Monday, July 19, 2010

Jamaican-Hakka Chinese Lo Pet Ban (Daikon Radish Dumplings)

 Is that a rabbit covering the Lo Pet Ban?!

Lorraine has this recipe for these traditional Hakka dumplings. I helped her to make them and it took us about 6 hours from grating the daikon to steaming the little buns. In the village, she says, the women would get together to make these in a day. But the Hakka diaspora is gradually losing their culinary heritage as few women today have the time to make these delicious dumplings. This recipe is worth sharing if only to preserve something unique in the Jamaican-Hakka Chinese culture. Below this are pictures showing the step-by-step process for making Lo Pet Ban.

6 lb daikon, washed, scraped with a potato peeler, and grated
1 cup dried shrimp, washed, picked over, and coarsely chopped
1 bunch scallion, diced finely.
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper
1/3-1/2 cup oil
***If desired, add a pound of cooked ground pork, or 1 cup of chopped fresh shrimp, or 1 cup soaked and chopped Chinese dried mushrooms, and/or 1 country pepper, seeded and chopped (scotch bonnet or habañero) 

Grate the daikon. Throw off the water that springs from the grated radish. Put half or one-third of grated daikon in a large dutch pot and add 1-2 cups water to cook it down. Reduce heat to medium and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. After 15-20 minutes, when the daikon is soft and translucent, remove to a colander and squeeze out 1 cup liquid with a potato masher or with your hands. Repeat with the remaining grated daikon.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet. Fry shrimp and scallion. Add meat or shrimp or mushrooms, if using. Add cooked and drained daikon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 1/3-1/2 cup oil to thoroughly coat the daikon mixture. Add country pepper, if using. Set aside in a colander to drain excess liquid. [Cook's note: do not worry if the filling is strong tasting, too spicy, and salty because the flavors will be absorbed by the wrapper on steaming.]

Dumpling Skins:
454g (1 lb) rice flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups boiling water plus 2 tablespoons
24 parchment squares 4"x4"

In a large bowl, add the rice flour and 1 cup of the hot water. Stir with wooden chopsticks or a wooden spoon. Add the second up of hot water and stir to combine. Add the all purpose flour one tablespoon at a time and continue mixing. The texture should be soft, velvety, and elastic. While making dumplings, cover the dough with a wet paper towel.

Prepare steamer and bring water to a boil on high heat. 

Pinch off a 2 inch ball of dough. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a 6" round. Fill, tamping down the filling with the back of a teaspoon, and leaving a 1 1/2 inch border. Fold up, making accordion pleats. Twist gently and pinch off the excess dough as close to the bun as possible. Return excess dough to the bowl to reuse. Place the bun, seam-side down on a parchment square and place in the steamer. Reduce heat to medium high. Steam buns for 1/2 hour. The dough will turn translucent when cooked. Lo pet ban can be stored frozen for up to 6 months. [Cook's note: what to do with leftover filling or dough. Eat the filling with steamed rice and fill the remaining dough with any chopped leftover meat and vegetables. Steam as usual.]


Six pounds grated daikon go...

 ...into the pot to cook down.

Kneading the dough for the dumpling skins

Rolling out the dough into a 6" circle

Filling the dumpling wrap. Tamp down filling with the back of a teaspoon.

Folding the dumpling closed with accordion pleats

Twist gently and pinch off the excess dough

 Place dumplings seam side down on a square of parchment. Put dumplings in steamer.

After half-an-hour steaming, the dumplings will look translucent.

 Koko Mo NK'ye and the Lo Pet Ban


  1. thanks for posting this recipe!! i haven't had lo pet ban since I lived in Jamaica and my Jia Po used to make them for us. One weekend I think I'll get my mom and some friends together and we can recreate these. Yum!

  2. that filling has a special flavour and I am trying to get it right. It takes too long to make the ban so my short cut is to get rice noodles lasagne size and layer it with the daikon or cho-cho filling.

  3. Hi! Khru Jo Anne,

    I am half Hakka and half Cantonese I have lived in south East Asia as a child, We moved to North America a very many years ago, I miss this childhood treat too .

    Your lo pet ban look exactly like what my Jia Po (Maternal grandma) used to make and the filling in your receipt is almost identical to our, except the Dumpling Skins, I believe traditionally it was made from sweet Rice flour or a mix of 2 part Sweet Rice flour and 1 part regular Rice flour.
    Wonder for some reason Hakka in Jamaica have substituted the all-purpose flour for Sweet Rice flour? I believe the texture of the wheat flour is very different from that of Sweet flour.


  4. I make a lot of lopet mostly for family and friends.

    Your recipe is almost exactly what I use. Propotions Glutinous flour to all purpose flour.Only the glutinous flour now comes 400 gr. per package.
    Probably the Jamaican Hakka used all purpose, as the sweet rice flour is not available here. Its much cheaper, and they taste just as i remembered my Mom's!!

  5. Do you have a recipe for sho baos dough?