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Chaw Muang

Chaw muang are steamed, handcrafted flower shaped dumplings filled with savory sweet meat filling. I like to think of them as a higher maintenance sibling to a sakoo yut sai or sakoo sai moo, which are tapioca dumplings which feature the same sweet and savory filling.

Chaw Muang made with Mooncake Press

Chaw muang, translates to purple bouquet (or rather bouquet purple). Each dumpling is crafted to look like a flower and they traditionally get their purple color from butterfly pea tea. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to get a more purple color. But you can use, pandan for green, beets, for red, or even roselle like I did. Though, I have to note that if you are using roselle, it does add a little tartness to the dough. So, you do get added flavors with these natural food colors.


Crimper vs Mooncake Press – You can use either, but I like the mooncake press because it is more efficient. You get beautiful flowers in a fraction of the time. The mooncake presses are also great for shortbread cookies. They are a nice tool to have around. They are not just for mooncakes. Make sure to get the smaller (50g) press, otherwise you will have huge dumplings! Also, did I mention they are easier to find and are half the price of the chaw muang crimpers.

Filling – make it how you would make sakoo yut sai or sakoo sai moo minus the turnip and that other fluff. Some people like it sweeter and some like it savory. I am on the savory side, so I tend to an additional pinch of salt. You can adjust the filling to your taste.

Arrowroot vs Tapioca Starch – many people like to say they are substitutable, but I tested them and they ARE NOT equal. They do not yield the same product. There’s a noticeable difference in the dough and the final product. If you are using the tapioca starch, you won’t get the goo when you cook the dough. Your dough will be drier and crumblier. This will make it harder to work with as the dough will have a tendency to fall part. It won’t be smooth and you will have a hard time crimping it. If using tapioca starch the mooncake press is the way to do. The final dumplings will also be slightly stiffer than the arrowroot dumplings. Using tapioca starch is passable as a substitute and it will produce you flower dumplings, but it will not be the same.

Arrowroot starch – is made from the rhizomes of the arrowroot plant. It is gluten free. If you use it in baked goods it will add a chewy texture. It can be found at your local Asian market or at pretty much any grocer. I found it at the grocery store down the street.

Color – as mentioned you can use all kinds of natural coloring, but if you don’t have access to those. {{Gasp}} you can just use your run of the mill food coloring and add it water.

Chaw Muang

Time: 1.25
Yields: 16-18 dumplings


10 oz ground pork or chicken
½ onion, diced
5-6 coriander/cilantro stems/roots
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fish sauce
¼ teaspoon white pepper
30g palm sugar (I used 2 (15g) cubes and shaved them)
Pinch of salt (as need – adjust to taste)**
¼ cup dry roasted peanuts, crushed (can be optional)


1 ½ cup (200g) rice flour
3 tablespoons (25g) arrowroot starch
2 tablespoons (16g) glutinous rice flour
¼ cup coconut milk
1 cup hot water (plus more if needed)
2-3 tablespoons dried butterfly pea tea


Fried garlic
Jeow wan

Special tool:
Chaw muang crimpers or
Small mooncake press

• Steep butterfly pea tea in the hot water for 10 minutes. Then strain out the blossoms from the liquid and set aside.
• Make the filling. Using a mortar and pestle or a small food processor, pound or process the garlic and coriander stems/roots until you get a paste.
• While you have the mortar and pestle (or processor out), pound or crush the peanuts.
• In a wok over medium heat, add vegetable oil. Next add the onion and let cook until translucent. Then add the garlic coriander paste and cook until fragrant. Add the ground meat, followed by fish sauce, white pepper and palm sugar. You can adjust to taste and add a minute of salt (if you prefer more savory) or more sugar (if you prefer sweeter). Let the meat cook fully through and the filling darken slightly. Transfer into a bowl and set aside.
• Make the dough. In a pan with the heat off, add rice flour, arrowroot starch. Then add the coconut milk and butterfly pea tea. Stir to incorporate ingredients. Turn on the heat to a medium-low to medium heat. The mixture will turn to goo over the heat, but continue to cook it until the liquid has evaporated and it starts to look like dough.
• Turn the dough unto a rice floured surface. Knead until you get a smooth dough.
• Pinch a piece of dough about an inch in size. Roll into a ball. Flatten into a disc. Add a spoonful of filling. Enclose the dough around the filling and roll it up into a ball again.
• If using the mooncake press, place the press over the ball and press down to form the flower shape.
• If using the crimpers, flatten the bottom of the ball. Then use the crimper to crimp petals all the way around the side and in layers up to the top center of the ball.
• Place the formed dumplings onto line steamer trays. Steam for 6-8 minutes or until done.
• Serve with fried garlic, lettuce, chilies, coriander/cilantro, and even with jeow wan.

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