Kuih Bengka Ubi Kayu

February 28, 2016


“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.

Bukkumi – Korean sticky rice flour pancake (red bean)

February 16, 2016


I used Maangchi’s recipe for bukkumi, which is ridiculously easy. In the video she says these can be made in 10 minutes; as this was my first attempt, I ran over slightly but only just.

I used Just Hungry’s red bean paste recipe.

And also tried a green bean/ mung bean filling using Maangchi’s recipe again.

Adding black sesame seeds for nuttiness and a lil crunch.

The bukkumi are fried but not particularly unhealthy as only a small amount of oil is used, a tsp or so, just enough to grease the pan.


Place on a baking tray lined with cling film or plastic as they’re ready. No touching or they’ll stick together. Freeze them as is, bagging when frozen solid. They keep for up to a month or so, cook straight from frozen.

NoT Halloween – Squash/Pumpkin pancakes – nán guā bǐng 南瓜饼

October 30, 2015

squash bing

I ate a lot of these in Beijing…

Chewy little pancakes, slightly crisp and nutty on the outside and chewy on the inside. Rolling in sesame seeds before frying adds nuttiness.

There are no exact measurements for this recipe, quantities vary according to the size and water content of the pumpkin.

Use roughly between 1:1 and 1:2; pumpkin: glutinous rice/ mochi flour.

Eat as they are, or with fruit and honey/condensed milk/ gula melaka syrup/ ice cream.. .


200g roasted pumpkin/ squash (roughly 1/2 squash)
200-300g glutinous rice flour/ mochi flour
sesame seeds (optional)
vegetable oil (for frying)


Cut the pumpkin/ squash into large sections, remove seeds and roast for 30 minutes (or until soft) at 200C/390F.
Scoop the flesh out from the skins and mash, removing as many lumps as possible.
Weigh the squash (mass/ volume) and add equal amounts of glutinous rice flour.
Mix until a smooth dough is formed, adding more flour if necessary. It should be a bit like play-dough, will form a ball, not sticky.
If dough is too dry, sprinkle a teaspoon of water, gradually adding until the right consistency is formed.
Divide dough into balls about an inch or so in diameter (or however big you like ’em).
Roll in sesame seeds (if required).
If you have big balls (!) you can boil the bing first, to speed up the cooking time.
To boil: add the balls to a pan of boiling water, cook until they float to the top, then drain.
Heat a teaspoon or so of oil in a non-stick frying pan, and fry the balls until they’re golden brown on the outside.
If they seem to stick to the pan, they’re merely not done yet, so give them a little while longer.
Serve immediately and EAT with anything you like :)

CNY Pineapple Mango Tarts aka Greedy Tarts

March 18, 2015

pineapple mango tarts

Confession: I’m not the massive-est fan of pineapple tarts, but baked these in some attempt to appease family/ ancestral guilt
Confession 2: I altered the recipe to be the opposite of what pineapple tarts are supposed to be like. ie. pastry shell: less crumbly and more solid, jam: less sweet

Makes approximately 20 tarts – 10g filling, 12-15 g cookie layer

Pineapple “Jam” filling

1 can pineapple, drained
2 tbsp/ 40g sugar
50-100g dried mango, chopped
1-1.5 tbsp cornflour
plain/ all purpose flour – dusting, optional

Blend or grate the pineapple until almost pureed
In a small saucepan, simmer pineapple with sugar and dried mango until liquid has dried up and the pineapple is golden
Add cornflour and cook for another few more minutes
Cool pineapple completely, then form into 10g balls. Lightly dust hands with plain flour if the filling is sticky.

Almond cookie dough used for the tart “shell”
Use 1/3 quantity of the almond cookie recipe, omitting the baking powder (if you remember) instructions here (based on an awesome almond cookie recipe from Everybody Eats Well in Flanders).
Plus: glaze: 1 egg yolk beaten with 1-2tsp water

Form the pineapple filling into 10g balls, using a light dusting of plain flour if the filling is too sticky.
Form the almond cookie dough into 12-15g balls.

Roll each cookie dough ball out to a circle big enough to wrap the pineapple balls.
It may be helpful to roll the cookie dough between sheets of cling film, to avoid it getting too sticky/ crumbly.
If you’re having trouble wrapping the tarts, you can also use the cling film to form the tarts by placing a ball of filling onto a circle of cookie dough, then gathering the cling film up and twisting, which will gradually press it all into a round wrapped ball.

“Mend” any cracks in the tarts by gently smoothing them over with a flat edge eg. butter knife.

Glaze the tarts with egg yolk and bake at 150C for about 15 minutes (until golden brown)

baking pineapple tarts

If you have any leftover almond cookie dough, bake some almond cookies :)

CNY (tardy) Almond Cookies

March 16, 2015

Almond Cookies

Recipe adapted from the Everybody Eats Well in Flanders’ almond cookie recipe

I used all butter, omitted the vanilla essence, and used caster sugar (icing sugar had run out, I prefer a slightly less crumbly cookie, and it’s so much more manageable). Reduced the amount of baking powder to almost nothing as I don’t want the cookies to spread too much and lose their shape. Also, shaped the cookies to a smaller size using a mould so cooking time is adjusted accordingly. And baked it at my usual “cookie” temperature/ time as I like to bake cookies at a lower temperature to get (my preferred) crispy vs melty texture. No glaze.

This makes about 60 teeny tiny cookies. I bake about 1/3 of the dough at a time, storing the rest in the fridge/ freezer.

125g butter (room temperature/ soft)
100g sugar (icing, caster, granulated, it doesn’t matter really)
1 egg yolk
175g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 (very light sprinkle) salt
75g ground almonds

Cream the butter and sugar together.
Add the egg yolk
Fold/ stir in the flour/ salt/ baking powder
Stir in the ground almonds. Combine with your hands if necessary.

Divide the dough into 3, and either bake right away or form into logs, wrap in cling film and store in the fridge/ freezer as required.

Shape the cookies into 9g balls, and bake at 140C for about 15 minutes.

unbaked almond cookies