Malaysian Monday 85: McGyver Ang Koo Kuih

Monday, October 17, 2011

Happy Monday everyone.

First, let me clarify the title of today’s post. Nowhere in Malaysia will you find something called “McGyver Ang-Koo Kuih”. I am merely describing my highly unorthodox method of producing this kuih (snack).

If you read this bog on a regular basis, you’ll know that I host a Muhibbah Malaysian Monday round-up every alternate month. The task of hosting isn’t too hard, all I have to do is compile the photos from our very talented contributors, add some words, and off we go.

What can be very tricky though, is avoiding the inevitable hunger pangs and sudden food cravings when faced with the photos of mouthwatering delicacies. Many of these delicacies are now but a mere taste memory since I cannot get the correct ingredients or equipment to cook with.

Enter the ang koo kuih (pronounced ung-coo coo-eh). These kuih have a very specific shell shape, and the name means “red shell  tortoise”. I can’t remember why it is meant to look like a tortoise, most probably something to do with luck or wealth.

Anyway, last month we had three contributors who all made this kuih. Oh boy those cravings went into overdrive! I hadn’t eaten this snack in years, because a key element for making these kuih is the special wooden mould to get the aforementioned tortoise shell shape.

I could stand it no longer! Armed with the purple sweet potato ang koo recipe posted by Lena from Frozen Wings (via Sonia of Nasi Lemak Lover), I set out to make do as best I could. Luckily, I remembered watching my mum make this kuih when I was little so I knew the mechanics of it. The dough is wrapped around a small ball of mung bean paste, then pressed into a mould. The back of the dough ball is smoothed over, then the mould is inverted and tapped sharply on the counter so that the kuih falls out in the required shape.

First, I tried using a small oiled metal bowl for my mould. It didn’t quite work as I hoped because it wouldn’t unmould easily, and the dough distribution was highly uneven. Wafer thin in some places and too thick around the edges.

Then I hit upon the idea of silicon cupcake liners! I popped a dough ball in, flattened it firmly with a plastic spatula, then peeled away the liner easily. I placed this tallish shape onto a square of baking paper, then used the spatula to flatten it further. Finally, I used a cookie cutter and a chopstick to impress some decorations onto the top.

First trial - the kuih at the back were moulded in a bowl, then the edges pressed with a fork. The one in front was made in a silicon cupcake liner.

Voila! Not the prettiest of kuih but enough to satisfy cravings :)

Please note, the cupcake wrappers are for decorative photoshoot purposes only. The kuih will stick to it which is not good. Use baking paper instead  (or banana leaves if you can get them.)

The recipe worked really well, I followed the given measurements and only needed about 150ml water for the dough. For the mung bean paste, I ended up cooking the whole 375g bag of peeled, split mungbeans that I had purchased, so I had to re-jig the quantity of oil and sugar. I also needed a tiny bit of water as the paste seemed a little on the dry side.

The only problem? I now have too many ang koo and not enough mouths to feed! So as an experiment, I’m freezing one complete kuih to check if it can be done. I’m also freezing some balls of uncooked dough and mung bean paste separately. Will let you know if it works.
(Edit: I defrosted the kuih overnight in the fridge and it tasted great. I'm sure if I'd steamed it a little, it would be just like a fresh one. The kuih I stored in the fridge however became really hard/ tough. Still haven't defrosted the dough yet, will keep you posted.)

So, if you ‘d like to induce more food cravings, do join our Muhibbah Malaysian Monday round-up. Suresh from 3 Hungry Tummies will be hosting this month, please send your mouthwatering entries over to him: sureshchong(at)yahoo(dot)com.  :).

Have a great start to the week!

Purple sweet potato


Jill @ MadAboutMacarons said...

Wow - love the colours and what a great idea with the silicone wrappers as molds. Now, how much of a tease is that, when you say you have far too many. I so wish I could taste them, they look wonderful!

Juliana said...

Shaz, these little treats look so cute, love the glutinous rice with the sweet potato mix...
Hope you have a wonderful week ahead :-)

chocolatesuze said...

haha you have awesome mcgyver skills!

Lisa said...

shaz, I LOVE purple sweet potato..I once made a cake pairing it with macapuno. I wish I could find the recipe :( Lost it in a move. That MacGuyver'ed these and they turned out beautifully! At first I thought they were purple Reese's PB cups! LOL I really would love to take a stab at these one day.

lena said...

oh shaz, it's really amazing seeing you making angkoo kuihs without the angkoo mould! you sure have great ideas, nothing can stop you really if you want to make these! they do look great to me!! thanks for the link back too!

Vanille said...

I'm not familiar with Ang-Koo Kuih, but I like your diy approach. Makes me smile b/c it just shows what we are able to achieve when we really want/crave for something. And the cupcake liners are so effective !
Have a great week Shaz !

Beth said...

Those are really cute! I love how you improvised with them to get your final design. Isn't it amazing what we do in the kitchen to end up with what we want?

Hungry Dog said...

I like how McGyver has totally entered the international lexicon for being resourceful, or winging it! You always come up with the best ideas, shaz!

Barbara said...

Ang-Koo Kuih is new to me, Shaz. Loved reading about it AND your get-it-done attitude! We can get really creative when we want something badly enough. :)
Good idea to use cupcake liners!

shaz said...

Jill @ MadAboutMacarons - I'd love to give you some Jill :)

Juliana - thank you, enjoy your week too,

chocolatesuze - Cheers!

Lisa - ah, purple PB cups sound like fun, hmm....ideas.

lena - thanks for the recipe and the inspiration!

Vanille - where there's a will, there's a way right?

Beth- thank you :)

Hungry Dog - I LOVED McGyver. I wanted to marry Richard Dean Anderson!

Barbara - funnily enough, I have used these liners for everything except cupcakes!