There are two versions of this kuih, one is green and flavoured with pandan (screwpine) and the other version is brown. This brown version is flavoured with gula melaka (dark palm sugar) as well as pandan.
I’d found a recipe in a little book titled “Hot Favoruites Kueh” (published by elifestyle, no authors given), and it looked really simple. I halved the recipe and off I went. Attempt number one sort of worked, but was very sticky and even though I steamed the kuih for over half and hour, it wouldn’t firm up. I’m quite sure this happened either because I’d gotten distracted and forgot to halve something (most probably the sugar because it tasted extremely sweet), or I didn’t pre-cook the mixture long enough to thicken properly.
Attempt #1: Stuck on you
I tried again, but because I’d run out of gula melaka, I decided to substitute with brown sugar. This time, I made sure I paid attention when measuring, and cooked until the mixture was well thickened. It worked perfectly! The end result tasted very close to the gula melaka version except the colour wasn’t as warm/red.
Actually, I was very, very impressed with the flavour and texture of this kuih, mostly because I love brown sugar. And even though I’d kept the kuih in the fridge overnight to firm up before cutting, once it had come to room temperature, the texture was beautifully soft and sticky. Some kuih harden up and become quite inedible when refrigerated.
In fact, I’d make this again, and set the brown layer in mini ramekins or custard cups, then top with thick coconut cream and serve as a dessert to end a spicy meal. It might make a good introduction to kuih for the uninitiated. Will let you know if it works (fingers crossed)☺.
Remember, if you’d like to be part of a Malaysian Monday, more details can be found here. This month (Muhibbah Malaysian Monday #2) , send all entries to Suresh (sureshchong[at]yahoo[dot]com) at 3 Hungry Tummies.
Have a lovely start to the week! To all my friends who begin fasting for Ramadan, "selamat menunaikan ibadah puasa".
(miniature version made in a teeny 10cm square cake pan. The original recipe (double this) is made in a 6in square pan. I always halve kuih recipes because I’m never sure if it will go down well with the rest of the household and I don’t want to get stuck eating it all myself ☺)
I use a 15ml tablespoon to measure, don’t worry, most kuih recipe don’t demand extreme precision, but feel free to use weight measurements if you prefer.
1 heaped tbsp rice flour (10g)
2 heaped tbsp tapioca starch (20g)
2 heaped tbsp plain flour(20g)
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar (125g) (or use 75g gula melaka and 50g caster sugar)
175 ml water (100ml for the sugar, 75ml for the flour)
1 pandan leaf, knotted
1 heaped tbsp rice flour (20g)
1 heaped tsp tapioca starch (5g)
6 tbsp thick coconut milk (75ml)
2 ½ tbsp water (50ml)
generous pinch of salt .
To make the base:
Prepare a steamer (I just set a trivet in the base of a wok, and fill with water until it comes to just under the trivet). Oil the base and sides of the pan. I used sunflower oil.
Place brown sugar, pandan leaf and 100ml water into a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar has melted and is syrupy. Do not boil vigorously. Set aside. (If using the dark palm sugar, chop into bits to speed up melting time).
Gula melaka, sugar and pandan leaf ready to be melted
In a large bowl, mix all the flours together and 75ml of the water. Mix well with a fork until smooth.
Remove the pandan leaf, then strain the sugar mixture into the flour mixture in the bowl. The straining removes any impurities in the palm sugar and also stray bits of pandan leaf. Stir well to mix, then pour back into the saucepan (I didn’t bother to rinse it out).
At this point, turn on the heat under the steamer so that it is ready to go. Place the saucepan with the base mixture over medium low heat and cook, stirring continuously until it thickens. The mixture tends to start getting lumpy and thickens all of a sudden. If this happens, quickly take the pan off the heat and just keep stirring until it becomes smooth. If one or two lumps remain, just strain the mixture through a sieve. The consistency should be like quite thick cream or thick pouring custard.
Pour this mixture into the prepared pan, then steam over medium heat for about 15 minutes until set. If you jiggle the pan, the mixture should not wobble. Gently touch the surface of the mixture to check, it should feel sticky but not liquid. Take care when removing the steamer lid so that condensation doesn’t drip on the surface of the kuih. Wipe down the condensation before replacing lid.
When the base is set, prepare the topping. Place all the topping ingredients in a clean saucepan and mix well, then cook over low heat until it thickens. This mix tends to thicken much quicker than the base. Use a spatula to turn out this mixture onto the top of the brown base in the pan. Place in the steamer and cook for another 15 minutes or so until set. (I actually prepared the base while making dinner, then made the topping after dinner, and it didn’t make any difference to the outcome to have the base sitting around for a while.)
Leave to cool completely before attempting to turn out or slice. Better if chilled first (cover the surface with cling wrap). To turn out, slide a thin spatula or knife all around the edges of the pan and turn over onto a cutting board. If it doesn’t come out, sit the pan in hot water for half a minute or so, wipe dry then turn out.
Serve cold or at room temperature.