Learn how to make traditional soft and wobbly kuih kosui flavored with pandan leaves and gula Melaka with nice dimples in the middle of the cakes and no alkaline water needed.
KUIH KOSUI PANDAN AND KUIH KOSUI GULA MERAH/MELAKA
Kuih kosui or we write it as kue kosui among the Indo Chinese, is one of my favorite childhood kue basah (literally means wet cakes). It is known as kue lumpang in native Indonesian language. Whatever you call it, it means the same thing 🙂 I made two flavors, one with pandan and another one with gula merah/gula Melaka. I like both equally!
Kuih kosui is very economical to make. The kuih is characterized by its “dimple” in the middle of the cake, lightly sweet taste, soft, yet wobbly and slightly bouncy texture and then topped with slightly salty grated coconut topping. OMG! I love this sweet-salty combo!
NO ALKALINE WATER NEEDED TO MAKE KUIH KOSUI
Alkaline water (lye water) is usually added to food for that chewy texture (think ramen noodles!). A few years ago, a Vietnamese friend taught me how to make Banh Beo. These savory cakes also have “dimples” in the middle. Her recipe is spot on. I then used almost the same one to make Singapore Chwee Kueh, yes, you’ve guessed it, these also have dimples in the middle. Kuih kosui uses the same concept. The soft, wobbly, and bouncy texture can be achieved without having to add any alkaline water. You just need the right combination of flours! The dimples will magically appear too during steaming. Read on!
WHY YOU’LL LIKE THIS KUIH KOSUI RECIPE
1. Yes, no Alkaline
I’ve tried several recipes throughout the year that require to heat the batter either in the microwave or the stove until just slightly thickened. I found this troublesome and it’s hard to control the thickening process and the batter ends up with lumps. This recipe doesn’t need that step!
3. Nice dimples (lompang/lumpang)
Some people will say that a nice kuih kosui must have “dimple” in the middle of the cake after steaming. This recipe will give you the dimples 😉 Though really, it doesn’t change a taste at all. Just a nice dimple when you topped with coconut, you can’t see it LOL!
4. No special cups needed (if you don’t have them)
I don’t have the individual cups that look like teacups to steam kuih kosui in. I just use small muffin tins to steam the cake and it worked out just fine
5. Kuih kosui stays soft and wobbly even after refrigeration
I store them in the refrigerator and tried it out without reheating the next day and the texture is still really good. Of course, the longer you store them, the texture will deteriorates, but once you reheat, it will be good again
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FLOURS/STARCHES USED FOR KUIH KOSUI
This recipe uses 3 different types of flour/starch: rice flour, mung bean starch (green pea flour), and tapioca starch. If you can’t find mung bean starch, you can use hunkwe flour. If you can’t find that too, just substitute with rice flour. All three can be easily found at Asian grocery store.
TOP TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. Let the boiled water cooled down
My friend shared with me that you don’t want the water to be boiling when you pour it into the flour as that will cook the flour and creates lumps. The warm water helps to create the dimples in the cake. It also improves the texture of the cake
2. Only fill the cups when you are ready to steam them
If you fill the cups with batter and let them sit waiting or the steamer for too long, the flour will sink to the bottom and guess what, your cake will not cook properly. So, please don’t do that. Only fill the cups with batter just before steaming
3. Always stir
When you are ready to pour into the cups, give the batter a good stir. For the same reason I mentioned in no.2. The flour tends to sink to the bottom
HOW TO MAKE KUIH KOSUI EASILY FROM SCRATCH
STEP ONE: PREPARE THE BATTER
1. Lightly grease the cups. Get the steamer ready. Steam the grated coconut and salt mixture for 10 minutes. Set aside 2. Bring water (and pandan juice, if making pandan flavor) and sugar to a boil in a saucepan and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let it cool down for 15 minutes
2. While waiting for it to cool down, mix all three flour with the salt
3. Once the liquid has cool down, pour into the flour mixture and stir to mix until batter is smooth
STEP TWO: STEAMING
1. Pour the batter into the cups, about 3/4 full
2. Steam over high heat for 15 minutes
STEP THREE: UNMOULDING AND SERVING
1. Let kuih kosui cool down for 5 minutes and if you have a small rubber spatula, gently unmould the kuih kosui by running the spatula around the edge and lift it up
2. Top with grated coconut
HOW TO STORE KUIH KOSUI
It’s winter when I made this and the humidity is super low and so I was able to let them cool down completely and then cover with plastic wrap and keep at room temperature until the next day. I put them in the refrigerator after that. The texture was still good after refrigeration without reheating, but feel free to reheat in a steamer for 5 minutes or in the microwave for few seconds. Kuih Kosui cannot be frozen!
We just love the soft, wobbly, and bouncy texture of kuih kosui!
Kuih Kosui / Kue Lumpang (Pandan or Gula Merah)
For pandan flavor:
- 150 gr sugar
- 250 ml boiling water let cool for 15 minutes
- 100 ml pandan juice
For gula merah flavor:
- 350 ml boiling water let cool for 15 minutes
- 80 gr gula Jawa (shaved or chopped into small pieces) or use coconut sugar
- 70 gr sugar
- 60 gr unsweetened grated coconut
- 1/4 tsp salt
Prepare the topping:
- Steam the coconut with salt over high heat for 10 minute. Remove and set aside
Prepare the batter:
- Place all three types of flour in a mixing bowl. Add salt and stir to mix. Lightly grease the cups you use to steam the cake with neutral-tasting oil
- Place the sugar (regular sugar and/or gula merah, depending on which flavor you are making) and 250 ml of water and pandan juice (for pandan flavor) in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let it cool down for 15 minutes
- Get your steamer ready. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the water you boiled earlier to the flour mixture and stir until the batter is smooth
- Pour this mixture into the cups, about 3/4 cup full and steam over high heat for 15 minutes
- If your steamer cannot fit all at the same time, do not pour the mixture ahead and let them sit in the cups. The flour tends to settle at the bottom after a while. Only pour the batter to the cups right before steaming AND stir the batter each time before pouring. This is important or your kuih kosui won't turn out right
- After 15 minutes, remove from the steamer and let them cool down for 5 minutes. They can be easily removed by running a small rubber spatula around the edge and lift them up. Sprinkle with the coconut toppings and serve
- Repeat with the next batch of steaming if you need to and make sure the steaming water is back to a rolling boil before steaming.