Malaysian Monday 41: Kuih Bahulu and a blog-event announcement!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hello all, glad you could pop by for another Malaysian Monday.  I can’t believe I’ve done 40 of these already. Last week, I mentioned that I’d like for you to join me on these Monday posts, so stick around to find out how.

First up, let me offer you some little cakes known as Kuih Bahulu.  These are little sponge cakes, with a sweet crust. They’re quite similar to savoiardi biscuits (ladyfinger biscuits), although a bit cakier. Bahulu is usually eaten dunked into a hot beverage, where it soaks up the liquid and becomes melt-in-the-mouth soft.

On our recent visit to Malaysia, mum gave me a Bahulu mould. These moulds were traditionally used on a charcoal brazier (not everyone had access to an oven). The kuih batter would be put into the mould, then covered with a special lid. The entire mould would then be placed over the charcoal fire, and hot coals piled on top of the mould, forming a makeshift oven.  These folks were truly daring bakers!

I flicked through mum’s notes and found a bahulu recipe using only three ingredients. Sweet! Eggs, sugar and self-raising flour.

How hard could it be, since I had a proper oven and a modern beater to boot? (Traditionally, the eggs were beaten by hand). I spoke too soon.  Attempt number one looked fine, but after that, I couldn’t get them out of the mould. The stubborn little cakes came out looking a bit furry, minus the characteristic crust. The hallmark of a good bahulu is this crust.  The instructions didn’t say whether to oil the mould or not, and even when I did attempt some oil, it still didn’t work.

Bahulu fail!

Luckily, towards the end, I worked out that I wasn’t preheating the mould for long enough. Also, when I took it out of the oven to fill with batter, the mould was cooling too quickly (it’s winter at the moment). My two final batches looked like the real thing, hooray!

The end result tasted pretty close to what I remember. I wouldn’t have minded it a bit sweeter, and I think extra sugar may help with a crustier crust, so I’ll definitely try again to see if I can perfect them. (Recipe after announcement).

Thanks for sticking around so long, here’s the announcement I promised:

Muhibbah* Malaysian Monday Blog Event.

Grab a badge!

When I first started my Malaysian Monday posts, it was an attempt to try and get Mr. Kitchen Hand to eat Malaysian desserts. This then evolved into a little bit of a weekly touch-base between myself, and my roots.

Along the way, I started getting lovely comments from fellow Malaysians / expat Malaysian bloggers. Who would have thought there were so many of us?  (Actually, I shouldn’t really feel all that astonished - eating IS the national pastime.)

When fellow blogger Suresh, from 3 Hungry Tummies emailed to ask if I would like to turn Malaysian Monday into a blog event, I was definitely up for it.

So, come one, come all – Malaysian or otherwise. Join us for the Muhibbah Malaysian Monday blog event. The “rules” are pretty simple:

1)    ANYONE can join in – you don’t have to be Malaysian.

2)    Post anything related to food and Malaysia, on a Monday (you can do a one-off, every week, or anywhere in between). It could be about food, drink, a restaurant review, a cookbook, an interesting ingredient, etc, etc.
(Edit: Please  link back to either Test With Skewer or 3 Hungry Tummies in your entry, and also include the words "Muhibbah Monday" somewhere in the post. Thank you :) )

3)    Send us your name, your post(s) name and post URL by the LAST Wednesday of the month. Please write Muhibbah Monday #X in the subject line. We will pull a photo off your post to use in our round-up. (edit: Occasionally, other people may be hosting, so check back with either of us if you're not sure where to send entries to. There should be a mention on the first Malaysian Monday post of that particular month letting you know where to send entries)

4)    Suresh (sureshchong[at]yahoo[dot]com) and I (its[dot]sharon[at]gmail[dot]com) will take turns to host, and we will let you know where to send each month’s entry. If you would like to take a turn at hosting, do send us an email. (check first though, see no. 3)

5)    On the first Monday of every month, a round up of all the entries will be posted on the host’s blog.

That’s about it.
Mari masak, minum, main bersama-sama! (Let’s cook, eat, drink and play together).
Muhibbbah = Goodwil

Kuih Bahulu 
(I halved the recipe I found which originally calls for 8 eggs)
This quantity of batter made over 40 little cakes, but it depends on the size of your mould. I actually found that the batter had to sit around for a long time while the previous batch baked. The last batches were not as light as the earlier ones, so I would make this in smaller 2 egg batches next time.

