Updated: Aug 22, 2021
In the the Hokkien tradition, this Kuih or "Kueh" is made to reveal the gender of an expecting child. If the Kuih is pointed or bulky, it signifies a "boy" and a flat Kuih signifies a "girl" . Pretty cool huh! My mom is Hokkien and she speaks the dialect and I could never seem to get around to speaking the dialect even though I grew up listening to my mom talking to my relatives in the language. It is not a common language and is only used within a limited number group of Chinese culture in singapore, China and Taiwan. I wished I knew the dialect more but at least I didn't missed out on their sweet delicacies though!
What is Ang Ku Kueh?
In Hokkien dialect, "Ang" refers to the colour red and "Ku" means tortoise and "Kueh" refers to Malaysian sweet delicacy commonly made with glutinous rice flour. This dessert are usually moulded into a wooden mould shaped like a tortoise.
What is it made out of?
This Kueh is made out of glutinous rice flour and are usually filled with a mung bean or peanut fillings. Traditionally the glutinous skin wrapper are also made with pureed sweet potato to give it that natural orange colour but these days they are made without and food colouring are added instead.
What does it taste like?
Ang Ku Kueh has a sticky texture to it because of the glutinous rice flour that it is made out of. It depends on the maker of the Kueh, some comes with mung beans and some with salted mung beans. They are also commonly filled with sweetened peanuts filling as well.
In the recipe below, I have added salt to the mung bean purees because it just adds that extra depth to it.
Is this a dessert ?
Ang Ku Kueh is filled with sweetened mung beans or peanuts but it is usually consumed as a snack and quite rarely after a meal. This Kueh is not overly sweet so it makes it a good staple for a mid day snack or sometimes even as a breakfast with a cup of Kopi (Coffee).
How do you store the Kueh?
It is advised to make the Kueh and finish them on the same day. This Kueh do not really have a long standing shelf life as the skin can go dry fairly quickly. A raw Kueh is advised to be steamed immediately and Kueh that have been steamed and brush in oil can be stored in an air tight container for over 3 days.
Salted Mung Bean Filling
Note: The mung bean needs to be soaked a day ahead before you can proceed.
Makes 20 x 15 g balls
Mung Beans 130 g
(peeled and split)
Coconut Milk 45 g
Caster Sugar 55 g
Vegetable Oil 25 g
Salt 2 g
Wheat Starch 1/2 tablespoon
1. Soak the mung bean with enough cold water to cover the top of the beans and leave to soften overnight.
2. The next day, rub the beans between your hands to release the skin, stir the beans to allow the skins to flow afloat then tilt the bowl to rid of the skins. Refill the bowl of beans with cold water and repeat rubbing the beans and getting rid of the skins until you have removed most if not all of the skins.
3. Once all the skins have been removed, transfer the beans on to a tray and place into a steamer and steam until they are soft enough to crush. This process takes roughly around 15 minutes to 20 minutes.
4. Using a fork, crush the softened steamed mung beans. Do not worry if it is still chunky at this point. Transfer the crushed mung beans on to a non stick deep frying pan, add the sugar, oil, wheat starch and salt and heat while stirring over low heat until all the additional liquid have evaporated and the mix resembles a paste.
5. Transfer the fillings into a blender and blend until smooth. If you prefer to have chunky bits in the filling, pulse the fillings less.
6. Let the fillings cool then roll 20 x 15 g individual balls. Wrap and set aside until ready to use.
Sweet Potato Glutinous Rice Flour wrapper
300 g Sweet Potatoes
200 g Glutinous Rice Flour
15 g Rice Flour
35 g Castor Sugar
35 g Vegetable Oil
120 g (+/-) Hot Water
Banana Leaves for Steaming
1. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes in to slices.
2. Cut the sweet potato slices on to a tray and place into a steamer and steam until the slices are softened. This takes roughly around 10 minutes.
3. Transfer the softened sweet potatoes in to a blender and pulse until smooth.
4. In a separate bowl, place the glutinous rice flour, rice flour, castor sugar and vegetable oil together with the sweet potato purees.
5. With a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients together slightly while gradually adding in the hot water. You may not need all the hot water. Mix the ingredients until it forms into a dough soft enough to roll in to a ball but not too wet. Using your hands, mix the ingredients until smooth. The dough should not be too wet. If it is too wet, simply add a little more glutinous rice flour.
Note: If you prefer to have a more vibrant colour to your dough, you can add some orange gel colour.
6. Wrap the dough and let the mix rest to allow the flour to absorb the water for 20 minutes.
7. After resting, divide the dough in to 20 x 35 g individual balls.
1. Cut out individual banana leaves and line over tray for the steamer. Lightly brush the leaves with some vegetable oil.
Flatten the individual dough and wide enough to wrap around the fillings.
2. Roll the filled dough in to a ball, slightly dust the mould with glutinous rice flour, then roll the ball of dough in to the flour as well, press into the mould gently and turn upside down over your palm and tap it out.
3. Brush off excess flour, then with a different brush, brush the top of the kueh with some vegetable oil.
4. Place the tray of kuehs over the steamer and steam for roughly around 5 minutes or until the dough becomes translucent. Do not over steam the kuehs or they can lose its shape and forms.
5. When the kuehs are ready, lightly brush the top with some vegetable oil to prevent it from drying out.
6. Serve cold.