For many, Raya Aidilfitri is more than a celebration to mark the end of the special month of Ramadan; the Raya festive period is also a joyous time of family, friends and loved ones, of forgiveness and community, gathering to enjoy delicious food, remember traditions and renew bonds.
Raya is also very much a time when family members like mums, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and daughters gather together in home kitchens beforehand to prepare traditional kuih (desserts) together and this tradition is very much a part of Malaysian culture and Asian heritage.
In the spirit of Raya, we at Kuali are honouring and celebrating bakers, (do you know about our special Kuali Bakers Community? You do now!), kuih makers and dessert lovers everywhere by looking at these mouth-watering recipes for kuih, thanks to our friends at Anchor Dairy who have not only been sharing recipes to help enthusiastic home bakers, but are known for the pure New Zealand goodness in their milk and the consistent high quality of their butter, cream cheese and other products since 1886. Even now in 2020, Anchor Dairy is helping Malaysians prepare delicious kuih and desserts with the assurance of high quality dairy products.
For those who want a taste of home and tradition, and for those dedicated and passionate home bakers and cooks who want to bring joy to their loved ones, try these Anchor Dairy kuih recipes today!
Also known as steamed banana cake, this puffy bite-sized morsel of joy looks like a cross between a cupcake and a muffin. It is much loved for its soft, moist texture and banana-flavoured goodness. As the preparation is simple, many aspiring home cooks find this kuih a good starting point for their adventures in desserts. It doesn’t require complicated or expensive machinery or cookware — all you need is a good steamer and a strong hand to mix all the ingredients together. As they are usually small in size, many cooks love making this as an informal afternoon tea snack. Simple and delicious! Some add in chocolate chips to bump up the flavour combination. Let us know if you add other ingredients and how it turns out!
Before we salivate over the gorgeous combination of traditional bingka ubi and cheese, let’s take a moment to appreciate this traditional kuih that still appeals to many in this modern day. Bingka ubi is baked tapioca cake that combines coconut milk, tapioca and pandan leaves among other wholesome ingredients, giving it that distinct Asian character and bringing to life the kuih’s Malay-Peranakan origins. Sometimes referred to as binka ubi or bengka ubi, this traditional kuih is so familiar to many mothers and grandmothers with its soft, chewy texture and creamy, comforting taste, and now, with the addition of cheese to this traditional kuih, the yummy level just went up another notch.
Who doesn’t love caramel bread pudding, with that smooth, creamy texture and moist melt-in-the-mouth softness and that super-sweet syrup? This is more than a kids’ favourite (we think it’s the wobbly way the pudding wobbles) — adults love this kuih, too, not only for the simple preparation but also because it is simple yet so utterly delicious. You don’t need an expensive mixer to whip up the ingredients to make this dessert, and best of all, you can prep the night before and keep it chilled before your family comes over Raya morning. Perfect! Did we forget to mention you can have some fun choosing the designs of the containers to steam these puddings in? Bonus.
Lepat Pisang are little parcels of heavenly deliciousness — banana leaf cut into a certain size and folded almost like an envelope, (one parcel can hold the perfect amount of lepat to be demolished in two hungry bites) but what’s inside is traditional steamed banana pudding that is soft, the right amount of chewy and moist. Traditional yet incredibly popular with foodies of all ages today, the original lepat can include banana (pisang) or tapioca (ubi kayu) but in this recipe, there are the classic Asian ingredients of glutinous rice (pulut) and pandan leaves, which are mashed together with the banana and coconut milk. All these ingredients combined spell delicious! Oh, and it;s sometimes served with fresh shredded coconut for that extra oomph. Yum!
Seri muka is so quintessentially Malaysian; there isn’t a single true Malaysian that isn’t familiar with this kuih that has no English equivalent for its name. (The literal translation for seri muka is ‘glowing face’.) The original seri muka is a combination of rich, sticky rice with pandan pudding on top that looks simple, but packs a punch with its flavour. Seri muka gula merah, however, is chocolatey in colour instead of the distinctive green colour of pandan, as it’s made with traditional Malaccan brown sugar (richer than the raw brown sugar in packets) but the combination is still much loved. Legend has it that prospective mothers-in-law would gauge a woman’s suitability for her son before marriage by testing her kuih-making skills! Don’t take our word for it. Try the recipe out, and show off to your fam-bam. Remember to ask them to leave some for you, because this kuih is wildly popular.
As we mentioned earlier, this is the original, the real deal. This is a kuih that you can find in all corners of Malaysia. It’s said to be a test of one’s dessert making skills, as you need to check that the texture of the sticky rice isn’t too dry, or too hard, or too mushy. Nonetheless, the final product is always worth it. Some cooks like to cut the dish into squares, some cut it into diamond shapes, while others opt for a less vivid green shade on the pandan pudding. Whatever your preference, take our word for it that this kuih is a perennial favourite among all food lovers regardless of age. The fact that they’re made in a size that’s so easy to bite into in a single bite is a bonus. Watch out for sticky fingers afterwards!
