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This Thai chive pancake recipe is a fantastic addition to your collection of Thai appetizers – it’s a savory snack that’s steamed and then deep-fried to perfection. Gui chai tod pairs wonderfully with my many dipping sauce options and is packed with garlic chives. It’s vegan and perfect for the whole family.
Thai street food markets are always a joy, with many snacking options available and lots of delicious aromas.
Some of my favorites are Thai chive cakes, which we’ll be making in this garlic chives recipe, and kanom jeeb (Thai dumplings). Pork and shrimp wontons are always delicious, and I love pairing all of them with my wonton dipping sauce.
Definitely give each of them a try; they’re perfect for making ahead of time for your next family gathering, and they’re absolute crowd-pleasers.
What is Thai chive pancake
Thai chive pancake, or gui chai tod, is a savory, crispy snack made from a batter mixed with garlic chives, then steamed and deep-fried. It’s a classic Thai appetizer beloved for its crispy exterior and tender filling.
“Gui chai” translates to “garlic chive” and “tod” means “fried” in English. In Northeastern Thailand, gui chai tod are called “pak pein”.
Gui chai tod recipe
You’ll love how fun it is to make these fried garlic chive cakes at home! They’re crispy, wonderfully fragrant, and they’ll be gone from the table in no time.
They’re perfect for anyone to make. Don’t worry if you’ve never made them before. I’ve got easy step-by-step pictures and lots of ways to make them your own coming up after the instructions!
First, we create a batter and then mix in the prepped garlic chives. It’s a great thing to do with the kids on the weekend.
The next step is to steam them. This makes them soft and chewy and at this point you can already take a quick bite if you can’t control yourself, they’re already super tasty!
Then, a quick fry makes them golden and crispy, just how we like them.
And dipping them in one of my special dipping sauces makes them even better.
The best thing you can do is to make a large batch in one go so you can stock your freezer. Making them once and eating them twice? Yes, please!
For the exact measurements, please scroll down to the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Garlic chives – Garlic chives, or ‘gui chai’ in Thai, add a fresh flavor and aroma to the pancakes. You can recognize them by their flat green leaves, which are different from the round ones you see on regular chives. Learn more about garlic chives.
- White pepper – White pepper adds a subtle heat to guichai tod, without overwhelming the other flavors.
- Baking soda – Baking soda helps preserve the green color in the pancakes and adds to their soft and tender texture.
- White sugar – A sprinkle of white sugar is essential for balancing the salty notes with a hint of sweetness.
- Salt – A bit of salt enhances the overall flavors, making the pancakes more yummy.
- Tapioca starch – This gives the deep-fried cakes a slightly chewy and tender texture, and helps bind the ingredients together. It can easily be found at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
- Rice flour – Rice flour is the base of our batter, providing a light and crispy texture.
- Warm water – Warm water is essential for mixing the batter, helping dissolve the dry ingredients and blending everything into a smooth mixture.
- Oil – Neutral oils with a high smoke point and neutral flavor, like vegetable or canola oil, are ideal for frying these pancakes. The garlic chives are mixed with a bit of oil to give them a glossy shine.
- Dark soy sauce – Adds a rich flavor and deepens the color of the sauce.
- White sugar – Balances out the salty flavor of the soy and the acidity of the vinegar with sweetness. Thai cooking is all about creating that perfect flavor balance.
- White vinegar – Adds a tangy note to the sauce that perfectly complements the fried cakes.
- Chilies – Thai food is best with a spicy kick. Adjust the number of chilies to taste.
- Water – Water helps blend all the flavors together smoothly.
How to make Thai chive cake
Dipping sauce instructions
Step 1: Place a small saucepan over low-medium heat and combine white sugar, dark soy sauce, white vinegar, and water. Simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring continuously. Add chopped chilies and continue to stir for an additional minute.
Gui chai tod instructions
Step 2: Take finely chopped garlic chives and place them in a mixing bowl. Add baking soda, two tablespoons of oil, salt, white sugar, and white pepper. Knead the mixture until it’s combined, and the sugar has fully dissolved.
Step 3: In a different bowl, blend rice flour with tapioca starch. Then, while mixing steadily, slowly pour in warm water to create a smooth batter.
Step 4: Combine the chopped garlic chives with your batter, using your hands to mix.
Step 5: Prepare your baking mold by brushing it with the remaining tablespoon of oil.
Step 6: Transfer the batter into the oiled mold.
Step 7: Steam the filled mold for 20–30 minutes over medium heat. The batter should be set and firm once done.
Step 8: Allow the steamed pancake to cool before removing it from the mold and placing it on a cutting board.
Step 9: Cut your steamed garlic chive pancake into desired portions.
Step 10: Lightly dust each piece of pancake with tapioca starch on all sides before frying it.
