How to Make Woon Chai Koh

Woon Chai Koh a.k.a Steamed Rice Cake

When literally translated this favourite from my childhood means “Little Bowl Cake”. The dish is very similar to the more popularly-known Chwee Kueh, but uses a larger mould and has an extra dark sauce topping that goes with it.

Many years ago, without knowing how to make Woon Chai Koh, I improvised on the recipe. Using palm sugar (Gula Melaka) syrup to represent the dark sauce may sound weird to those who have eaten the dish before, but it actually works very well.

(Serves 4)


  • 300 g rice flour, about 2 cups
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1.2 L water
  • 2 Tbsp oil, for moulds

For topping 1 –

  • ½ cup Carotino oil
  • ½ cup minced preserved radish
  • 4 Tbsp garlic, minced

For topping 2 –

  • 1 log Gula Melaka (palm sugar), about ½ cup grated and packed
  • 2 cups water


  1. Combine all rice cake ingredients except oil in a heavy-based, non-stick saucepan. Mix well then cook on low heat until thickened to a paste consistency.
  2. Brush 8 rice bowls with oil, spoon in paste and smooth the top with a spatula.
  3. Steam filled bowls on high heat for 20 minutes, or until firm and cooked through. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Topping 1 –

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add minced garlic and minced preserved radish, fry on low heat until aromatic and golden brown. Cool.

Topping 2 –

  1. Combine palm sugar and water in a small saucepan. Cook until all the sugar is dissolved and sauce is slightly thickened. Cool.

To Assemble –

  1. Using a butter knife, cut the rice flour cake into 9 pieces while still in the bowl. Run knife around the edge of the bowl, then “pop” the pieces out onto a deep serving plate.
  2. Serve topped with 1 Tbsp of garlic topping and 1 Tbsp palm sugar syrup.

woon chai koh

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