Malaysian Monday 69: Kuih Wajik / Kuih Wajid

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hi everyone, yet another Monday rolls around, and again I scrabble to put together a post for you.

Some bloggers have a stack of drafts prepared, or at least a few finished posts up their sleeve. You don’t need me to tell you that I’m not one of those organised people right?

Here’s how I roll - after a busy weekend, start thinking about what to make for Malaysian Monday, on Sunday night. Look in pantry and decide to make kuih wajid/ kuih wajik (sticky glutinous rice cake) because it doesn’t require an extra trip to the shops. Plus, I love this delicacy and haven’t eaten any for a very long time.

My memory is pretty fuzzy but I think the first time I ate this kuih, it might have been at a tea-party hosted by the local Kaum Ibu. Kaum Ibu loosely translates to Mother’s Group or Mother’s Community. But it’s really a society for women, a little bit like the Country Women’s Association here in Australia. I’m not sure if Kaum Ibu is found everywhere, or whether it is particular to the defence forces.  The association acts as a support group for the women (and family) of defence force personnel who move around a lot.  Yes, there’s cooking and craft involved, but there’s a lot more than that. The association rallies round in times of need and organises aid for the less fortunate. Thanks to my dad’s work, I had the privilege of tagging along to various well-catered Kaum Ibu meetings, and stuffing myself silly (but of course).

So began my life-long love for this sticky, sweet kuih. However, it’s one of the lesser known kuih and not as readily available unless one knows where to go to hunt it down. Otherwise,  you have to wait patiently as it usually makes an appearance at the pop-up kuih stalls during the fasting month of Ramadan.

I found two recipes for Wajik, one in Mum’s notes and one on an old recipe card. Of course, to make things interesting, both the recipes were quite different, with varying weights for sugar and rice and coconut milk. What they shared in common though, was measurements for the coconut milk based on number of coconuts, as in : “squeeze milk from X number of coconuts and set aside the first milk”. Nowhere do the recipes mention how many cups to expect from each coconut. This is the part about Malaysian cooking that I find extremely frustrating - the guesswork involved.

You can add durian to your wajik if so inclined. Mmmmm

So I calculate and try to work out ratios and cook the wajik in snatched moments over the course of a long and busy day. The end result is a little bit stickier than it should be (I think I need to increase the amount of glutinous rice), but the flavour is exactly as I remembered. Excitedly, I gave the MCs some for afternoon tea. MC Senior loves it and chomps through a largeish serving. MC Junior meanwhile said, “Pah, it’s horrible. I think Dad will hate it too!”. (She’s probably right).

Never mind, more for me then, and I cannot stop eating it! Help.

When I get down from the sugar high, I promise to try very hard to be organised for the  Muhibbah Malaysian Monday round-up #9 next week and get it to you at a reasonable time. So if you’d like to take part, please send your entries in to me at its(dot)sharon(at)gmail(dot)com. (My MMM partner Suresh at 3 Hungry Tummies and I, take turns hosting each round-up.)

Have a great start to the week.


The texture of the kuih I made is a little too “wet” but I think adjusting the glutinous rice ratio will help. If you’d like to experiment, here’s how I made my wajik.

1 cup (about 200g) (use more) glutinous rice - soaked overnight.  I used 2 1/2 cups water to soak, but this water gets drained anyway so the measurement doesn’t matter too much.
11/2 (220g) cup gula melaka (dark palm sugar) chopped into bits
just under 1 cup caster sugar (170g)
4 cups water
1 cup coconut milk (I used canned coconut milk)
pandan leaves if available (I used 8 frozen ones, which seem to work fine. I make sure I use lots though, because the fragrance isn’t as strong as fresh leaves)

Prepare a heat-proof pan for pouring the finished mixture in. I lightly oiled a lamington pan and lined the base with baking paper,

First drain the glutinous rice, add a pinch of salt and steam until it is cooked. It took about 20 - 30 minutes for me.

Next, cook the gula melaka, caster sugar, 4 cups water and knotted pandan leaves in a large saucepan, stirring until all the sugar melts. Gently simmer for 5 minutes, take it off the heat and strain. Gula melaka contains a lot of impurities, so this straining part is crucial. I had to go out, so I rinsed the pandan leaves off, stuck them in the bowl of hot syrup and left it there to infuse for a few hours.

