Wednesday, February 25, 2009

9-layer Nonya Kueh & Steamed Rice Cake

I have a day off today and did 9-layer nonya kueh & steamed rice cake this afternoon. I have always been a fan of nonya kueh as they look as good as the taste. Or maybe it's because of my hometown, Penang where it's famous for great food & kueh too ... (^.^)

This is my 3rd attempt at 9-layer nonya kueh and it turn out as I expected - not too sweet but yet has a rich coconut milk flavor. I'm always amazed at how the combination of such simple ingredients (rice flour, sugar, pandan leaves, cocnout milk etc) could result in something so yummy & colorful. I wanted to do a kueh with more subtle, pastel colors but it turn out pretty bright - guess i added too much coloring ... (^_^!)

6" square 9-layer kueh sliced & wrapped for my hubby to treat his colleagues

9-layer Nonya Kueh
Ingredients (For a 9" square tin)

480g tapioca flour
150g sago flour
35g mungo bean flour (aka tepung hoon hwee)
50g rice flour
720ml thick coconut milk
650g sugar
1 litre water
3-4 pandan leaves
A dash of red, green, blue & yellow food coloring
A pinch of salt (I use 1/4 teaspoon)

  1. Boil sugar with pndan leaves in 1 litre of water until sugar melts. Strain the syrup & dilute with water to make 1.5 litres.
  2. Mix all the flour & salt together in a bowl. Pour in the coconut milk a little at a time & mix till smooth. Set aside.
  3. Pour the syrup from step (1) gradually into the flour mixture. Stir constantly till well blended.
  4. Divide the mixture into 4 (if using 3 food colorings) or 5 (if using 4 food colorings) portions. Leave 1 portion uncoloured. Mix each of the other 3 or 4 portions with 1 food coloring.
  5. Grease a 9" square tin with oil. Place tin in aa steamer & steam until tin is hot. Pour in the uncoloured mixture & steam for 6-8 mins Repeat another layer with the uncoloured mixture & steam again.
  6. Repeat step (5) with batter of different colours alternatively till the mixture is used up. The top layer should be red.
  7. Leave kueh to cool completely before cutting.
Recipe from: Delicious Nonya Kueh & Deserts by Patricia Lee

For mine, I only make half the portion & steam it in a 6" square tin. My total mixture yields about 1250ml & I divide into 5 portions - white, red, blue, green & yellow of 250 ml each. So technically speaking, mine is a 10-layer kueh with 125ml of mixture for each layer. But the measurements has to be adjusted accordingly depending on the total yield of the mixture.

One point to note is to stir the mixture well before steaming to avoid the flour settling at the bottom. If this happens, the kueh will end up soft at the bottom & harder on top (where the flour mixture concentrates).

Besides the conventional rectangle slices, I also try my luck to steam the layered nonya kueh using a mini cupcake tray. It's a little tedious scooping tiny teaspoons of the mixture into each cup but the result is really cute. The 1st layer of red was too thin and ended up turning 'purple' combined with blue as the 2nd layer underneath.

Also steamed 9-layer nonya kueh & rice cake using my fav mini-cupcake mould

Next, I try steaming rice cakes - you know, the kind that we get at pasar malam which comes together with a pack of orange colored sugar? Mine was slightly different in taste as compared to those I usually buy at pasar malam - it has a hint of coconut milk & I suppose it's bcos the recipe calls for addition of coconut milk. However, mine did not rise & 'open up' as high and as wide as those I bought ... wonder what went wrong? (-.-!)

Steamed rice cakes
Ingredients (Yields 12-30 depending on size of mould used)

200g rice flour
200ml coconut milk
160ml boiling water
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder (A)
120g sugar
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder (B)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence

  1. Sift rice flour & baking powder (A) together. Combine flour mixture with coconut milk & mix well.
  2. Add boiling water, mix well & set aside to cool. When cool, stir in baking powder (B) & set aside for 1 hour.
  3. Combine sugar & vanilla essence into mixture from step (2) & mix well.
  4. Grease mould with oil or line mould with paper cups & arrange on steamer tray. Pour batter into greased mould/paper cups until 90% full & leave to rise for 30 mins.
  5. Steam over rapidly boiling water (high heat) for about 15 mins or until skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  6. Remove from mould & leave to cool on wire rack.
Recipe from: Make Your Own Pastry

Overall, I'm happy as my hubby said the response from his colleagues was quite good that he ended up not having enough to go around his dept. We also had the steamed rice cakes for breakfast the next morning.

Yum Yum !!!

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