The part that I enjoy the most about eating muffin is the top of the muffin. I think most of you can relate to this This is exactly the case for Chinese Steamed Cake or in Hokkian Dialect we called it Huat Kueh. Direct translation of Huat means expand/increase in volume or the Chinese use it to describe “being prosperous” The top of Huat Kueh is “huge” and I love it, just like muffin. Huat Kueh alone comes in different varieties and colors, but they are mainly made of flour, sugar, yeast, some with coconut milk and then steamed. Some make yellow and pink colors. Most popular one is the pink color. The one that I like the most though, is the brown color or we call it Mo Ho Kueh at my home town. The brown color is from the Gula Jawa/ Palm sugar and this is also what makes it really fragrant. There is also sweet potatoes in this Mo Ho Kueh and I’ve soft spots for potatoes too.
As I’m typing this post, I have already eaten two! oopss!!! When I lived in Jakarta right after graduated from high school back in 1997 (zillion years ago I know), I remember my mom made them, pack them well and couriered them overnight to me along with other comfort foods. When I opened up the package and I saw Mo Ho Kueh, tears were streaming down my face. Tears of joy !!! She knows how much I love this Mo Ho Kueh and being away from home wasn’t easy and the package brought me close to home.
My mom brought me this “special” muffin cup to steam the Huat Kueh. I think you can use regular muffin cups (without holes) if they come in individual, the one I have is muffin tray and I don’t know how I can steam them in a tray.
- 2 lbs all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour (I've tried both and I couldn't tell the difference)
- 1 lb sweet potatoes (peeled) and/or potatoes (peeled) - you can mix both if you like
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups coconut milk or cow's milk - I suggest using coconut milk or mixing half coconut milk and half cow's milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 package of active dry-yeast
- 3½ oz sugar (more if you like it sweeter, this is perfect amount for me)
- 1 lb gula jawa/palm sugar
- Melt the Gula jawa and sugar with 2 cups of water. Bring it to boil. Strain and then let it cool completely
- Steam the sweet potatoes or potatoes and then mash while still hot. Set aside to let it cool down completely before mixing into the flour
- In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, coconut milk/milk, eggs and cooled sweet potatoes. Pour the yeast into the cool Gula Jawa you have melted to dissolve it and then pour it into the flour mixture. You will have quite a lumpy dough and that's the way it is, don't panic. Let the dough rest for 3 hours in a warmed place (you read it right...3 hours) and it will double in size, so make sure your bowl is large enough or it will overflow. If it is about to overflow before the 3 hours are up, stir it with a spoon and then let it rise again
- Once it rises, this is an important step and you must not skip it or you will not have a good result: STIR THE DOUGH TO MIX IT WELL
- Get your steamer all hot and ready. Line the muffin cups with the muffin cups paper. Portion the dough into individual cup and fill it up all the way to the top as much as you can.
Once you fill them up in the cups, they must go to the steamer as soon as they can or they will start to overflow if you let them sit on the cups for too long. Steam on high heat for 15-20 minutes. You can see the cake has started to rise up. DO NOT be tempted to open the cover or they will not rise
- You will see how the top has expanded and broken into 3-4 segments and that's what we want with Huat Kueh