Now, as Malaysians are an opinionated bunch of foodies, there are some who argue that apam balik is Malaysian but we won’t discuss that. Instead, we want to talk about how this peanut pancake turnover (yep, that’s the nearest English equivalent) is a hot seller at many bazaars, night markets and food courts. It’s a batter that is folded once the outside is crisp, and the soft middle is often filled with peanuts and corn kernels (and lots of sweetness). Sometimes called martabak manis or terang bulan, it’s perfect with hot tea and coffee. It’s fascinating to watch the apam balik vendors make it on the spot, so we’re sharing this recipe with you to help you try to recreate it on your own. We know there are cheese fans here, so this Asian staple has been given a yummy twist with the addition of cheese. Who’s going to say no to more creamy goodness in that pancake batter? Not us.
There is no English equivalent for these rainbow-hued, soft, fluffy balls of lightness, so we’ll just talk about how this kuih is simple to make, and how many home bakers have fun making it in different shapes and sizes. Made with rice flour and often served with fresh shredded coconut flesh, these desserts are similar to muffins in terms of texture, but much lighter and fluffier (yes, we know fluffy is not a technical term, but it is the best description.) Many will bake these in shades of bright pink, pure white, sunny yellow or vivid green, but they’re a wonderful choice for the young and the young at heart. The taste is clean and light, a perfect balance to the savoury dishes of Raya.
If we were to give the literal translation to this kuih, it would raise an eyebrow or two, but trust us, this is a proper cake with a dense, rich weight to it, almost as dense as a chocolate cake but not quite. Some call it a honeycomb cake, and while its nearest cousin is the Vietnamese honeycomb cake, its moistness, bittersweet, nutty and caramelised characteristics are why this is a favourite among home bakers and dessert fans. It received its name because of the fineness and minuscule size of the holes in its honeycomb structure, but this kuih has been around for generations. Why not surprise your loved ones by reacquainting them with the deliciousness that is the retro but yummy Kek Sarang Semut?
If there is a Malaysian adult who claims to not have tried this kueh as a child, we wouldn’t believe it. In shades of pink, green and white, this jelly-like pudding is not a sponge cake, nor is it jelly, but a wonderful combo of pudding and jelly that is firm enough to be served on its own, cut into squares, rectangles or diamond-shapes bites, but soft to chew. Often evoking childhood memories in adults (kids are divided over whether you peel it off layer by layer or chomp down regardless of the perfect layers), kueh lapis must not be confused with kek lapis, which is the baked dessert that closely resembles a sponge cake made painstakingly layer by layer, often in shades of caramel and butter, made with raisins or dates. Kueh lapis is almost as wobbly as jelly, and is almost always made in shades of pink, green and white, with no raisins or dates, just pure yumminess.
Sometimes called kuih seri ayu, these little desserts of green and white are super cute and both dense, compact yet fluffy. They fit into the palm of the hand and this kuih can be found in many traditional Malay kitchens. Sweet in taste, they are made by steaming the mixture, which includes flour, eggs and sugar, while the final cake (often made in its own special mould, called an acuan in Malay) is served with shredded coconut flesh as a topping.
An underrated gem of a dessert, Tepung Pelita cannot be translated into English literally, which is great, because the translation of ‘flour lantern’ is nowhere near the wonder of this kuih that combines sweetness and saltiness so perfectly. This is not an easy dessert to make, but the results are so worthwhile. Said to originate in the kitchens of the state of Perak and more often found in Ramadan bazaars, tepung pelita is served in tiny open-topped ‘boxes’ which are simply parts of the banana leaf folded and pinned to look like boxes. Inside, there are two layers; below, the pandan pudding, and above, the white pudding that is predominantly coconut milk, the saltiness of which is perfect with the liquid sweetness of the pandan bit below. Once you taste the perfect tepung pelita, you’ll forget that it doesn’t have an English name. This quintessentially Malaysian traditional kuih is truly memorable.
Now that you’re all buzzed, armed with your whisk and ready to start kuih-making with your nearest and dearest, go one step further and register yourself with us for the the Kuali Bakers Community at https://www.kuali.com/kuali-bakers-programme/ to find like-minded foodies and aspiring bakers, tips and tricks and much more. Sign up now for FREE and be the first 100 members to walk away with an Anchor Mini Cooler Bag. And speaking of our generous friends at Anchor Dairy, there are many, many more recipes at https://www.kuali.com/recipe-type/cook-with-anchor-dairy/ from Anchor Dairy, in case you’ve already mastered these kuih recipes and upped your kitchen skills.
Wishing all our readers Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and a joyous festive season!