Ever heard of wa kueh? This steamed rice cake dish, once sold by street peddlers over 50 years ago, has slowly faded out of many Singaporeans’ memories over the years.
In Flavour Memories, we challenge Singaporean chef, Pamelia Chia, to recreate wa kueh entirely out of her father-in-law’s memory. Will she succeed? 🙈
1.5 tablespoons rendered lard
½ large onion, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
150g boneless pork scotch fillet, cut into small dice
15g dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked, stems removed, diced
20g haebee, soaked, chopped coarsely
¾ tablespoons soy sauce
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Hot water mixture:
1 tablespoon lard
½ tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoons salt
100g rice flour
2 teaspoons chicken powder (if omitting, use chicken stock instead of water)
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
2 teaspoons sugar
Pinch of white pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed in a small amount of water to form a slurry
¾ tablespoon dark soy sauce or caramel sauce
Toppings (use as much or as little as you want):
2 tablespoons rendered lard
8 tablespoons cai poh, washed well and squeezed dry
3 tablespoons kecap manis
6 spring onions, sliced
6 tablespoons minced garlic
Crispy lard (from 200g pork fat)
– Fry the onion in the lard until well-browned, then add the garlic and haebee and stir-fry for 1 minute.
– Add the mushrooms and pork scotch. Fry until the pork turns opaque.
– Add the soy sauce and white pepper.
– Season with more salt to taste, if necessary, and set aside.
– For the hot water mixture, heat the water, lard, sugar and salt in a pot or wok and bring to a boil.
– Meanwhile, whisk all ingredients for the rice batter together. Add the boiling mixture in the pot to the rice batter, stirring constantly.
– Return this mixture to the wok and cook until the paste thickens.
– Stir in the filling ingredients and divide amongst oiled bowls.
– Steam over high heat for 30 minutes or until a toothpick emerges cleanly.
– Meanwhile, heat all the sauce ingredients in a pan, except the cornstarch slurry and dark soy sauce.
– Bring to a boil and add the cornstarch slurry and adjust to the colour you prefer with dark soy sauce.
– Unmould the wa kueh onto plates and drizzle with sauce. Sprinkle toppings over and serve with chilli sauce.