Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Kuih Salad

I am wondering what is the exact name for this piece of nyonya/malay kuih which has glutinous rice at the bottom and the kaya-like custard topping. In Kuching, the pronounciation for this ranges from kuih salak to kuih salas to kuih salad. I think the Malays called it Kuih Seri Muka.

Besides the confusion of names for kuih, it has become more and more difficult to tell which kuih is more nyonya or malay or chinese. The lines have blurred substantially over the years due to the interaction among the many races. Out of the 10 people I've asked, a few insisted this is malay while others insisted on nyonya and my FIL is very sure it is chinese hokkien.

I personally love all forms of kuih-muih (plural) but most of them are high in sugar content and coconut cream/milk and commercial ones are loaded with colouring. But if kuih is not sweet or 'lemak' (fatty), they are somehow not that nice. So my principle is if you want to eat something lke this, go all the way. Do not cut down too much on the sugar or even replace the lemak with low fat ingredients.

Like most kuih, this one is a typical breakfast or tea time snack that has simple ingredients. You just have to note a few steps in the process to make sure that the results are good.

Now it is time for some simple mathematics. For Coconut Milk:

a) 1st santan ~ 1 kg/RM2 of fresh coconut + 1.5 cup of water = squeeze about 500gm of coconut milk. Set aside.

b) 2nd santan ~ Add extra water to the coconut until you manage to squeeze another 900gm. Take 300 gm and add to 500gm before. and you are left with........????? 600gm.... good!!.

1st layer: Glutinous Rice
500 gm of glutinous rice, washed and soaked for about 10 min or so.
600 gm of coconut milk (From b, i.e. 2 nd santan)
1 -2 tsp of salt

1) Grease with cooking oil a 10 or 11 inch round baking tin, place the rice, coconut milk and salt in and stir till evenly distributed all over the pan.

If you want to have a blue coloured rice bottom, which is an in thing a few years back, take about 6-8 pieces bunga telang, wash and pound and squeeze the blue into the mixture. This is the most natural blue colouring you can get.

2) Steam on high for 15 min, then stir and flip the half cooked rice upside down. This the way to make sure that the coconut cream are evenly distributed. If you steam all the way without this step, you may get rice layer with a thick layer of cream on the bottom.

And at this stage, i would usually use 4-5 pieces of bunga telang, washed and pound and dab onto the rice. It will produce specks of blue on the rice layer. On the other hand, it is fine to leave it plain white.

3) Continue steaming for another 15-20 min on high. Test to see if rice are cooked. Using a flat presser, press the rice to create a flat even surface. This is to tighten the rice layer too. While steaming is going on, prepare the top layer.

Top Layer: Custard layer
800gm of coconut milk (From a and b)
200gm of castor sugar
3 no of eggs
115 gm of tapioca flour
2 tbsp of plain flour
6-7 pieces of large usual pandan leaves (for fragrant) + 8-10 pieces of green colour pandan leaves (for colour)

1) Wash and pound the pandan and green pandan leaves together. Stir some (say 200gm from the 800gm) coconut milk with pound leaves. Strain through a sift and strain the juice and colour out from the leaves back to the original coconut milk.

Green colour pandan leaves are a special type of pandan. It does not have much of the fragrance of our usual pandan but it gives a beautiful green. I did not have to use a single drop of colouring to get the green in my kuih. Greg's grandma would pound 15-20 pieces to get dark green.

2) Combine flour and sugar with coloured coconut milk and stir till evenly distributed. Beat eggs with fork lightly and add to milk mixture. Cook in a heavy pot over low flame till mixture thickens. Pour onto the flatten rice layer.

3) Steam on medium for 20-25 min til the layer is cooked. High fire may cause surface to be wrinkly.

Cool completely before cutting. Best eaten on the day it is made.


Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

so tt's how d plant looks like! it seems like a ginger plant. must get linda to get a plant back for me.

i love this kuih, n my mom's best friend used to make it & she was frm Kuching too. n do u grow ur own blue flowers? we only get the dried ones here. they look like sweet pea flowers

NEE said...

Greg's aunty has the blue flower. so when it is really in abundant she will dry it for me. i just keep in freezer. the pandan plant my in laws had planted some for me. i will send you some baby ones next time someone goes kk.

Denise ^ ChiCkyEGG said...

weii ! I love this Seri Muka a lot ! This Recp is my must-try-list now I dont have the flowers, aiks...just skip tat step 1st ;p

hey I know u through Terri. Met ur lovely aunty Linda b4. haha! ARGH! I love her voice!!

Now I have sifus from KK to Kuching ;D

NEE said...

Hi Denise. you have a very nice blog yourself.i like your pics. And those honeycomb cake.gosh soo pretty.

And no, that two are sifus. My aunt is crazy about thai food now and that kinda of ripple to many of us in the family. Trust me between both her and A terry they have treasures of recipes stash all over the place. hehe....

Good luck of seri muka. just remember bottom layer if your santan has more water is ok because glut rice tend to be too hard once cool if too much santan. top bit just be careful, stirring all the time when cooking not to burn it. Good luck.

Denise ^ ChiCkyEGG said...

ooh... I willl take extra care when comes to rice layer.

Thank you Nee ;}

Anonymous said...

Hi, The proper name is kuih Salat or Kuih Serimuka. Not kuih salad or salak.


NEE said...

thanks for information. like i say in my post there is really a whole range of spelling for the 'salat' word. so i just pick one.

it was also mentioneed in the post that malay called it seri muka.


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