A disclaimer: today’s Malaysian Monday contains absolutely no fresh ingredients (unless you count water). But somehow it all comes together, if you can get past the fact that there are bits of corn in your dessert.
I’m not sure if it was thanks to a big marketing push, or the convenience, or some sort of exoticness factor, but creamed corn features highly in a lot of Malaysian desserts. Remember the apam balik from last week? Then there’s ice-kacang, and of course this dessert. Corn on the cob and kernels are also very popular – appearing in ice cream, some dessert style soups (eg: sago + corn), and “corn-in-a-cup”. If you’ve been to Malaysia you’ll probably be familiar with the concept, it does exactly as it says on the box – you can buy a cupful of steaming hot corn kernels flavoured with butter (margarine more likely), and salt and pepper. I can’t remember how many times I’ve burnt my tongue on these things. And one of my all-time favourite corn dishes is “jagung bakar” (literally translated as burnt corn). “Jagung bakar” are really barbecued ears of corn, charred to perfection, dripping with margarine…mmmm, I’m craving some right now.
But back to today’s “pudding”. There are actually a few versions of this dessert. One version doesn’t include the agar-agar resulting in a creamier type of kuih, but it does tend to utilise a lot of custard powder, which I find quite overpowering. This version uses the aforementioned agar-agar resulting in a more “jelly(jello)” type texture.
I’d halved a recipe found in Mum’s handwritten collection and I’m not sure where the recipe came from, but I have a feeling it may have originated from a book of agar-agar recipes.
(makes about 6 cupfuls or enough for a small “slice” pan)
200ml evaporated milk
2 ½ cups water
¾ cup sugar
250g creamed corn (I used one 125g can of creamed corn and one 125g can of corn kernels)
1 tbsp custard powder (I used a level spoon, but a heaped one will give a thicker texture to the dessert)
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp (level) agar-agar powder
Boil the agar powder and water together until the agar pwder dissolves. I used a whisk to stir. Once it starts to boil and the agar has dissolved, add in the sugar and stir until dissolved. Take off heat.
In a separate bowl, beat all the other ingredients until well combined. Pour the sugar/agar mixture into the milk mixture, stirring/whisking well all the time. Rinse out the saucepan used for the sugar mixture, then pour the contents of the bowl back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Skim if necessary. The mixture should thicken slightly, but because of the high water content, it never gets to the really thick “coat back of spoon” stage that usual custards do. I’d estimate about 10 minutes of stirring, and a slight colour change occurs (the mixture gets lighter). Pour the mixture into glasses or pan (no need to line etc). Use a toothpick or finger to pop any air bubbles. The mixture will set very rapidly and at room temperature (about half an hour). Chill well before serving.
For the record, the mini-critics love this dish
Have a good week!