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Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Hakka Daikon Meatballs
My paternal grandma passed when I was twelve years old and sadly, many of our traditional family recipes died with her. Grandma was illiterate. She knew all her recipes by memory and never used any measuring devices. She eyeballed everything.

A week ago,  my dad said he missed his mom's *Hakka radish meatballs, a family favourite  we hadn't eaten for a very long time. Dad's sole surviving sibling, my aunt, the only person who knows how to prepare that dish is now in a nursing home.  But dementia has stolen the recipe from her.

I searched the internet for this very traditional dish, expecting images to pop up everywhere: Google, Pinterest, Instagram, etc but surprisingly, I only managed to find  two bloggers sharing this Hakka dish. The rest appeared to be  just recipes copied/shared  from these two sources.

Strange, but all the Hakka restaurants in Malaysia I've visited so far do not have this dish on their menu either!

*I am a 4th generation Malaysian Hakka. Hakka translates as "guest".  The Hakkas were a Chinese tribe who turned nomadic due to social calamities. They wound up in various parts of China, largely in the south and throughout the world. Since they were migrants, they were regarded as guests, hence the name.
Living under very harsh conditions and in strange lands, the Hakka people became very resilient. We, Hakka women, are known for our spunk and fierce nature!

When The Hubs, who is *Teochew, told his grandma he was going to marry me, she warned him that he would be marrying a very fierce woman!

*Teochew - a different Chinese tribe

I  made these from the recipe of  Kit Wai's Kitchen
Dad said these turned out pretty good but they did not taste quite like the ones Grandma used to make.

Hakka Daikon Meatballs

Ingredients :
300g grated Daikon, squeezed slightly dry
minced pork 300g
shredded dried squid 50g , soaked
dried shrimps 50g , soaked
minced garlic 1tbsp
oil 2tbsp

Seasoning :
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
tapioca flour 100g

Method :

1. Heat oil in a wok . Fry minced garlic , dried shrimps and shredded squid until fragrant. Remove and leave to cool .

2. Place all ingredients and seasonings into a bowl and mix well .

3. Place meat filling onto palm then clench it with your fist to squeeze the filling out from the index finger side of the fist . Shape filling into a ball . Place onto a steaming tray coated with a thin layer of oil .

4. Once water is boiling , steam over high heat for about 15 minutes until cooked .


  1. Its interesting the restaurants don't carry this recipe. Any thoughts why that might not be? Maybe not popular? How cute what your MIL said to your then future hubby upon his telling her he was marrying you. My mom's mother was the same way with recipes. She too was illiterate and "free poured" so to speak with recipes, but everything came out good according to my mom. Now you'll have to see if there are any recipes you make that your boys might be interested in having later when they are married that you'll have to tell their future wives to make.


  2. I have not tried this before but it looks tasty! Thanks for the recipe. I wanna try this out, my only worry is if it will taste good as Grandma's.
    The Glossychic
    Wonder Cottage

  3. That was good of you to make these for your dad. I know he appreciated it very much. Sometimes dishes go by the wayside because they were not shared with the younger generation.

    Have a fabulous day, Veronica. ♥

  4. Surprised that the recipe was so difficult to find.. unfortunately that is the case with some traditional family dishes of the past. My grandmother wrote everything is an old language. My mother has her recipe book but she can't find someone to translate it accurately.

  5. Did you father say how the taste was different? spicier? or with more of a taste of something? It's cool you were able to find a recipe for it even if it wasn't quite like his mother's. Still he must have been happy to finally eat some again.

    It might be one of those things that everyone's mom's used to make so no one thought to write it down. My mom cooked by feeling too and didn't write her recipes down so I don't know how to cook Okinawan food. hmmm, I'm a cookbook cook so I don't know how to cook most things unless I can follow a recipe even if I often change up the ingredients depending on what I actually have in the refrigerator.

  6. Sounds delicious and comforting X #anythinggoes

  7. Sounds delicious I know i would had enjoyed them heheh!

    Have a hakkatastic week :-)

  8. Preserving family recipes can be hard as in your case with nothing written done. My grandmother made fabulous homemade biscuits for most of her life. We never ever talked about how she made them when I was a child. When I was an adult she had already given up making them. Yes there are plenty of biscuit recipes but hers was slightly different somehow. I can't duplicate the taste. I'm glad you found a recipe for your family treasure. I hope you can play with it to give your father the right taste.

  9. that was nice of you to try to make these for him. I agree, the best recipe died with your grandmother but perhaps you can tweak the recipes you have found until you can get it closer to what she would have made. Thanks for linking up with us at #OMGHWW again and hope to see you next week.

  10. Thank you for joining the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous Wordless Wednesday, Veronica. ♥

  11. Those look so good! I'll have to try the recipe.

    I had some recipes like that. My Grandma's sugar cookies, her Swedish Meatballs and this one sounds odd - but they're really good Cinnamon Pickles. I made the Cinnamon Pickles last year. They were good.

  12. Wow! That sounds yummy! I will have to give it a try. So, your hubby married you even after his grandma warned him you are a fierce woman! :)

  13. Awww & are you daddy's lil girl? I was & my dad spoiled me rotten when I was little! ~hehehe~ Also, you did a great job trying to find your grandmother's recipe. My maternal gramma passed away too taking many recipes with her, but fortunately I was at her house a lot & she watched me when I was little. My nana didn't believe in store bought bread or mops. You made it & got on your knees to clean it. Women belong in the kitchen she use to say & she taught me how to cook. Nothing really has a recipe to her it was all by taste & feel. Couldn't tell me a teaspoon of this or a tablespoon of that. So that's how I learned (nana was from Sicily) & I'm told I'm a very good cook & make the best lasagna in town. Gee, I haven't thought about that in a long time. I miss my nana so much! Thanks for sharing your experience. Keep trying & don't follow the recipe to a T, shake & pinch most of all taste... you'll get your gramma's touch in no time I'm sure. She's always there with you my friend just ask for her advice & see what happens. hugs & have a great day!!!

  14. "spunk and fierce nature" described my friend whose grandfather or greatgrandfather became a guest of Hawaii. :-)

  15. I am sorry the original recipe is lost. These look good.