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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Palm Sugar Rice Cakes (Kuih Kosui)

Kosui 5

Kosui 8

Gula Melaka
South East Asian cuisine, as one knows, is diverse in a rich and colourful way. Distinct sharp flavours often puctuated by the clever use of exotic spices and earthy fresh ingredients have come to depict the identity of SE Asian cuisine to many.

Needless to say, gastronomy nostalgia for me, with my Singaporean roots, will always have to involve food or ingredients that transport me back to the region. Dessert will always be a category that grips many and for many of us who reside in the South East Asia, Kuih, those bitesized snacks that come in a myriad of textures, colours and taste will always evoke fond memories and comfort.

Common ingredients for Kuih include coconut products, root vegetables such as tapioca or sweet potato, rice flour (SE Asia's staple carb component) and.... Gula Melaka (palm sugar) which transforms our sweets further with its exotic sweetness. Commonly used in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesian cuisine, the palm sugar resembles brown sugar but has a more distinct caramel or butterscotch like flavour. The palm sugar, being more accessible and cheaper than refined white cane sugar was very often the sweet note on the simplest desserts such as sago pudding, coconut milk based chendol and in this case, the no frills, straight forward rice cake, Kuih Kosui.
Kosui 2

Kosui 6
I have to admit that Kuih Kosui has never been my favourite kuih but it is possibly the one that best celebrates the flavours of palm sugar. Commonly steamed in a tray and cut into rectangular slices to be coated with grated coconut, there are others who also steam these in little cup molds. I have decided today to try to work with these little leaf cups which I had bought at a wet market in Chinatown, Bangkok. However, I must admit regret in dressing up the kuih in these cups for the the dried leafy cup carries with it a scent that I feel do not meld with the palm sugar.

Overall though, this is definitely one classic dessert which sets off the sweet exotic flavours of Gula Melaka in an honest, earthy manner and for many of us who hail from the region, I have no doubt that it will bring back sweet dessert memories we grew with.

Kosui 7(100)
RecipePalm Sugar         100g
Water                 100ml
Sugar                  60g
Rice Flour           5 tbsp
Tapioca Flour     2 tbsp
Alkaline water     1/2 tsp
Grated coconut    50g (salted and steamed)
Salt                      1/2 tsp

Method :
1. In a heavy saucepan, place palm sugar and water. Heat up to dissolve the palm sugar. Add castor sugar, and continue to heat until sugar dissolves.
2. Add Alkaline water and Rice flour and Tapioca flour and mix well.
3. Return the saucepan over the stove and over low heat and with stirring, cook the batter until the batter starts to become a thicker flowable batter.
4. In a spearate pot, heat up water to prepare for steaming.
5. Pour (3) into molds (either a rectangular tray or small cups)
6. Steam (5) over high heat for about 15mins.
7. Cool down and garnish with salted grated coconut.

38 comments:

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

Love love love the look of the leaf cups. Perfect for this kuih. They go really well with your rustic wooden background. Beautiful clicks, Shirley.

Cooking Gallery said...

Those look so pretty...! I used to eat such kuihs too when I was younger, very yummy :D)!

Jean said...

this little bite sized cakes are my mom's favorite. she'll always complain why don't I start learning how to make asian desserts haha and yours looks just perfect! dainty pieces of artwork :)

edith said...

I like this kueh perhaps becoz of the palm sugar but definitely will taste nicer if minus the coconut. hahah..

Love your presentation. Hard to make those banana leaf cuppies?

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

You use the leaf to present this kuih, look so beautiful like Japanese dessert.

DG said...

Delicious looking kuih kosui with those special leaf cups!

busygran said...

This kueh is my hubby's favourite. Been pestering me to make it for him. Love your presentation!

La Table De Nana said...

The little cups are so cute..I will try and find palm sugar one day~

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

@Edith, I did not make the cups. I bought them in Bangkok and I am a little clueless what leaf this was made from. It would have been better if these are made of banana leaves.

Zurin said...

lovely rustic fotos Shorley. I love kuih kosui but have never made them. I like the ones in cups with a hole in the middle for the coocnut. Must try your recipe. :)

Angie's Recipes said...

oh..I love those leave cups and kuih kosui are very delicious.

