Kuih Bengka Ubi Kayu


“Kuih” is malay for cake, “bengka” means lard, in this case due to the appearance (kuihs are v dense, often chewy/ soft as tapioca/ glutinous rice/ rice flours are used); ubi kayu stands for tapioca.

In Malaysia, this would be made with fresh, grated tapioca, and cooked on a charcoal grill/ oven, so the top would be much more browned.

This kuih is one of the easiest to attempt outside of SE Asia if you have an oven, all ingredients are widely available from Asian/Chinese supermarkets.

Recipe adapted from this book; an incredible, compendium of Nonya recipes, thoroughly tried and tested by Straits Times food editors for modern and most Western kitchens.


500g grated tapioca (frozen pre grated is okay)
2tbsp tapioca flour
150 ml thick coconut milk
50-100g/ 1/4-1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp pandan essence (if you use extract, the colour will be a very (**ahem**) “vibrant”, likely radioactive, green

Preheat oven to 180C/ Gasmark 5.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. It will be quite gloopy and liquidy, so just stir until evenly mixed.


Immediately, pour into a banana leaf/ grease proof paper lined 7″ baking tin (use a smaller/ bigger tin if you prefer a taller/ shorter kuih)

Bake for 40 minutes


Remove kuih from oven, and turn heat to 250C.

When preheated, bake for a further 10 minutes or until the top turns darker brown/ slightly crisp.

Don’t bake too long, or the kuih body will be tough.


Cool completely, then cut into small pieces approximately 1-2 inches in size, and serve.

Will keep for a couple of days, after that it becomes hard and cardboardy.

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