Kitchen by TILAH

Steamed Palm Sugar Cakes (Kuih Kaswi)

Hello Cooks!  It had been quite an enjoyable past few days.  I decided to take a few days break from blogging and spend my few days totally smothered by the three lover boys of my life.  We didn't do anything much except that we were happily eating away as usual, frolicking on the sofa watching our favourite horror and thriller movies.  Of course not all is sweet and merry when you have your toddler and your baby getting cranky at different times of the day and you had to find your way around trying to calm them down and enjoy whatever was left in the remaining part of lazing around but all in all, yes, spending quality time with the kids and entertaining them at their whims and fancies is really worth the while though it can sometimes be quite tiresome.  Still, these are the treasured moments that I will never get to enjoy anymore once the kids are all grown in the future. 

I managed to slip in some kitchen adventure during the weekend.  Last Saturday, I attempted making the Malay traditional Steamed Palm Sugar Cakes or what is more commonly known as "Kuih Kaswi" in Malay.  I used to remember my mother baking it every so often when I was little.  My siblings and I would fight over the fact that some of us took more pieces than we were supposed to.  My mother had to divide the pieces equally between us just to make sure that nobody would squabble on the numbers.  It was so good that we undermined each other just to get an extra piece.  Then, as we grow older, we saw less and less of our favourite Kuih Kaswi.  I think my mother's favourite pastime of making steamed cakes were ultimately drowned within the demands of housework and the responsibilities of bringing up eight children.  That's what to be expected when Romeo and Juliet decided to marry.  Hehe...;p  However, my mother made up for it all through her good cooking.  Nevertheless, Kuih Kaswi had always been at the back of my mind and I remembered telling myself that when I do get my own kitchen one day, I would buy a steamer and make Kuih Kaswi as often as I want. 

I got this recipe from Chef Hanieliza's Fotopages as I had lost my mother's recipe.  I thought I had it saved in my computer archive but I could not locate it when I tried to find it.  My mother could no longer remember the measurements of the ingredients used but when I showed her this recipe, she told me that it is more or less like the one she used to follow.  I must say that the taste is quite similar to the taste that I remembered except that my mother told me, she did not use white sugar at all in her recipe.  Perhaps I should attempt using only black sugar and palm sugar the next time I make Kuih Kaswi.  For now though, the taste of this Kuih Kaswi is good enough to bring me back to my good "young" days and it won me a compliment from my mother!  That's the sweetest part of it all.


The ingredients below should be sufficient for one 28 cm steaming tin. However you may find that the quantity looks more in my pictures but that is because I am making twice the amount of ingredients below as I had wanted to give some to my neighbour and to my mother.

5 cups water
1 cup fine sugar
1 cup palm sugar (I used 1/2 cup black sugar and 1/2 cup palm sugar)
2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup tapioca/corn flour (I used tapioca flour)
1 teaspoon of calcium carbonate solution (optional)
freshly grated coconut (I bought from the market at $1 per pack)
salt to taste


1.  Heat up water in pot.

2.  Add in the sugar, palm sugar (and black sugar if you are using) and cook over medium fire.

3.  Bring to a boil.  Off fire and let cool.  Once cooled, strain the sugar solution into another bowl to remove residue from the sugar.

4.  Add in all flour into a mixing bowl.

5.  I took about slightly less than 1/4 teaspoon of the calcium carbonate paste and dilute it with about 3 tablespoons of water for it to turn milky.

6.  Add a teaspoon of the calcium carbonate milky solution into the flour in the mixing bowl.

7.  Pour the strained sugar mixture into the flour and whisk thoroughly until well combined and smooth.  You should get a caramel coloured batter. Then, strain the batter to remove curdles, if any.  I don't see any curdles in my batter so I didn't bother.

8.  Fill up enough water in the steamer base pot and heat up over high fire.

9.  Brush the insides of your steaming tin with about one to two teaspoons of cooking oil.

10.  Pour batter into tin.

11.  Take the steamer pan and place the batter filled steaming tin into the steamer pan.

12.  Once the water in your steamer base is boiling, stack your steamer pan onto the steamer base and place cover.  Steam over high fire for about 45 minutes.

13.  This is how the steamed cake would look like after 45 minutes.  There will be water on top of the cake but that is okay.  Just pour  the excess water away and take 1 piece of paper towel to lay it just above the surface of the cake for a second or two to absorb the remaining bit.

14.  Place your coconut in a small pot and put the pot into the steamer pan and steam for about five minutes.  Then add enough salt into your grated coconut and stir properly to combine.  You must be able to taste the salt in your grated coconut.

15.  Let your steamed cake cool off completely before cutting them into small squares or rectangles with a PLASTIC knife (the cake is more sticky to metal knife).  Place your steamed cake pieces into the grated coconut mix and turn it all over to properly coat before serving.  Refrigerate left overs.  I personally love them when they are cold and just out of the fridge.

Enjoy and Happy Kitchen-ing!!


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