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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 πŸ™‚ 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.Β  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: πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


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!

Lazy Honeydew Sago with Coconut Milk

In Recipes, Singaporean on September 25, 2010 at 5:07 pm

When you’re a lazy and poor student living in the Netherlands, you might be in search of refreshing dessert alternatives apart from yoghurt, vla (custard dessert) and rijst pap (rice pudding). The solution to this is simple — that is, to look eastwards and then southwards, where warmer climates and more recently developed countries mean that sweets that are brought to the table are often simple, cheap and refreshing.

If I were to always get my way, I’d say that fresh fruits would be sufficient to end the meal. But once, it seemed that my nicely cut apples weren’t too well-received as a dessert for a dinner gathering πŸ˜› So this time, when I got my hands on some really sweet honeydew melon from the farmer’s market, I made some into lazy honeydew dessert! Hmm, so lazy that I didn’t even bother to measure my ingredients nor take the time to make a proper photo of it. But anyway, here it is. A lazy alternative for non-yoghurt, non-vla, non-rijstpap dessert in a student dormitory dinner.

Honeydew Sago with Coconut Milk Recipe simplified from here

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a honeydew melon
  • ~ 1/2 cup pearl sago / tapioca pearls
  • 1 can (400ml) thin coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 100ml water
  • ice if convenient

Method:

  1. Boil sago in 1L of water. When sago turns translucent, pour into sieve / strainer and wash away excess starch with cold water.
  2. Dissolve sugar in warm water to make a sugar syrup (I used the microwave).
  3. Add syrup to coconut milk until desired sweetness is attained.
  4. Cut honeydew melon into small pieces.
  5. To serve, spoon some sago and honeydew into a bowl, top over with sweetened coconut milk and add some ice. πŸ™‚ That’s it!

Kueh Dadar | Mamee Noodles

In Recipes, Singaporean on April 19, 2010 at 12:38 am

When you’re 10,000km away from home (or 9957km to be exact), some things from childhood have a special power to make you gasp with an irrational amount of joy and act with a ridiculous amount of irrationality (like paying $6 instead of $0.60 for a bite of dorayaki). Well, when you miss home as much as I do, and you want some ‘Mamee’ and ‘Dadar’, the next best option is to buy what you can, and make what you can’t.

Unlike Mamee that is pretty much an emo trip-to-my-childhood, I truly truly love nyonya kuehs. For flavouring ingredients as simple as coconut milk and palm sugar built on common starches like wheat, rice and tapioca, they have a taste and texture so irrepressibly addictive that I just can’t control myself every time I lay eyes on it (HY can vouch for that!). Best of all, it catapults me back home during those few moments of sensory indulgence for a quick and effective dose of anti-homesickness.


My two favourites are kueh dadar and ondeh ondeh, both of which I frequently make as my Singaporean ‘badge’ whenever I attend dinner parties. These ‘green coconut pancakes’ and ‘green bally thingies’ — as my European friends now refer to them– always elicits initial responses of surprise due to their unsettling green luminosity, yet it never takes much persuading to get the plate polished up. Anyway, it was kueh dadar this time — I’ll post on ondeh ondeh the next time I make it, though you’d already catch a glimpse of it in the background of my agar agar cake photo in the earlier post! πŸ˜‰


Kueh Dadar Recipe adapted from Rasa Malaysia

Pancake

  • 120g flour
  • 1 egg
  • 300ml coconut milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp pandan (screwpine) paste or just green colouring as a lesser alternative

Filling

  • 80g Gula Melaka (palm sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 80 ml water
  • 120g shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  1. Dissolve the sugars in water in a saucepan and stir in the shredded coconut and corn starch till you get a moist golden brown coconut filling. Leave aside to cool.
  2. Sift flour and salt in a mixing bowl, combine a lightly beaten egg and coconut milk by lightly whisking with a hand whisk. Add the pandan paste and stir till you get a homogenous green pancake batter.
  3. Heat up a non-stick frying pan on medium-low heat and spoon 1-2 tbsp of batter into the centre. Swirl or use the base of the spoon to make a thin pancake of about 15cm in diameter.
  4. When the surface is dries out, transfer to a plate with the top surface facing down (this will be the outside of the Kueh Dadar)
  5. Place two teaspoons of coconut filling on the pancake and roll up like a spring roll.
  6. Best served immediately, but within the same day is fine!