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Rice Flour Gnocchi Soup with Bok Choy

by Shirley
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rice flour gnocchi soup

Rice flour gnocchi in Bok Choy soup (青菜瘪子团) is such a classical & humble everyday dish in China’s Yangtze River Delta area

They are especially common in my hometown Suzhou as I grew up in the 70s. My countryside grandma used to make this a lot during the time while Bok Choy was growing in her front courtyard vegetable garden.

Today is a beautiful sunny November day. Bok Choy is still amazingly thriving in my backyard vegetable garden. I am not sure how long Boy Choy will brave the cold, but I am going to take advantage of it today and make this classical dish for lunch for my kids.

bok choy growing in vegetable garden

Fun Facts about gnocchi

What is gnocchi?

People call small, thick, and soft dough dumplings gnocchi. You can make the soft dough out of a variety of flours mixed with other ingredients. The most well-known version of gnocchi is originated in northern Italy that is made of cooked mashed potatoes, flour, and eggs.

The Suzhou version, or Bie Zi Tuan (瘪子团), is made of a mix of rice flour and sweet rice flour. Sweet rice flour is flour milled from sweet rice, commonly referred to as sticky rice as it is chewy and sticky.

Shapes of gnocchi

Italian gnocchi looks like fingers with some patterns. Bie Zi Tuan looks like a mini flat disk with a dent in the middle. “Bie” (瘪) in Chinese means “dented” or “dent”.

rice flour gnocchi bie zi tuan

Common ways of eating gnocchi

For Italian version gnocchi, people usually mix the cooked ones with their favorite sauces.

For the rice flour version, we usually put them in a soup with vegetables such as Bok Choy. Regarding the soup base, for the humble version, we just use the water with a splash of sesame oil and salt. Or add the cooked gnocchi to any soup. Use chicken, beef, or pork broth to upgrade the soup.

Ingredients of rice flour gnocchi:

Super simple ingredients – rice flour, sweet rice flour, a pinch of salt, and some hot temperature water.

There is a brown rice version for each of the flour type – brown rice flour and brown sweet rice flour. Traditionally this dish is made of a white version of the flours. You can definitely make a brown rice version. Just keep in mind that the brown rice version tastes grainier.

I love sweet rice; they are so naturally tasty. I use brown sweet rice in the Eight Treasure Porridge, which works out great!

The ratio between the two types of rice flour depends on your preference. Rice flour is more stiff, dense, and gritty. Sweet rice flour is softer and smoother. The classical Suzhou style is about 80% rice flour and 20% sweet rice flour. We typically reserve sweet rice flour for desserts such as sweet rice flour cake. You can use up to 50% sweet rice flour if you like a softer & smoother version.

Tips to make rice flour gnocchi perfectly every time

See the recipe for detailed step-by-step guide. A few tips and tricks to highlight:

Use boiling water to mix two types of rice flours to make the dough

Bring the water to a boil and then measure out 3/4 cup in a glass measuring cup. Make a well in the middle of the flour, pour in half of the water, and stir and mix immediately using a pair of chopsticks or utensils of your choice. Keep stirring and mixing until fully blended, steam will come out during the process.

rice flour gnocchi ingredients

By now the dough should be OK for hands to touch and feel. Gradually add the remaining water slowly while mixing and pressing using two hands until you can form a soft dough.

rice flour dough to make gnocchi

Make a mini dough disk with a dent in the middle

Divide the dough into 6-8 portions. For each portion, knead and roll into a small diameter cylinder shaped roll. Then use your fingers to snip a mini bit of dough. For each mini big of dough, gently press and toss using two hands and then roll into a mini ball inside your palm. Once you have the mini ball, put it down and gently press in the middle to create a dent in the middle.

make rice flour gnocchi

Cook the rice flour separately

Fill a large stockpot with 75% water, bring it to a boil and then add the rice flour gnocchi. Immediately, gently stir using a bamboo spatula to separate them to avoid they stick to each other or to the bottom.

