The last one in the series of pandan and coconut is one of my all time favourite nyonya kuehs.. it is also known as rice and custard cake or double-layered glutinous cake. I love things which although are contrasting in nature still work well together and this kueh showcases it very well with it’s the sweet and salty layers, the sticky and smooth texture and most of all the two distinct colours of green (top) and white (bottom). This kueh is sometimes mistaken for another Malaysian favourite, the Kueh Talam which also has green and white layers, however the layers are the opposite way round (white on top, green on bottom) and the texture is smooth as both layers are custard.
This afternoon treat can also be enjoyed as an after-dinner snack as the savoury component is the perfect finisher to any meal. This steamed cake is made out of glutinous rice, pandan leaves/ extract, coconut milk, eggs, sugar and flour. The glutinous layer is steamed first and then the custard layer is poured on top and the whole cake is steamed for the second time. The cake will need to be cooled completely before cutting and it is usually done in a diamond shape.
Ingredients (8 inch square tray)
- 300g glutinous rice
- 200ml coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 pandan leaf, tied into a knot
- 1 banana leaf/ aluminium foil, to press steamed rice
Egg Custard Layer
- 3 large eggs
- 200ml coconut milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 180g castor sugar
- 1 teaspoon pandan extract
- 4 teaspoons cornflour
- 3 tablespoons plain flour
- To make the rice layer, wash rice in several changes of water until water runs clear. Cover with fresh water and soak for at least 3 hours (or overnight). Rinse and drain rice.
- Place in a shallow, round or square cake tin, 20cm (8 inch) across. Mix the coconut milk, sugar and salt together and add this to the rice. Bury the pandan leaf in the rice and steam until rice is cooked, 20 to 30 minutes (the grains will no longer have any opaque bits).
- Remove from heat, remove the pandan leaf and fluff up the rice with a fork. Then, using a folded square of banana leaf or aluminium foil (both these items won’t stick to the glutinous rice), press the rice down to form an even, compact layer (will be easier to slice later). Steam for another 15 minutes. Note: Do not add too much coconut milk to the glutinous rice or else the top and bottom layers won’t stick as well.
- To make the custard layer, mix together the eggs, coconut milk, salt, sugar and pandan extract with a whisk. Then, sieve the two flours and add them to the eggs and coconut mixture. Beat well and strain mixture.
- Pour the egg custard mixture into a metal bowl and sit this bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir continously until custard just begins to thicken (do not overcook – will become scrambled eggs!)
- Pour the egg custard over the steamed glutinous rice and steam over very gentle heat (to avoid the custard from having bubbles on the surface) until set, about 25 minutes.
- Allow cake to cool completely before cutting into diamond shapes.
As this kueh contains rice and coconut, it is important that it is kept refrigerated if your climate is warm/hot. When you want to eat/serve, you can steam it for a few minutes or place into the microwave for a few seconds (note though, when using a microwave, if not eaten straight away, it might turn rock hard).
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