Learn how to make a simplified version of the traditional Chinese rice flour huat kueh without using any eggs and yeast. I’m sharing how to make original flavor huat kueh and gula Melaka huat kueh.
Rice flour huat kueh was actually the kind of huat kueh I grew up eating. Mom usually bought the iconic pink rice flour huat kueh from the market and use them as an offering for praying. In Indonesia, we call this kue mangkok, which literally means cake in a cup. Some kue mangkok also used fermented cassava (tape singkong) as one of the ingredients.
Traditional Chinese rice huat kueh is made by soaking rice and grind up your own rice flour and then the rice batter is fermented with toddy palm wine (tuak). Then there is also rice huat kueh made with leftover cooked rice and yeast balls are used to ferment the rice.
Then in these modern days, rice flour huat kueh is made by using store-bought rice flour and leavened by either baking powder, club soda (or carbonated drink) or ENO, which is a combination of baking soda, citric acid, and soda. I honestly don’t really like the version made with ENO because it gives a funny taste IMHO.
An easy version of rice flour huat kueh
This recipe doesn’t use yeast, toddy palm wine, and ENO. It just uses a baking powder as a leavening agent. The cake depends solely on this to rise and bloom open (huat). This easy version of rice flour huat kueh is more suitable for praying. I honestly not too crazy about the taste and texture though compared to like this pandan huat kueh (which is excellent) and apam beras/apam nasi and my other huat kueh recipes.
The recipe rundown
Taste: lightly sweet
Texture: Soft with some chewiness (but not too much) when they are warm but will turn a bit harder as they cool down especially after refrigeration.
Pros: you only need a few ingredients
Cons: The texture is drier, which is typical of the cake made with solely rice flour. Reheating them will bring back their softness. My kids complain about the sticky texture (kinda stuck to the teeth a bit when you eat them). I call this huat kueh for praying (not so much for eating)
1. Rice flour
I use Thai Erawan rice flour. You can use any other brand just make sure it is pure rice flour and not a mixture of rice flour with other flour/starch
2. Sugar or Palm sugar (gula Jawa/gula Melaka)
For the pink version I use icing sugar and for the brown color, I use palm sugar
3. Baking powder
I use double-acting baking powder, which is a common type these days
4. Coconut milk
Coconut milk will give the cake a richer taste and moister compared to just plain water. You can use either one
A pinch of salt really is all you need to bring out the flavor
6. Food coloring (optional)
I use a tiny drop of red food coloring for the pastel pink color
What to expect
Unlike huat kueh made with all-purpose flour, rice flour huat kuih will harden when they cool down and this is normal for most food made with rice flour. They are dry and crumbly when not warm or hot. Reheating them will bring back the softness.
Tips for success
1. Use metal or ceramic cups to steam the cake. Silicone and paper cup materials are not a good heat conductor and will not give your cake a nice crack and smile
2. Please make sure the steamer can accommodate steaming the cake all at once because you don’t want the batter to sit around and wait
3. The steamer is ready to go when you are done filling up the batter to the cups
4. Steam over high heat for the maximum bloom
How to store rice flour huat kuih
1. Let the rice flour huat kuih cools down completely on a cooling rack
2. Individually wrap it up with a cling wrap and put in a freezer bag, push all the air out and they can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week and one month in the freezer
3. Simply thaw them overnight in the fridge if you remember and then reheat by steaming them until they are warm and soft again
Did you make this rice flour huat kueh recipe?
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Easy Chinese Rice Flour Huat Kueh (No Yeast)
For original pink color version:
Prepare the cake batter:
- Bring the water in the steamer to a rolling boil. Prepare the cups by lining them with a paper liner. OR you can use small tea cups and lightly oil the cups
- Combine rice flour, icing sugar, salt, and baking powder. Whisk to combine.
- Add coconut milk and stir to combine. The batter will be thick. Add a few drops of red food coloring. The amount depends on how light or deep the color you want
- For gula Melaka version, put coconut milk and gula Melaka in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until sugar melts. Strain the mixture and let it cools down. Add to the flour mixture and stir until combine. The batter will be thick
- Use a spoon to scoop the batter and fill the cups to 3/4 full only and steam over high heat for 15 minutes. Check with a cake tester and it should come out clean
- Let them cool down in the cup for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to let them cool down completely
- The coconut milk shouldn't be too thick. If you feel that the coconut milk is too thick, you can mix it with a bit of water to thin it out a bit
- If you replace coconut milk with water, the batter will be thinner and the texture of the cake also feels more crumbly