I’ve been on an Asian dessert/snack kick recently. I love Western cakes, crumbles and bars but off late, I’ve been wanting a bit of a challenge. Crumbly cakes have their place but I have never mastered my own home cuisine! Savoury probably but definitely not the desserts and kuihs. So in the past few weeks, I’ve been trying out a couple recipes, all to good reviews. 🙂
Just in case you didn’t get the jargon, kuih is a Malay word used to denote cake-like snacks. They are neither crumbly or floury like regular Western types. Kuihs are generally steamed, made with rice flour or a mix of other flours and are stickier. These snacks have a chewy mouth-feel, very fragrant and best eaten with a steaming cuppa kopi-o (black coffee) or teh-o (black tea).
Hence, be it known that the next 2-3 recipes will be truly Malaysian ones. 😉
Today’s recipe is one that I’ve never thought of attempting, much less posting! I was lazily browsing online for simple Asian dessert recipes, specifically for sago kuihs (coming to your face soon!) but then came across this one… something that I thought only night markets sold with no home of being made at home (read: puff pastry, love letters crisps etc..).
Hah! When I realized how easy the recipe was, I wanted to make it now, NOW, N.O.W! And I did. With barely a handful ingredients, this is easily one of the simplest cakes/kuihs around. Now as I said, this kuih does not have crumbs. It’s caramelly, chewy and impossibly fragrant. What more, it is best known as Ma Lai Gou (Malay Cake) OR Kuih Sarang Semut which literally translates to Ant Hill Cake due to it’s honeycomb-like pores. You’ll see.
In barely a few moments, the dry sugar granules began to melt around the edges. I know professionals say never to stir caramel but since we’ll be using water to melt down all the crystals anyway, I gave this a stir every now and again as sugar burns very easily and quickly!
Pour in the water when the sugar has caramelized. Here’s why I asked for a deep sauce pan in the recipe. Water hitting ultra hot molten sugar = volcanic eruption. I wore a kitchen mitt to protect the hand that was pouring in the water. It would splatter and spit a little but only for barely 10 seconds. So just be careful!
Try this out and let me know if you like it!
What’s your favourite local snack?
“Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name: bring an offering, and come before Him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” (1 Chronicles 16:29)
** Malaysian recipes tend to be in metric system.
- 200g Brown Sugar
- 250ml Water
- 80g Butter
- 6 Eggs
- 160g Condensed Milk
- 180g Flour
- 2½ tsp Baking Soda
- Warm up brown sugar in a dry deep saucepan on low heat. Caramelize the sugar until it turns a dark golden brown liquid. Keep a very close eye as brown sugar burns very easily.
- Very carefully pour the water into the caramel. It will spatter & seize up for the first minute or so. It will return to a liquid syrup very soon after.
- Remove from heat & add the butter. Set aside to cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 350F or 170C USING BOTTOM ELEMENT ONLY.
- Grease a 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside.
- Whisk eggs & condensed milk in a large bowl.
- Sift flour & baking soda together. Add to the egg/milk mixture & mix well.
- Pour caramel sauce into the batter & stir well.
- Spread batter into prepared pan. Let sit for 5 minutes for the bubbles to begin developing.
- Bake for 45 mins to 1 hour or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- When the cake is cool completely in the pan, turn out onto a plate.
- Serve sliced on it's own and enjoy the natural honeycomb design!
Recipe adapted from: Jules Food