Monday, October 3, 2011

Kuih Seri Muka / Kuih Salat

It was my first time making traditional malay/nonya kuih so I was pretty excited about it. I made this kuih 1 week ago, before my not-so-successful attempt at making onde onde. I love eating kuihs, there are so many different kinds, you have chinese kuihs, malay kuihs, peranakan or nonya kuihs. I tried to explain the meaning of kuihs to my belgian friends but it is really difficult to explain what it is; it is not a cake nor cookie, neither is it baked in the oven, it is usually made of glutinous rice, rice flour/glutinous rice flour and usually steamed in a steamer. 

Luckily we have good old wiki to the rescue! According to wikipedia, kuih (also kueh, kue, or kway; from Hokkien: 粿 koé) are bite-sized snack or dessert foods found in the Malay Archipelago as well as the Southern China provinces of Fujian and Canton. Kuih is a fairly broad term which may include items that would be called cakes, cookies, dumplings, puddings, biscuits, or pastries in English and are usually made from rice or glutinous rice. For more info, please look up the wiki definition.

Of all the kuihs, my absolute favourite is the kuih seri muka. Frankly speaking, I didn't know the actual name for kuih seri muka (otherwise known as kuih salat) until I have to search for the recipe. And it's only until I learn how to make it, that I realise that it is not rocket science, everybody can make it easily in the comfort of his or her own kitchen.

So here is my recipe, ingredients are adapted from here, but the method is through my own self-improvisation. 

Glutinous Rice Layer
300g glutinous rice
180ml coconut milk
1 tsp salt

Custard Layer
3 large eggs
4 tbsp plain flour (60g)
4 tbsp rice flour (60g)
350ml coconut milk
150g fine sugar
0.5 tsp pandan paste *
0.5 tsp pandan flavouring (optional)
0.25 tsp salt

* I used pandan paste bcos pandan leaves are not readily available in Belgium.

Method for Glutinous Rice Layer
1. Soak glutinous rice in a big bowl of water for at least 3 hours.

2. Prepare a steamer and a 22 cm square cake tin. Line the cake tin with greaseproof paper or banana leaf. (I didnt use a square tin, just used a 9 inch heart-shaped cake tin small enough to fit into my steamer, but the cake tin must be at least 3 inches in height)

3. Drain the glutinous rice of water, mix it with coconut milk and salt, and spread the rice out evenly in the cake tin.

4. Steam over HIGH heat for 15 min. After 15 min, fluff the rice with a fork, then level it and press it down with a fork til firm. Steam again for another 15 min.

Method for Custard Layer
1. Stir coconut milk, sugar, beaten eggs, and pandan paste in a small non-stick pot over low fire til the sugar has dissolved.

2. Sieve the flour, rice flour and salt together and mix well. Add the flour mixture into the pot little by little, while using a wooden spoon to stir constantly until the mixture has thickened.

3. Sieve the custard mixture to remove any lumps, then pour it over the steamed glutinous rice and steam over MEDIUM heat for 20-30 min. Do not use high heat otherwise the custard layer will not be smooth. Place an aluminium foil loosely over the cake tin in the steamer to prevent steam from dripping onto the top layer.

I am submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #12: Traditional Kueh (October 2011), hosted by SSB of Small Small Baker.


  1. First time already so good! Give onde onde another try. I'm sure you will get it right. :)

  2. Hi SSB, thanks for your encouragement, I will definitely try onde onde again! :)

  3. I was thinking of making this but remained in the 'thinking' phase.Your kueh looks exciting. Maybe I should get down to making it, instead of 'thinking' ...

  4. Hmmmm.... Love this indonesian/Malaysian dessert

  5. delicious looking colourful dessert

  6. The Experimental Cook, Jesica, Torviewtoronto,
    Thank you for your kind comments :)

  7. Thanks for the recipe! Seri muka is my 6yo son's favourite kuih. I tried it last weekend and it turned out very nicely. Our top layer was pink as we didn't have any pandan/green colouring.

  8. Hi anonymous,
    I am glad that you tried the recipe and it turned out great for you. :)

  9. My girl's fav too.

    May I know long how is the storage time for the kueh? Can I store it overnight in the fridge and re-steam it before serve on the next day?

    Thanks yeah!

  10. Besides, if I were to use pandan leaves juice, is it the same measurement as pandan paste?

  11. Hi Sarah's Daddy n Mummy,

    Yes, definitely.

    We only finished eating the kuih in Belgium (kept in the fridge) after 3 days without any problems. I personally prefer to eat it cold the 2nd day. The glutinous rice layer turned a bit hard but the custard layer tasted fantastic when cold.

    I also made one while at my mum's place in Singapore recently, and she steamed it the 2nd day before eating. It became stickier, so it is really up to your personal preference whether you like it sticky or not.

  12. Pandan paste is a concentrate. So you should use around 2 tbsp pandan leave juice instead of 1/2 tsp pandan paste.

  13. Hi, I am going to ask a few probably silly questions (pardon my lack of knowledge lah.. ;p).

    For the custard section, do we add the flour mixture into the pot while it is still on low heat? or do we remove from the heat?

    The sieving of the custard - does it require a sieve with more generous spacing? Because my custard was kinda, well, custard-y, so it does not sieve through smoothly..

    Thanks a heap!!

  14. Hi Jamie

    Good question! I realise I didn't mention in step 2 whether to remove the pot from the stove. You should add the flour mixture little by little and stir it while the pot is still on the stove, so that everything dissolves easily.

    For the sieving of the custard, I am using a normal flour sieve. It is normal that the custard mixture is "custard-y", that's why u need to sieve the mixture, otherwise it will be lumpy. I would advise you to use a spoon to stir and press the custard through the sieve.

    Good luck and let me know your results !

  15. Miss B,

    I did it! In fact, I did two!! hahaha..

    I tried 1st time over the low heat & that was when I messaged u as my custard seemed too custard-y ... ;p

    Then I tried second one away from the heat. Which seemed to produce a more liquidy mixture, that sieved through easily (still using spoon to stir, but less effort).

    Then again, to be fair, many other factors differed:
    - coconut milk (ran out of the same brand),
    - container
    - stirring skill (either more tired or more muscular, lol..)
    - time pressing, hence state of mind

    But overall, the taste for both were TERRIFIC!!! In fact I received compliments that it can be made for sale! For someone who hasn't made kueh in my entire decades of life, I surprised myself too... hee hee... ^_^

    So thank you once again for sharing your recipe, and patiently guiding us all with our queries!! ♥

    next on the challenge list: ondeh ondeh, 9-layer kueh lapis


  16. Hi Jamie

    Glad that your 2 attempts are successful, now you can setup a shop selling kuih seri muka. :) And I really appreciate your feedback on my recipe, I haven't made this in a while so I will try adding the flour while the pot is away from the stove and see how it turns out for me.


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