4 eggs
125g self raising flour (I made my own using plain flour with 1 tsp baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda and a pinch of salt added)
125g caster sugar (would add a bit more next time).
dash of vanilla extract (my own addition- to get rid of any unwanted over-eggy smells)

Preheat the oven to a moderately high temp. My oven temperature and the dial don’t talk to each other, so I pretty much have to guess and then check the oven thermometer. I aimed for around 170˚C.

Place the mould in the oven to preheat. I found that I didn’t really need to use any oil to grease the moulds if the temperature was hot enough to begin with.

Sift flour well.

Beat the eggs on high until doubled in volume and quite light in colour. It will be thick and foamy. Add half the sugar in, beat well, then add the rest of the sugar and beat until very thick. When the beaters are lifted, the batter should fall in a thick ribbon, and stay on the surface of the batter for a moment or two before sinking.

Sift half the flour over the batter and use a rubber spatula to carefully fold the flour in. Repeat with the rest of the flour. Be gentle, don’t knock the air out.

Open the oven, and slide the mould on the oven rack towards you. Do not remove the mould from the oven or it will cool down too quickly. Carefully place spoonfuls of the batter into each hollow – it should hiss lightly when it hits the pan. If it doesn’t hiss, it’s not hot enough. Aim for filling the hollows about 2/3 full.

Bake until light golden brown – for me, this took about 7 minutes or so. Remove the mould from the oven, carefully turn it over and using a skewer, prise the cakes out of their hollows. They should come away cleanly and fall out. Cool on a wire rack.

Store in an airtight container and eat within a couple of days of making. Best eaten fresh because the bahulu will become quite hard the longer it keeps. Secretly though? I kind of like stale bahulu because the crust gets crustier, but the insides dry out a bit. That’s ok, just dunk into a cup of tea and it’s all good.


Anh said...

yay! What a lovely event. I will see if I can clear some time to make something for it! :)

Y said...

Cool! I remember these. Like madeleines, it's impossible to stop at just one little cake.

Vanille said...

Cute little cakes and mould !
The Malaysian Monday event, is a good idea ! I'll discover even more from the Malaysian cuisine this way !

3 hungry tummies said...

Great work Shaz! How exciting!
I was actually reading about kuih bahulu last night! love the mould!

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Well done for persisting in making them. The molds are SO pretty and yes indeedy they do sound like the original daring bakers! ;)

shaz said...

Anh - thanks dear. I need to have a go at your Delicious Vietnam event too :)

Y- very true, I ate SO many with the excuse that there was no fat in them!

Vanille - thank you, maybe you could join in too ?

3 hungry tummies - thank you! and thank you for helpign me get this off the ground :)

Lorraine - one day when I'm feeling extra daring, I think I might try the charcoal trcik

Barbara said...

Your mold is so adorable, Shaz! And yes, these do look much like madeleines. Glad you persevered and made perfect kuih bahulu.
I would LOVE dipping them in my coffee!

Your event sounds like great fun! I will be learning so much!

Chow and Chatter said...

wow love your blog and great event came over from 3 hungry tummies will follow lol Rebecca

Heavenly Housewife said...

What pretty little cakes. Their texture reminds me a lot of madeleines. The mold makes them look so sweet.
*kisses* HH

grace said...

i wouldn't call that a bahulu fail...perhaps a bahulu imperfect. :) regardless, it seems like a tasty treat!

ajcabuang04 said...

These look delicious!! Glad it turned out really good in the end!! I would love to thy these!!
Would you mind checking out my blog? :D

shaz said...

Thanks Barbara! You can have some anytime

Thanks Rebecca, great to meet you

Grace, Hungry Housewife and ajcabuang - Blogger has managed to eat up your comments , sorry, I have no idea where they've got to. Thank oyu for leavign them though :)

Mega said...

ooooh..i love having these sweet treats anytime of the day! Dunked in black coffee to cut back the sweetness, my oh my...

kirbie said...

I tried making these once a while ago, and mine looked like the picture of your failed ones. I didn't know you had to preheat the pan. Thanks for the explanation. I also didn't really know how they are supposed to taste or that the crust is the key as I've never had these until I made them.

shaz said...

Thanks Mega :)

Kirbie - glad this post helped you. I find it really frustrating in the kitchen when I can't work out why something is not working as it should :)

Jeannie said...

Hi Shaz, I love kuih bahulu too and have tried making them twice without mucht success, they stick to the mould too! Now I know why! Thanks for the tips!:D

shaz said...

Glad to be able to help Jeannie.