Don’t let the amount of vegetables in this popular street food throw you off. I didn’t love vegetables as a kid and I would devour these every time. Garlic chives become so tender they almost melt in your mouth, and with the soft & chewy dough that is crispy on the outside…and the sweet & sour dipping sauce…oh man…these are a MUST try.

They are also perfect make-ahead appetizers. You can make the dumplings and keep them in your fridge, and fry them up when ready to eat. The dipping sauce will also last you a long time in the fridge as well.

There are two types of kanom guichai: the stuffed version, which is much harder, and these fried ones, which are much easier and quicker to prepare, and IMO they’re just as delicious if not more because they are crispy! Oh yeah, and it happens to be gluten-free and vegan and all that good stuff


  • Dumplings
    • 230 g garlic chives, (half a pound, see note)
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • ½ tablespoon soy sauce
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon baking soda, (optional)
    • 2 teaspoons garlic oil , (or cooking oil with a dash of garlic powder)
    • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
    • 100 g rice flour
    • 100 g tapioca starch
    • 1 cup water
  • Dipping Sauce
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • 1 tablespoon vinegar
    • ½ tablespoon sweet soy sauce, (I use ABC kecap manis)
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 2-3 teaspoons sambal oelek, or pounded or minced Thai chilies to taste


1. After washing and drying the chives (see important note) cut the chives into small pieces, a little shy of 1 cm, and place in a mixing bowl. Add salt, sugar, soy sauce, baking soda, white pepper and garlic oil and mix until combined. Let sit for at least 20 minutes or until the chives look wilted, and liquid has been drawn out of them.
2. Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce by combining vinegar, water and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add all remaining ingredients are stir to combine. This sauce will keep in the fridge for weeks!
3. Make the batter: Combine water, rice flour and tapioca starch in a pot and stir until there are no more lumps. Turn the heat on LOW and stir the mixture constantly with a spatula. As the flour starts to cook and congeal into lumps, pull the pot off heat occasionally to smush any flour lumps against the sides to break them up. Continue stirring CONSTANTLY just until the mixture is thick enough that the chives can be evenly suspended in the batter. Remove from heat and continue stirring to break up any lumps of flour to make sure the consistency of the batter is even throughout. (Your batter does not need to be as thick as mine got in the video, as long as it’s thick enough to suspend the chives, you’ll be fine. Be careful not to cook the batter too much or you will have a hard time incorporating the chives into it.)
4. Once the chives are wilted, stir them into the batter until well combined.
5. Grease a 7-inch round cake pan with oil (or use any heatproof container of your choice, making sure the batter comes up to about 2 cm thick). Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth off the top.
6. Preheat a steamer with boiling water. Wrap a towel around the lid of the steamer to prevent water from dripping onto the surface of the dumplings. Steam the dumplings for 15 minutes or until fully cooked.
7. Let the dumpling cool in the pan just until cool enough to handle. Run a knife along the sides and flip it out, then let it cool as much as time will allow (it’s easier to cut when cool). Use a sharp knife, grease it with oil, and cut the dumplings into bite-sized cubes. If there is a lot of dough sticking to the blade between cuts, wipe it off and re-oil the blade.
8. You can keep the dumplings at this stage in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week, and fry them whenever you’re ready to eat.
9. Fry the dumplings: In a non-stick pan, add just enough oil so it comes up just below half the height of the dumplings. Heat until hot and fry them on both sides until well browned and crispy, making sure to not let them touch while in the pan or they will stick together. Drain excess oil on a paper towel-lined plate.
10. Serve while they’re hot and crispy with the dipping sauce!


Garlic Chive Note: Cut about 1.5 inch off the bottom, or until you’ve got only about 1/2 inch of the white part remaining. Some garlic chives can harbor a lot of dirt at the bottom of the plant where the leaves are joined, so shake them in a bowl of cold water to remove the dirt before using. IMPORTANT: After washing dry off the chives as best you can! If there is a lot of water left in the chives it will make the dough mushy. I shake off the water as much as possible, (use a salad spinner if you have it), then lay them on a tea towel, cover them with another, and roll them gently between the two towels.  If you’ve got time, you can also wash them before you use them and spread them out on a tray to dry off. 




Pailin Chongchitnant


4 servings




Asian : South East Asian : Thai