Updated: Mar 3, 2020
It's been a while since I last bake or make kueh or cake. My broken-down oven has yet to be replaced, so I can only make kueh or cake which is steamed. I am flabbergast to the vast amount of steamed kueh or cake, especially kueh. Perhaps the steaming method is the traditional way of making desserts in the Asian culture. Either way, kueh is indeed a fading culinary genre.
Seri Muka is a double-layered steamed kueh. The bottom layer consists of coconut and glutinous rice, and the top is a fragrant pandan custard layer. I do not know the origins of this kueh. All I know that it is very popular in Malaysia and Indonesia, maybe even Singapore. During my research, I even came across a few varieties of this Seri Muka; there are durian, pumpkin and caramel flavors. But, I am gonna stick to the traditional pandan flavor for now.
Let's start talking about then layers more in details. I used a mixture of coconut milk, water, glutinous rice, coconut rum and toasted desiccated coconut for my bottom layer. I know what you are thinking, 'why the coconut rum'? I just couldn't help it. I am a born rebel and I dislike the idea of sticking to dogma, moreover, the coconut rum enhanced the coconut flavors. As for the top layer, I am using a concoction of eggs, flour, cornstarch, pandan sugar syrup, pandan juice and paste. That's it. This is fairly a very easy and simple dish to make. Being a rebel, I cut my Seri Muka in a typical triangular cake shape rather than the traditional diamond shape. I also prefer having my Seri Muka with palm sugar syrup aka gula melaka on the side and I love mine to be served chilled. Without much delay, let's get started with the recipe and breathe life into a fading culinary genre.
(Make one 8" round kueh)
Glutinous Rice, 1 Cup
Coconut Milk, 100ml
Toasted Desiccated Coconut, 3 TBSP
Coconut Rum, 45ml
Pandan Leaves Coarsely Sliced, 15 Leaves
Caster Sugar, 1 Cup
Water, 1/2 Cup
Pandan Leaves Tied Into Knot, 3 Leaves
Bleached All Purpose Flour, 1/4 Cup
Cornstarch, 2 TSP
Coconut Cream, 1 Cup
Pure Pandan Paste, 1 TSP
Sea Salt, Pinch
8 Inch Round Spring Form Cake Pan
Prepare the bottom layer.
Soak the glutinous rice in water overnight.
*Be sure the rice is fully submerged.*
Add soaked rice, coconut milk, water, desiccated coconut, rum and salt into the rice cooker.
Give it a light stir to combine well.
Cook the mixture as per manufacturer's instructions.
Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Once cool enuff to handle, transfer into a lightly greased cake pan.
Using an offset spatula to spread the layer out evenly.
Prepare a steamer.
*Wrap the steamer's cover with a large clean lint-free kitchen towel.
This is to prevent any water vapor droplets from dripping into the kueh.*
Once the water in the steamer starts to boil, transfer the cake pan into the steamer.
Steam for about 15 mins.
After 15 mins, turn the heat down to low and leave the cake pan in the steamer.
Prepare the top layer.
Transfer the sliced pandan leaves into the blender.
Add about 1/2 cup of water into the blender as well.
Blitz it up until smooth.
Transfer the juice into a large bowl thru' a fine strainer.
Using the back of the spoon, squeeze out any excess pandan juice.
Discard the residue.
You should have at least 100ml worth of juice.
If you do not have enuff, add more water.
In a sauce pot over medium heat, add sugar, water and knotted pandan leaves.
Swirl the pot until the sugar has dissolved.
Once the sugar as dissolved, remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
*Do not overcook the syrup or it will caramelize.*
Prepare a double boiler.
Add flour, cornstarch, eggs, coconut cream, pandan juice, sugar syrup, pandan paste and salt onto the double boiler.
Whisk to combine well and until becomes smooth Whisk, whisk, whisk.
Make sure no lumps.
*Make sure the water in the double boiler does not touch the bowl, or the eggs will scramble.*
Continue whisking until the mixture is thickened and glossy.
It should take about 15 mins.
Do not go too far, or the mixture will become crumbly.
Once the custard is done, immediately, pour onto the rice layer thru' a fine strainer, while it is still in the steamer.
*You have to time your steps properly. This is to ensure that the top layer adheres to the bottom layer. If either of the layers are at room temperature or cold, they will just fall apart when you try to slice them for serving.
I would suggest, cooking the custard layer while steaming the rice layer at the same time.*
Using an offset spatula, spread out the top layer evenly.
Steam for about 20 to 30 mins or until the custard is set and firm.
Remove from heat and set aside in a cooling rack for at least 2 hours.
Run a knife along the edges to loosen up the kueh before unmolding.
You can serve the kueh at room temperature.
Or you can serve it chilled.
The kueh can be kept chilled in the fridge for 1 week.