Step 11: Heat oil in a wok or deep-frying pan over medium heat. Fry the pancake pieces until golden brown, then remove and drain any excess oil on paper towels before serving. Enjoy!
- Cutting board and a sharp knife for prepping garlic chives
- Mixing bowl x2 for combining the batter and garlic chives
- Small saucepan for making the dipping sauce
- Tongs to flip Thai chive cakes while frying
- Deep frying pan or large wok for frying
- Baking mold (mine was 9-inch/23cm)
- Steaming pot to steam the pancakes
- Paper towels for draining excess oil
- Measuring spoons and cups
Thai fried chive pancake tips
Dipping sauce preparation: You can make the dipping sauce while the pancakes are steaming to save time.
Customize your filling: This recipe is versatile, and you can experiment with adding different vegetables like finely diced carrots, corn, green onions (scallions), and regular chives.
Oil temperature: Make sure your oil is hot enough, around 350°F/175°C, before frying.
Cook in batches: To ensure each pancake is evenly cooked and crispy, cook them in batches, max 3 or 4 at once. Don’t overcrowd the pan, as this can lower the oil temperature and result in soggy pancakes.
Garlic chives: Choose young garlic chive leaves for tenderness, older ones can be tougher. If you can, buy some extra and make these steamed garlic chive dumplings later, they’re equally delicious.
Thai chive pancakes dipping sauce
Dip your pancakes into the homemade sauce that’s part of this recipe, it’s going to be so good! If you’re hosting a party, it’s always good to offer multiple sauces, like Thai sweet chili sauce and Thai hot sauce for spice lovers.
Garlic chive cake make ahead and storage
Make ahead: Making these Thai fried chive pancakes ahead of time is the best thing you can do. After steaming them, let them cool down to room temperature and then put them in a container. You can keep them in the fridge for a few days and simply fry them when you’re ready.
You can keep the sauce for up to a week in your refrigerator, but add chilies just before serving.
Freezing: After steaming, place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper with some space in between. Freeze them until they’re solid, and then put them in a freezer bag or container. They’ll stay good for a couple of months, simply thaw them in the fridge overnight and then deep-fry them.
I don’t recommend storing gui chai tod after deep-frying. The best method is to store them after steaming. Luckily, they’re so good that it’s almost impossible to have leftovers!
Frequently asked questions
Can I make this without a steamer?
Yes, you can steam Thai pancakes by filling a pan with a little water and placing a steaming rack inside. Heat them over medium heat with a lid on top to mimic steaming.
Are Thai chive pancakes vegan?
Yes, this Thai appetizer is perfect for vegans.
Is this recipe gluten-free?
Yes, all ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free. For making the dipping sauce, ensure you use a gluten-free dark soy sauce.
Authentic Thai appetizer recipes
- Thai chicken satay with peanut sauce
- Khao taen (Thai crispy rice cakes)
- Shrimp in a blanket
- Thai fried wonton
- Pork gyoza recipe
- Thai egg rolls
Thai Chive Pancake Recipe (Gui Chai Tod)
Authentic recipe for Thai chive pancakes, easy to make at home with the best homemade dipping sauce. Gui chai tod is perfect for making ahead of time and storing for later!
Place a small saucepan over low-medium heat and combine white sugar, dark soy sauce, white vinegar, and water. Simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring continuously. Add chopped chilies and continue to stir for an additional minute.
Gui chai tod
Take finely chopped garlic chives and place them in a mixing bowl. Add baking soda, two tablespoons of oil, salt, white sugar, and white pepper. Knead the mixture until it’s combined, and the sugar has fully dissolved.
In a different bowl, blend rice flour with tapioca flour. Then, while mixing steadily, slowly pour in warm water to create a smooth batter.
Combine the chopped garlic chives with your batter, using your hands to mix.
Prepare your baking mold by brushing it with the remaining tablespoon of oil.
Transfer the batter into the oiled mold.
Steam the filled mold for 20–30 minutes over medium heat. The batter should be set and firm once done.
Allow the steamed pancake to cool before removing it from the mold and placing it on a cutting board.
Cut your steamed garlic chive pancake into desired portions.
Lightly dust each piece of pancake with tapioca flour on all sides before frying it.
Heat oil in a wok or deep-frying pan over medium heat. Fry the pancake pieces until golden brown, then remove and drain any excess oil on paper towels before serving. Enjoy!
- Amount Per Serving
- Calories 314kcal
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 14.35g23%
- Saturated Fat 2.27g12%
- Total Carbohydrate 43.05g15%
- Dietary Fiber 2.2g9%
- Sugars 7.29g
- Protein 3.55g8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
- Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
- I don't recommend storing gui chai tod after deep-frying. The best method is to store them after steaming.