Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bamboo Shoot Dumplings: 笋粿, Soon Kueh

笋粿 (pronounced Shun Guo, in Mandarin), most often known as Soon Kueh (a Hokkien/ Teochew pronunciation) in Singapore/Malaysia, is a semi-circular-shaped steamed Chinese dumpling originated as a Teochew (Chaochou) savory snack. Literally translated, these are also called bamboo shoot dumplings due to the bamboo shoot fillings in the dumplings. The flour dough/skin wrapping the fillings is made of rice flour.

Though we loosely call them "bamboo shoot dumplings", the versions sold in food stalls nowadays have fillings made of turnip (jicama) instead of bamboo shoots. Bamboo shoot - eh...that shall be the weekend plant for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Haalo from Cook(almost) Anything.

Bamboo shoots are low in fat and sodium, yet high in fiber, minerals and vitamins. In Chinese medicine, bamboo shoot is believed to lead to excretion and thus sometimes considered a means of detoxification (and even help you lose weight!). To this extent, some aspects of Chinese medicine even believes that if one is on medication, bamboo shoots must be avoided as the shoots will neutralize the effects of the drugs. In the US, bamboo shoots are usually canned and 99.9% of canned bamboo shoots has a foul-smell (ermmmm...most canned bamboo shoots smells terrible, to me). You can find fresh bamboo shoots in Asian supermarkets in parts of the US but beware - you must know how to cook fresh bamboo shoots as they are toxic when raw.

To make bamboo shoot (or turnip) dumplings, shredded bamboo shoots (or turnips) are usually fried with garlic, pork, dried shitake mushrooms, dried shrimps and then seasoned with salt and white pepper. These fillings are then wrapped in a semi-circular rice flour skin dough and further steamed to cook the dough and fillings.

In Singapore/Malaysia, we usually eat these dumplings with dark sweet sauce and chili condiments.

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