Monday, March 22, 2010

Kikiam or Que Kiam

There are two main reasons why I’d like to prepare the popular Chinese dish called “Que Kiam” made from minced pork and shrimps, some vegetables like water chest nut or “jicama” (“singkamas”), carrots, onion and garlic, flavored with “que kiam” powder or “goyong powder” or wrapped in bean curd sheets called “tawpe” and then deep-fried until golden brown. Firstly, I really enjoy eating it from roadside eateries and cart kiosks plying the busy streets of towns and cities of the Philippines along with the more popular fish balls and squid balls. Secondly, I’d like to have a ready stock of “kikiam” balls in my freezer to be able to cook the famous “Loming Lipa”, where it is a major ingredient, whenever I want to.

“Que Kiam”, called “kikiam” in Filipino was introduced to the Philippines and like the other Chinese balls, dumplings and dimsum dishes, was widely accepted by the Filipino people, specially the masses. It is now considered as part of its unique amalgamated cuisine. It is regularly eaten as an afternoon snack and appetizer or “pulutan” dipped in sweet and sour sauce and likewise commonly used as an ingredient in some soup and fried noodle dishes. I particularly like it as among the ingredients in “Filipino Pancit Bihon”, “Easy Pancit Miki” and “Sotanghon-Miki Guisado” but I just don’t have some when I prepared those dishes before. :-( More importantly I love it in the rich and thick “lomi” noodles the way it is prepared in Lipa City, Batangas (Philippines) as mentioned above.

While “kikiam” is normally elongated and wrapped in bean curd sheet, it can also be prepared round like meat balls or fish/squid balls and no longer wrapped in “tawpe” but flavored with “kikiam” powder to attain that distinct earthy taste the dish has been known for. The powder which is brown in color resembles a paprika and is now widely available in wet markets, groceries and supermarkets, unlike some 5 years ago when it was really difficult to find.

To cook the dish, a kilo (1,000 grams) of minced pork of about 70% meat and 30% fat is an ideal choice. But of course, you can always use leaner meat or whatever you have in your freezer. Drain the meat thoroughly.

The other ingredients needed are: several pieces of shrimps (about 150 grams), shelled and minced, ½ cup minced onion, 2 tbsp minced garlic, ½ cup minced water chest nut, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tsp salt or to taste, 1 tsp ground pepper, ½ tsp MSG (optional), 2 medium eggs lightly beaten and more importantly, 1 tsp “kikiam” or “goyong” powder.

In a deep mixing bowl place the minced pork and add in the shrimps, onion, water chest nut and garlic. Evenly mix the ingredients.

Then add the sugar, salt, ground pepper, MSG (if using) and “kikiam” powder. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly until a homogenous mix is attained.

Add the beaten eggs and continue mixing until the mixture is sticky and capable of forming into balls. Others would normally use some cornstarch dispersed in a small amount of water to attain the right consistency. But I guess the eggs are quite enough to provide the required bonding agent.

Let it stand for at least an hour inside the fridge for the taste to develop. Afterwards, take one tablespoon at a time and form into balls. Continue doing it until you have enough “kikiam” balls for your current requirement. Keep the remaining meat mix in the freezer.

You can also finish forming everything into balls and freezing the rest for ready-use some other time. I did just like that.

In a small deep pan on medium heat, pour some vegetable oil to a level enough to deep fry the balls. No need to use too much oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, drop the balls one by one and fry them in batches until golden brown. Be careful with the ugly splatter.

Continue deep frying until you are done with all the “kikiam” balls you intend to cook. Drain them in paper towels and transfer in a serving plate.

Serve hot with your favorite sweet and sour sauce as a snack or along with some hot steamed rice or better yet with adobo garlic fried rice as a meal. It’s delicious. I like it more over a bottle of our favorite pale pilsen though. :-) Enjoy! c“,)

UPDATE: As requested in the comment below, we are showing here the photo of "kikiam" or "goyong" powder which is the brown powder on the lower section of the image, just below the ground pepper and MSG. :-)


  1. Thank you for sharing. I have been craving que kiam for a long time now, being away from our mother land. Do you mind sharing photos of your ingredients just like in your other posts? I am interested how is que kiam's powder packaging looks like. I can't find it in the asian shops. Thank you.


  2. Hi Lisa, we have provided an update to the post to show a photo of the kikiam or goyong powder as you requested. :)

  3. hi, thanks for this recipe,i just want to ask is the "goyong powder" same as the five spice? thank you :)



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