Sunday, October 12, 2008

Baked Kuih Seri Muka

I Know, I know, I have yet to make the Kuih Makmur to post it on the blog. I will. Too much kuih Raya is preventing me from making it too soon after Eid.

In the meantime, try this baked Kuih Seri Muka or literally translated 'Radiant Faced Cake'. LOL. This version is baked not steamed as it traditionally is. It is much more convenient and hassle free and turns out beautifully. It's very much like a sticky rice pudding with a rich, velvety custard topping. Very delish.

When you do make this do not omit the salt. It makes all the difference as the salt brings out the richness of the coconut milk flavour and makes the kuih one of the best.

Try to use fresh pandan leaves too and not green food colouring or the pandan flavouring from a bottle.

The bottled flavouring has no flavour. At all. And the green colouring cannot beat the natural muted green from a pandan leaf. I'm not a big fan of gaudy greens.

Of course if you live in an area not overwhelmed by pandan leaves carry on with the bottled stuff.

However, for the coconut milk, use the canned or packet kind.

Its important that you use an 8 inch square baking pan (lined with silicone or non-stick baking paper in one whole piece with ends that over hang the sides of the pan). Do not use a different sized pan.

This recipe makes about 25 pieces of kuih after cutting.

1 1/2 cups glutinous rice
1 3/4 cups coconut milk (the consistency of evaporated milk)
1/2 teaspoon salt

9 small or 4 large pandan/screwpine leaves, chopped roughly
1/2 cup water

4 eggs
1 cup castor sugar
1/3 teaspoon salt
2 Tbspoons plain flour
1 3/4 cups coconut milk (the consistency of evaporated milk)

Rinse the glutinous rice until the water is clean and clear. Drain. Put the drained glutinous rice into a rice cooker. Add salt and 1 3/4 cups of coconut milk. Stir. Switch on the rice cooker. When the button springs up to signal that the cooking is done leave the rice in the pot for another 20 to 30 minutes until the rice completely absorbs the coconut milk.

If, out of curiosity, you decide to take a peek into the rice cooker, do not be alarmed if you see a wet milky and gooey mess inside. If you let sit for another 20 minutes or so the rice would have absorbed all the coconut milk and it will be perfect for pressing into a baking pan.

In the meantime prepare the green custard:

Blend the chopped pandan/ screwpine leaves with 1/2 cup of water in a blender and then strain the juice. Keep aside.

Break 4 eggs into a medium bowl. Add in sugar and stir (do not whisk) until the sugar dissolves. Add strained pandan/screwpine juice. Add flour. Mix until there are no lumps of flour visible. Add in the coconut milk and SALT. Stir and strain into a medium sized jug.


Line an 8 inch/20 cm square baking pan with baking paper or silicone paper (NOT greaseproof paper). This is very important if you want for easy and clean cutting of the kuih/cake later. Make sure that you have excess baking paper all around (meaning that the paper comes about 1 inch over the height of the pan. You'll see why later.

Scoop the cooked glutinous rice into the lined pan. Spread it out and press down. Level it evenly with the back of a tablespoon or with the palm of your hand lined with a clean unused heat proof plastic food bag or cling film. The second way makes for easier leveling but do let the glutinous rice cool a little before doing that. If you don't then you'll know why I said that.

Press down firmly to make sure that there are no gaps and that the layer is tight and compact and reaches well to the sides of the pan. Pour over the strained green custard.

Bake at 170 C for 1 hour or until it feels firm when the baking pan is slightly shaken.

Let it cool completely. When it has cooled lift it out of the pan by holding onto the excess baking paper on the sides and place it on a flat surface. Cut as you wish into diamond shapes or into small squares. Delish!!

TIP : There is no need to soak the glutinous rice first as some people do before they steam it. If you do that your rice cooker will not work and the button will jump up while the rice grains are still raw. Its ok when steaming on a stove top but not when cooking in a rice cooker. Why? I'm not a scientist. I'm a cook. It just happened when I did that. :(

I figured that the glutinous rice had absorbed plenty of liquid upon soaking and it had reached a saturation point of sorts. Because it had fluffed up and is very starchy by nature it just wouldn't cook or boil in the relatively small amount of liquid that was used. The rice cooker couldn't do its work. (like I said I'm no scientist). So if you'll just do as I say I wouldn't have to ramble on. :)

TIP : Don't be appalled if you see that the edges of the cooked kuih/cake looking like a wrinkled prune, like in the picture below. That's the most delish part but the rest of the kuih/cake will be perfect.

TIP : The reason I insisted on not using greaseproof paper is because the paper will stick to the bottom of the kuih/cake and tear when you try to remove it. Unnecessary stress incurred. And while you're doing that the whole green custard will fall off because you have to turn the kuih/cake over to do the surgery. PLOP.

TIP : When cutting the kuih/cake, clean the knife after slicing along each length so that its easy to cut the next row without stickiness.

TIP : The low heat during baking makes for a smooth, velvety and silky custard.If the oven is too hot the custard will get too brown on top and air pockets will form in the cooked custard because the mixture was bubbling furiously in the hot oven.

TIP : For some reason the cooked glutinous rice layer never gets burnt or overcooked upon baking. I never could give a satisfactory explanation for that but if you could I'd love to hear it.

TIP : Do use the 8 inch square baking pan that I mentioned. The recipe is perfect for the size. Any larger or smaller and the height of the kuih/cake layers will be affected.


Anonymous said...

lol mummy, funny pulakla post ni lol..ohh eh i love the green ..moss green...mine i always go for the brighter green...but you're right..yours look nicer and less artificial. oh but we have daun pandan here can omit the bottled stuff unless malas :P i have to figure out a recipe tomake the green topping since cannot use normal flour and cannot use eggs ...ohh that's why la my pulut tak jd when cooked in rice cooker!!! i always soak them first!

Zurin said...

Yes...don't soak....I wished someone told me that a hundred years ago! use egg replacer and cornflour and maybe you need only to chill it like a chilled custard..try k.but cook over a fire first like cooking custard then pour on the pulut then chill to firm up. Eh! im getting good at this!:0

Anonymous said...

ohh chilled custard!! ok i'll try it inshaallah thanksmummy!


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