Steamed Nyonya Pandan Custard and Rice Cake (Kuih Seri Muka)
Friday, July 6, 2012 | 2 Comment(s)

Kuih seri muka, kuih salad

Recipe courtesy of Joanna Teo

It’s common for food to have different names in Malaysia, depending on which region you’re in, and this is a perfect example. Kuih Salad in East Malaysia and Seri Muka in the Peninsular Malaysia, these little green and white delights are one and the same, and they’re loved regardless of their variation in names. This two-layered dessert consists of a layer of glutinous rice flavoured with rich coconut milk, topped with a creamy green custard layer. The slight saltiness of the bottom layer is balanced perfectly by the sweetness of the custard, making it an excellent choice for breakfast or tea. If you’re concerned about the green colouring, you would probably breathe easier knowing that this is a contribution from the pandan or screwpine leaves, making it perfectly natural. As for the coconut milk, well..what’s a little indulgence every now and then, right?

Like quite a few other delicacies from the Nyonya cuisine, which is a unique blend of Malay and Chinese culture, this ‘kuih’ calls for the use of glutinous rice, which is known for its sticky texture. This rice is distinguishable from other varieties by having negligible amounts of amylose, and high amounts of amylopectin, two components of starch. Amylopectin is the component responsible for the sticky quality of glutinous rice, and since it has a higher solubility in water among the two starches, it breaks apart when introduced to steam. It is only when the right conditions are available that the rice starch molecules breaks apart, resulting in softening of the structure of the grain. This gives us soft, mushy and sticky rice, just the way we like it!


Steamed Nyonya Pandan Custard and Rice Cake (Kuih Seri Muka)

Preparation time: 10 minutes + 4 hours to soak glutinous rice

Cooking time: approximately 1 hour

Serves: 8-10


For the rice base:

1 1/4 cup glutinous rice, soaked for 4 hours or overnight if you have some time

2 cups coconut milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

For the custard layer:

3/4 cup castor sugar

1/2 cup water

4 whole chicken eggs

1/4 cup plain all purpose flour

2 teaspoon corn flour

1 cup thick coconut cream

1 tablespoon pandan essence *


1. For the rice base, drain glutinous rice and add salt and coconut milk to the rice. Cover 8 inch round loose bottom tin with baking paper. Spread rice mixture evenly over tin and steam for 30 minutes. Once rice is steamed turn off heat and leave to rest.

2. For the custard layer, combine water and castor sugar in a small saucepan, place over low heat and stir until mixture is dissolved. Leave to cool. Crack eggs into bowl and then add all purpose flour, corn flour, coconut cream and pandan essence. Using an electric mixer, mix ingredients until you achieve a smooth custard mixture. Pour sugar mixture into bowl together with the other ingredients and beat further to combine ingredients. Using a double boiler, fill bottom bowl with water and add custard to the top bowl. Alternatively you can boil a pot of hot water and add custard onto glass bowl which sits above the boiling water (making sure the glass bowl does not touch the boiling water). Stir custard with a wooden spoon for about 20 minutes until it thickens. Turn off heat and leave custard on the bench top

3. Pour custard through a sieve onto cooked rice layer. Even out the layers by tapping the tin softly on the bench top

4. Place steamer over low heat until you see some steam. Then place tin in the steamer, cover tin with a clean tea cloth and cover steamer. Steam cake for 20 minutes or until custard sets

5. Remove cake from steamer and leave to cook

6. To eat, slice steamed cake with oiled knife. Serve with a cup of green tea or coffee


* If you can't find pandan essence, you can extract pandan juice by placing pandan leaves in a food processor and then squeeze out the juice using a fine muslin cloth. You'll need about 100ml of pandan juice for this recipe

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Chopstickdiner July 09, 2012 at 1:40:14 pm
No Coconut cream is thicker than coconut milk. Enjoy this recipe!

Michelle Lee July 06, 2012 at 1:09:12 pm
Thanks for sharing this recipe!!! Love seri muka but never attempt in making them myself. Just wondering, is coconut cream the same as coconut milk?


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