it for a while. But since I placed the dough in the pan, it didn’t stick so I am not sure how it should look like. My dough seems to be so oily and it crumbles upon touch. I’m sorry. Since I’m just an amateur when it comes to making dough and such.

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