Strain the syrup into a large pan or wok (preferable). Bring to a boil, then carefully put the cooked glutinous rice into the syrupy mixture. Stir constantly, and keep simmering until the mixture is very thick and sticky and the grains of rice are visible, almost like a very, very dry risotto. This part took about 20-30 minutes for me (I wasn’t really timing it properly, I just glanced at the clock every now and then). Add the coconut milk and cook, still stirring until the mixture is dry and starts clumping together and leaves the side of the pan. Pour the mixture into prepared pan, press down with the back of a spoon and leave to cool. Cut into squares when cool.

If your wajik is a bit to sticky (like mine), don’t despair, just eat it with a spoon :)


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

hehe you're so right Shaz, my mum's recipes are very vague like that as the ones she was taught from were vague too! These look wonderful-I don't know if I have tried this kuih but I've nver met a kuih I didn't like! ;)

Barbara said...

It's not just Malaysian cooking that's without measurements! My mother rarely measured and when I set out to do a cookbook years ago, I had to stand there and measure while she cooked!

Your wajik looks sticky and delicious, Shaz. I've never had nice of you to figure out the measurements for us! :)

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

This is one of the kuih that will be on one of my grandparents table during raya. Unfortunately, I can't eat anything that have pulut, sebab banyak angin.

p3chandan said...

Its an old traditional kuih, my mom used to make for every Hari Raya. I like mine wet wet and with lots of durian...emmmm sinfully delicious!

Janine said...

Oh boy I've never eaten/seen this kuih before! I best get myself down to the nearest kuih stand to check them out. But in any case, I love anything with gula melaka and coconut milk, so having yummy glutinous rice soaked in them sounds absolutely heavenly!

Swee San said...

Oh my, i think I have the same recipe card at home. Though I've not really looked at it if there's Kuih Wajik, but the recipe card does look familiar. lol. Nice!

My Little Space said...

Sometimes, I too lazy to measure up the ingredients. haha... But yours looks at least edible. I like kuih wajik too but not crazy. Thanks for sharing all the tips. I'll keep that in mind. Have a great week ahead.
Blessings, Kristy

Karen said...

Shaz, this post has me drooling! Ever since my first trip to SE Asia, I have been addicted to sweet dishes with rice. My favorites are sticky rice pudding or black rice pudding with coconut milk. If I can score a ripe mango ate the grocery store to go with it (not an easy feat well north of the equator), I am the happiest person on earth. And now I have found your recipe! Do you think this would work with palm sugar syrup instead of solid palm sugar?

shaz said...

Lorraine -"I don't know if I have tried this kuih but I've nver met a kuih I didn't like!", my kind of girl!

Barbara - glad to hear we're not the only ones with vague recipes.

Malay-Kadazan girl - ooh, banyak angin ke? Sorry to hear that, I love pulut so much.

p3chandan - I wish I could use durian but the rest of the family would complain too much!

Janine - try the Malay kuih stalls. Like p3chandan explains above, it's a traditional Malay kuih.

Swee San - he he. My mum gave these to me. They were from Planta margarine, put out in the 70s I think.

My Little Space - sometimes I'm too lazy too. Thank you.

Karen - this actually smells very much like the black rice pudding. I think the substitution would work. Do let me know if you try it out.

Beth said...

You have the most interesting recipes, and I always learn a lot by reading your posts. Thanks!

Hungry Dog said...

I love Malaysian Mondays--I'm guaranteed to learning something :)

shaz said...

Thanks Beth and Hungry Dog!

Marine Loves Papi... said...

Oh yummy :) We make a similar Filipino thing, we call it Kalamay. A really nice sticky rice dessert that is very addictive! Maybe i'll try adding durian to it next time i make it :)

shaz said...

Hope you do Marine, let me know how it turns out with the durian.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, my mum makes the best kueh wajid ever and it is always a real hit at all our Malaysian family get togethers. I am making it as we speak. This is my second attempt so wish me luck. Mum's version just has 3 ingredients - cooked glutinous rice, sugar and coconut milk. My coconut syrup is finally browning nicely and I have been stirring patiently for ages, maybe 45 minutes. When I reach the dark brown syrup stage , I will mix in the glutinous rice and hopefully it will be a dessert that I will be proud of. I am showcasing this dessert at a my cousins place tonight so there will be some malaysians there who will make good food critics. My kitchen smells like coconut caramel candy . can't wait to taste it. See ya, happy blogging and eating.