Kok Chai (Mini Peanut Puffs) are a traditional Chinese New Year snack prepared to symbolize abundant wealth. They are sweet, crunchy, and fun to eat.
Chinese New Year is a huge celebration for the Chinese people all over the world and this celebration can last up to 15 days. As such, many households prepare a myriad of traditional confectionery depending on where they are geographically. In Malaysia and Singapore, Kok Chai (Mini Peanut Puffs) are one of the favorites. These treats are not only fun to eat but they also symbolize abundant wealth which is a good and auspicious thing to have for the celebrations.
Kok Chai – a Crunchy Cookie
Kok Chai (Mini Peanut Puffs) look like mini versions of the ever popular curry puffs but the filling is sweet instead of savory. It is made up of crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, and sugar. The pastry or dough is deep fried to almost a crisp so that the entire thing is like a crunchy cookie. Technique and patience are key to getting the texture just right.
The Third Time’s a Charm
Since I have not eaten Kok Chai in eons, it took me 3 tries to reproduce it the way I remember it to be. The first time, I used an egg in the dough and it came out soft on the inside like curry puffs. It was much, much better the second time when I omitted the egg but I felt it could be further improved. On my third try I decided to change the dough formula slightly and bingo, I think I got just right! At least that is my personal preference but all the three guys had a different opinion.
They said that while the dough on the third try was crunchier, they felt that the dough on the second try had a better flavor. It was 3 against 1. The difference is subtle but discernible. I have included both versions in the recipe below and you can decide which one you like better.
Sweet Lunar New Year Party
This post is part of a virtual #SweetLunarNewYear and #ChineseNewYearCookieParty with a group of awesome food bloggers. I hope you get to check out all the wonderful recipes listed here. My Kok Chai (Mini Peanut Puffs) recipe is in the recipe card below this list. My other blog, Roti n Rice is also a participant with this Cashew Nut Cookies recipe.
Snow Fungus Soup by Vermilion Roots
Indonesian Honeycomb Cake (Bingka Ambon) by What To Cook Today
Chinese Peanut Cookies by Wok & Skillet
Vietnamese Steamed Rice Cakes by A Taste of Joy and Love
Gluten-Free Chinese Almond Cookies by Grits & Chopsticks
Black Sesame Shortbread Cookies by Little Sweet Baker
Ice Cream Mooncakes by Brunch-n-Bites
Coconut Red Bean Pudding by The Missing Lokness
Korean Caramelized Sweet Potatoes (Goguma Mattang) by What Great Grandma Ate
Cashew Nut Cookies by Anncoo Journal
One Bite Pine Nut Cookies by Yummy Workshop
Baked Coconut Walnut Sticky Rice Cake by Jeanette’s Healthy Living
Black Sesame Cream Puffs by Pink Wings
Cashew Nut Cookies by Roti n Rice
Thousand Layer Cake (Lapis Legit) by Daily Cooking Quest
Pineapple Cookies (Nastar) by V for Veggy
Almond Orange Spiral Cookies by Butter & Type
Three Color Dessert (Che Ba Mau) by The Viet Vegan
Year of the Rooster Mochi by Thirsty for Tea
Korean Tea Cookies (Dasik) by Kimchimari
Sweet Sticky Nian Gao (Kuih Bakul) by Lisa’s Lemony Kitchen
Sweet Rice Balls with Peanut Butter (Tang Yuan) by Omnivore’s Cookbook
Candied Ginger (Mut Gung) by Plant Crush
Chick Egg Tarts by Dessert Girl
Red Bean Soup with Black Glutinous Rice by Nut Free Wok
Orange Scented Sweet Red Bean by Lime and Cilantro
I invite you to join the party on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) with the hashtag #SweetLunarNewYear and #ChineseNewYearCookieParty (for cookie recipes) and share your dessert or cookie creations with us. Tag me @malaysianchinesekitchen so I can see your wonderful creations.
The dough on my second try was made using only all-purpose flour. It had a deeper color. The dough on my third try was made with a combination of all-purpose and rice flour. It had a lighter color and turned out to be slightly crunchier after deep frying. The filling in the recipe below is sufficient for 32 Kok Chai (Mini Peanut Puffs). If you want to use only one version of dough, please double the ingredients in the dough recipe.
It is important to deep fry the Kok Chai (Mini Peanut Puffs) over medium low heat for 4 to 5 minutes so that they become crunchy. The insides will be soft if they turn brown too quickly in the oil.
All-purpose dough for 16 mini peanut puffs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (150g)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup vegetable oil (60ml)
- ⅓ cup water (80ml)
All-purpose and rice flour dough for 16 mini peanut puffs
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour (112g)
- ¼ cup rice flour (32g)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup vegetable oil (60ml)
- ⅓ cup water (80ml)
Filling for 32 mini peanut puffs
- ½ cup shelled raw peanuts (75g)
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds (18g)
- ¼ cup sugar (53g)
- Toast peanuts in a small fry pan over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly brown. Remove and allow peanuts to cool. Coarsely chop or grind peanuts.
- Toast sesame seeds in the same pan for 1 to 2 minutes until lightly brown.
- Combine peanuts, sesame seeds, and sugar in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside.
- Combine all-purpose flour (rice flour, if using) and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour vegetable oil into the well. Mix with a spatula. Slowly add water a little at a time to form a soft, non-sticky dough. You may or may not require the full ⅓ cup (80ml) water.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a clean work surface for 3 to 4 minutes. Form dough into a ball and place it back into the bowl. Cover with a towel and allow dough to rest for 10 minutes.
- Remove dough from the bowl and shape into a cylinder about 12 inches long. Cut dough into 16 equal size pieces.
Forming the Mini Puffs
- Take a piece of dough and shape it into a circle of about 2½ inches in diameter by rotating and flattening the edges. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center.
- Fold the dough into a semi circle. Seal by pressing and pleating the edges together. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Frying the Mini Puffs
- Heat about an inch of vegetable oil in a wok to fry everything at one go or a small saucepan to fry in batches.
- Deep fry mini puffs over medium low heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and allow mini puffs to drain in a metal strainer.
- Allow kok chai (mini peanut puffto cool completely before storing in air tight containers for up to 2 weeks.
may the YEAR OF THE ROOSTER bring you good health and great prosperity!