Cooking Gallery said...

Hi again, I have an award for you, please pick it up whenever you have the time :).

Maria said...

That looks very interesting, I've never tried these :-)

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more said...

Oh gula melaka is cheaper than white sugar in Spore?
Gula melaka is definately pricier over here. Almost triple!

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

@Wendy, castor sugar here is SGD 2.50 per kg. Traditionally it makes sense that gula is cheaper than refined sugar. Malaysian government did not subsidise gula? Anyway, I paid a dollar for about 600g of gula at the market here.

tigerfish said...

They are exceptionally pretty in those cups...

gertrude said...

I can't get gula melaka here so I used the Indonesian gula jawa. They tasted similar but very much darker. I always like dessert made from gula melaka. This kueh is one of them. First time seeing those cute cuppies.

daphne said...

U managed to make this kueh look soooo gorgeous!!! I have been eyeing more kuih recipes to try recently, just get to get my head around! I'm would love to have one of the kuihs now!

Jo said...

Shirley, the kuih kosui looks so good and I never knew they could look so elegant as well. Love the leaf cups and it makes the whole presentation really stand out.

Indie.Tea said...

Your presentation of the rice cakes is so lovely - the rice cups are too sweet. And I'm not familiar with palm sugar, so I really appreciated the information. The cakes look delicious...

Swee San said...

Beautiful leave / cups.. everything loooks so rustic and comforting ..

pickyin @ LifeIsGreat said...

Love your celebration of gula melaka here, we often forget the little things that makes our regional food experiences so special. Back in Malaysia we get gula melaka in very dark flat discs wrapped in leaves.

I like gula melaka in onde-onde and also in a coconut milk agar-agar my mother used to make. Now this post has inspired me to look up that recipe from her. Thanks Shirley!

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

Oh I love the fluffy white topping compared to the dark yummy looking insides. Glad you show us a glimpse in one photo. Adorable presentation with the leaf cups, too!

Lisa H. said...

I so love this kuih... and beautiful photos... :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

This dessert reminds me so much of being on holiday Shirley! :D

a frog in the cottage said...

so delicate & cute !! absolutely irresistible

Pei-Lin said...

Yea, agreed with Wendy! Gula Melaka is pricier than regular sugar, especially the good one. I don't buy the ones on supermarket shelves. My mom and I always stock up on the gula from Melaka. Pure, quality gula is very soft and melts even at room temperature. It's VERY DARK in amber color, too. Intensely flavored.

Same, kuih kosui has never been my fave kuih since young. But I don't mind eating it once in a while. =)

pigpigscorner said...

I like the cups! This is not my favourite kuih either, but you can really taste the flavour of gula melaka.

Mei Teng said...

Yummy! Love the 2nd photo. Great composition.

noobcook said...

so gorgeous and love the rustic styling :)

Anh said...

beautiful photo Shirley! I don't grow up with kuih but my husband's family is crazy about 'em!

travellingfoodies said...

i LOVE gula melaka and anything that goes with it though interestingly Kuih Kosui never really runs high on that "to-eat" list.

one tip I picked up from the peranankan cooking series "Ways of a Matriach" was to ""pre-heat the cupsby leaving them to "steam" over boiling water for a few mins prior to pouring in the paste. this helps to prevent the kuih from sticking to the cups too much. Hope it helps!

pierre said...

i definitely love the style of your photos !!pierre

petite nyonya said...

lovely kuih kosui. more coconut with it is the best!

Joanne said...

I have never seen any dessert like this before but it looks fantastic! The photos are just gorgeous.

thecoffeesnob said...

I love how rustic these photos are, although I don't think I've ever had these. They certainly go right to the top of my 'to hunt down' list now :)

grub said...

the cups and rustic styling is so beautiful! i had some of these outside the "niu che shui" market in Singapore when i was touring there last year! it was so good and we asked for more coconut since it was so delish!!!!

by the way, i'm not sure if you do these things but, i have given you a blog award, please come to my blog and claim it if you have time.

DG said...

Hi Shirley,
I have an award for you, please stop by whenever you free :)
http://testedandtasted.blogspot.com/2011/03/one-lovely-blog-award-ii.html

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