After the water reaches boiling point, pour a cup of cold water into the pot. Repeat this 3 times and then turn the heat off. Remove the rice gnocchi from the water using a skimmer. Immediately stir and toss gently to let off steam so they do not stick to each other.

cooked rice flour gnocchi

Prepare the soup base

Heat the wok for 2 minutes, and then add oil and Bok Choy, stir-fry for 2 minutes or until leaves are about to wilt. Add 6 cups of water, bring it to a boil, and then add cooked gnocchi, salt, and sesame oil.

rice flour gnocchi bok choy soup

Potential Variations:

You can add the cooked rice flour gnocchi to any of your favorite soups. Chicken broth, pork, or beef broth work well too.

Leftover storage tips:

You can freeze the rice flour gnocchi the same way if you freeze freshly made dumplings. Lay them flat on a sheet in the freezer until they are stiff and then pack them in a ziplock bag, press out the air, and seal. They are good in the freezer for up to one year.

The cooked gnocchi are good in the refrigerator for 1 weeks.

Do you like Huai Yang Style dishes? Make sure you check out other classical dishes:

rice flour gnocchi soup

Huai Yang Style Rice Flour Gnocchi Soup Recipe (青菜瘪子团)

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes

Rice flour gnocchi in bok choy soup is such a classical everyday humble dish in China's Yangtze River Delta when I grew up in the 70s. They are made of a blend of rice flour and sweet rice flour. Very tasty and easy to make. They are freezer friendly. Add cooked rice flour gnocchi to any soup will be wonderful.


  • 1.5 cup of rice flour
  • 0.5 cup of sweet rice flour
  • 3/4 cup of boiling water
  • 1/2 lb bok choy leaves, washed
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil


Prepare the Boiling Water:

  1. Fill a large stockpot with 75% water, turn the heat to medium-high, bring it to a boil and then turn off the heat.
  2. Fill a glass measuring cup with 3/4 cup of the boiling water from the stockpot

Prepare the Rice Flour Dough:

  1. Add rice flour, sweet rice flour, 1/4 tsp salt in a mixing bowl, mix and make a well in the middle. Add half water from the glass measuring cup into the well. Immediately, quickly stir & mix using a pair of long bamboo chopsticks.
  2. Slowly add the rest of the water while keeping stirring & mixing until it forms a soft dough. Quickly use the outer side of hands to touch & feel the dough and make sure they are not burning hot. If yes, let it cool for 2 minutes before you knead the dough.
  3. Gradually add the remaining water, few drops at a time while using hands press and knead until it forms a soft dough.

Make Rice Flour Gnocchi:

  1. Divide the drought into 6-8 portions. For each portion, use two hands to knead, press and roll into a small cylinder shape
  2. Snip small bits out of the cylinder-shaped dough. For each small bit, use two hands to lightly press, toss and roll between two palms to form a mini rice ball. Put down the rice ball on the countertop or board, and then gently press down using fingers to flatten the mini riceball into a disk with a dip in the middle
  3. Repeat until you have completed the whole batch. Hooray, you have made rice flour gnocchi!

Cook Rice Flour Gnocchi:

  1. Bring the water back to a boil, and add rice flour gnocchi into the pot, gently stir to avoid they stick with each other, and to the bottom. Cover the pot with a lid and bring it to a boil again, about 2 minutes.
  2. Once the water reaches boiling point and huge bubbles are rising and it feels it is going to over-spill, add a cup of tap water into the pot, stir, and then cover the lid to let it bring to a boil again.
  3. Repeat step 7 another two times.
  4. After you have added 3 cups of room temperature tap water, turn off the heat and let it rest with the lid closed for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the rice flour gnocchi from the stockpot using a skimmer or a strainer and place them onto a plate. Immediately, gently move and toss them to let out the seam, and avoid them stick to each other.

While it is resting, prepare the bok choy soup base:

  1. cut the bok choy leaves.
  2. Turn the heat to medium-high, heat the wok for 2 minutes, add 1 tsp canola oil, add bok choy leaves and stir fry until leaves are about to wilt. About 2 minutes
  3. Add 6 cups of water into the wok, cover with a lid and bring it to a boil
  4. Add the gnocchi into the wok, bring it to a boil again.
  5. Turn off the heat and add 1 tsp Himalayan salt or to the taste, and 1 tbsp sesame oil or to the taste.


Possible variations of the soup base - You can add the cooked rice flour gnocchi to basically any soup. They will make a good addition to any delicious soup.

Nutrition Information
Yield 4 servings Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 326Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 0mgSodium 748mgCarbohydrates 64gFiber 2gSugar 1gProtein 6g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

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