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Jiu Ceng Gao (九层糕)| Kueh Lapis Sagu

In Recipes, Singaporean on November 7, 2010 at 11:03 am

1. There are foods that taste great.
2. There are foods that are so pretty that they taste great even before they touch the tongue.
3. There are foods that taste great simply because you grew up with them.

And there are foods that fit all 3 categories:

I’d peel them layer….by layer….by layer…4, 5, 6th…… 7, 8th…and with brief hesitation, I’d nibble through the 9th and final of the rainbow-coloured soft n chewy layers, mm by mm by mm… mmmmm 🙂 Happy food.

Of course, being a poor student with limited cash and limited space on the shelf, stocking up on all those colours is not economically nor logistically sensible.  Too bad that nyonya kueh doesn’t keep long (starch retrogrades and coconut milk goes rancid) and getting some from home on mama’s tab wouldn’t work. Surprise surprise, poorskinnychef makes her own, but with less colours in the equation:

The verdict:🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂


Jiu Ceng Gao | Kueh Lapis Sagu Recipe modified from IndoLists

Ingredients:

  • 200g tapioca / sago starch
  • 100g rice flour
  • 500ml coconut milk
  • 300ml water
  • 240g sugar
  • essence and colouring (I used pandan paste for green and rose paste for pink)

[use more tapioca starch for chewier texture, more coconut milk for stronger coconut flavour – this recipe yielded the same texture as the ones I have at home! soft yet springy!]

Method:

  1. Dissolve sugar in hot water to make a syrup and pour in coconut milk.
  2. Mix in starches with a hand whisk.
  3. Divide mixture into 3 portions (~350ml each)
  4. Grease a smooth-based tin (about 10” diameter or square tin would be even better for cutting later!) and heat in the steamer.
  5. Pour in 1/3 of white layer (~110-120ml) and steam for 3-4 min on high heat.
  6. Alternate with colours and steam each layer 3-4 min until 9 layers have been created!
  7. Cool, oil surfaces, unmould and cut into pieces with greased knife.
  8. Wrap pieces with greased plastic to prevent sticking!

The Squishy Surprise : Onde-Onde | Klepon

In Recipes, Singaporean on October 21, 2010 at 1:39 am

Did I mention in my last post that I’m done making green-coloured sweet snacks? Well, apparently not! Until onde-onde (as it’s called in M’sia / S’pore vs ‘klepon’ in Indonesia) is on the blog, it definitely warrants a revisit (to make the proper instructional photos). Within its soft chewy green exterior and snowy coconut-y coat, hides an unexpected sweet explosive surprise. Pop one into your mouth and BAM*! you’re hit with a burst of fragrant melted palm sugar that oozes out and engulfs your taste buds. Mmm, I really really love these green bally thingies!

This post is for the cuz who settled in Perth for 2 years now and unbelievably misses none of the lip-smacking Singaporean food except for — ONDE-ONDE (seriously, how can that be, A?)… as well as for the bunches of friends who have been pestering me for it since I was obsessively making it for every other international food gathering last year~ (and even for sale at the Asian supermarket). These little squishy surprises are such simple bundles of jumpy joy!

Onde-Onde | Klepon recipe (recipe by my own ‘feel’) makes 25 small balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water
  • Small piece of sweet potato (~50g)
  • 1/2 tsp pandan paste
  • 50g gula melaka (coconut palm sugar)
  • 1 tbsp white sugar / brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dessicated / shredded coconut
  • pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Cut sweet potato into small segments and boil / steam.
  2. Chop palm sugar into bits and mix in 1 tbsp of white / brown sugar. Set aside.
  3. Mash the cooked sweet potato and mix into glutinous rice flour.
  4. Bind together flour and sweet potato with warm water into a smooth dough. It should be easily shaped, not crumbly and not sticky. Adjust with water / flour.
  5. Add pandan paste to the dough and knead till colour is even. Alternatively, you could also add it in to the water at step 4.
  6. Pinch small balls of dough, flatten it with thumb, place a small amount of sugar in the middle, close and roll into a ball with the palms of your hand.
  7. Drop the balls into a pot of boiling water and give it a few stirs during cooking. When dough is cooked, it will rise to the surface (~3-5min).
  8. Meanwhile place the coconut in a deep dish and mix in a pinch of salt.
  9. Scoop the cooked dough into the coconut and swirl around to coat.
  10. Set aside to cool! Best enjoyed fresh as keeping overnight causes it to harden.

Simplification: Sweet potato amount can be increased for a softer texture, or eliminated altogether for a more chewy ball.

Announcement: Poorskinnychef’s onde-onde will be selling at Toko Indrani @ Salverdaplein frozen section :)  wheee~

Steamed Sago Cake – Kueh Sagu

In Recipes, Singaporean on September 26, 2010 at 7:10 pm

I’ve been refraining as much as possible from buying new ingredients at the Asian supermarket, because they all come in packs of 500g – 1kg and I’m just about to move across town. Don’t want to be carting additional boxes of ingredients when I already have a massive amount of stuff to worry about. And so I decided to convert the remains of my packet of tapioca pearls into one of my favourite nyonya kueh for a recent international gathering. Steamed sago cake a.k.a. kueh sagu! But naturally, if I ever attempt to make anything, it’s of course ‘one of my favourites’, why else do I go through the effort then?


Just what is sago? And what are tapioca pearls and why do I seem to use it so interchangeably? NO, they are not FROG EGGS (in reference to their appearance) contrary to some Western belief that resulted from too much mischievous Asian teasing. Both are actually starches of very similar characteristics (transparent and chewy), and are produced in the form of granules or ‘pearls’ to be used conveniently for cooking. The former is obtained from the pith of the sago palm stem, while the latter is obtained from the cassava root. Nothing weird about it at all. Just starch, like potato starch, corn starch, wheat starch… made into a more convenient and potentially innovative form.

Yep, so here’s yet another green recipe (apart from ondeh ondeh and kueh dadar that I’ve been making frequently in the past year). It just happens that I never see any pressing need to obtain other colours for my recipes, apart from the green of my pandan paste. I hope that I’m not sending the wrong message that nyonya kueh are all green in colour, because they’re not and hopefully I will have a chance to show you soon🙂


Kueh Sagu Recipe modified from here

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pearl sago / tapioca pearls
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • a few drops of pandan paste
  • 1/2 tsp pandan essence (or 1 tsp pandan essence + colouring)
  • 20g dessicated coconut with a pinch of salt mixed in

Method:

  1. Soak the pearls in a generous amount of water (1L maybe?) and leave aside for 1h. Will double to triple in volume.
  2. Drain away excess water then mix in sugar and pandan paste / essence.
  3. Transfer to a greased pot / bowl that fits in your steamer. Here’s how to do it if you don’t have a steamer.
  4. Steam on high heat for 20min.
  5. Cool and coat with dessicated coconut while cutting into bite-sized pieces.

Alternative spellings of the name: sago kueh / kuih sago

Variations on the recipe: create layers by splitting into 2 batches after flavouring with sugar and pandan essence. Add an additional few drops of pandan paste to colour one batch green. Steam the white layer for 10 min, then pour the green batch over and steam for another 20min.

Other variations: colour with other colours and make layers the same way, or use coconut palm sugar (gula melaka) in place of white sugar!