Dear Readers,

 Today’s Malaysian Classic comes to you from a guest blogger. ‘cili padi’ is the writer of Easy Food Hacks, a blog launched only this week. This New Zealand-based writer promises an exciting mix of easy-to-make recipes, restaurant reviews and Malaysian dishes. I hope you enjoy her post as much as I did.



Kuihs (the correct plural is kuih-muih) are the quintessential colourful Malaysian desserts. I don’t recall eating them as dessert though, they were always snack food, – eaten on the go during the day or during supper, washed down with a hot mug of fresh soybean milk. They are typically steamed and made from rice or glutinous rice flour (though some are also made from tapioca flour, mung bean flour, etc). The range of kuihs is massive; some are specialties of specific regions of Malaysia, and come in all shapes and patterns, sweet or savoury, with or without fillings, steamed or baked or deep-fried. You can bet there is a kuih to satisfy the pickiest eater!

In Malaysia, kuihs are readily available from the night markets and various hawker stalls around town, which understandably resulted in most Malaysians never learning to make them. That is, until we left Malaysia and realized how difficult it is to procure these little gems. When you do find them, invariably they don’t taste right and are horrendously pricey (NZD/AUD$1- 1.50 for a small piece). The big secret is that kuihs are actually very easy and cheap to make. Most of them don’t need any special equipment. 

Kuih Lapis or Nine-layered Kuih (modified from Old Fashioned Kuih-Muih by Wong Sip Moi)

 Kuih lapis is a favourite of most children, who slowly peel off the layers one at a time, and nibble at them. It’s actually easier to make kuih lapis these days with pandan paste (rather than having to pound and squeeze pandan leaves for their fragrant, green juice), and using silicon bakeware (no dreaded sticking!).

Makes ~ 30 pieces

Ingredients :

A:266g rice flour154g tapioca flour2/3 tsp salt

350ml coconut cream

280ml water

B:280g caster sugar140ml coconut milk350ml water


Pandan paste

Red food colouring


Steamer (I used a wok)

23cm diameter non-stick tin (NOT springform)/ 23 x 23cm square tin. Silicon bakeware will ensure your kuih will not stick to tin.


Mix A well and put through sieve into large bowl to ensure there are no lumps.

Put B in a saucepan, and bring to a boil to dissolve sugar.

Pour B into A and mix well.

Divide into 3 equal parts (570g each)

Add ½ tsp pandan paste to one, and ¼ tsp red food colouring to another.


 Weigh out 190g of each colour. Steam each colour for 5 minutes, starting with red, green then white, and repeat. Layer should be firm to touch before pouring the


 For the final layer, steam for 20 minutes.

  Cool for at least 2 hours, then slice with a plastic knife or a clingfilm-covered metal knife.