Talam Kacang Merah (Steamed Cake with Red Beans)

Talam Kacang Merah

Talam Kacang Merah

Talam refers to a tray or in Malay, a dulang whereas Kacang Merah means Red Beans or in this case Red Mung Beans. So I guess the name refers to Red Mung Bean cake in a tray. But  you may say isn’t a cake a kueh in Malay? Honestly, though I am a Malay, I am just as confused between a kueh and a talam. As far as I know, a kueh in Malay typically refers to a snack or dessert. So my guess is, back then it was given this name due to the fact that this kueh is cooked in a metal tray or some may say a wide cake pan which was also used as a tray for serving. Well at least that’s my take on this issue.

I hope I didn’t confuse you with my explanation. Now, the word kueh is more well-known than a talam so you will be understood if using just the word kueh.

I have explained to you the characteristics of traditional Malay kuehs in my previous post and Talam Kacang Merah is no different. It is a steamed cake, made primarily  of rice flour, coconut milk and sugar. It has two layers, one of which contains red beans and is sweet and is usually the bottom layer. The top layer is usually unsweetened, in fact, has a tinge of saltiness, to balance the sweet bottom layer. This top layer is usually thinner than the bottom layer. As for the color, you can color both which ever way you want but rule of thumb is to color each layer differently.

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Serimuka (Steamed Rice Cake with Coconut Custard)

Serimuka aka Putri Salat

Serimuka aka Putri Salat

This is a Malay traditional cake. It is one of the most common cakes you can find in Singapore. There are several common characteristics you will notice in most traditional Malay cakes. They are mostly steamed cakes and almost all makes use of coconut milk because coconuts are aplenty in this region and use rice flour instead of wheat flour because rice is easily and more commonly available in this region.

Traditionally, I was told, rice flour were home-made. The women would soak the rice overnight then drained and grounded to a paste the next day. It will then be wrapped tightly in a piece of cloth. A heavy object is then placed on top of it to exert pressure and squeeze out the water making it to become dry.

But we have come a long way since and now we can buy rice flour in packets from the supermarket. Thank God for that 🙂

Today I will be sharing the recipe for Serimuka or Putri Salat. It is an easy cake to make but there are no shortcuts. This cakes like most Malay cakes, have two layers. The rice layer at the bottom and the custard topping on top. Please see the recipe below.

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Kueh Lompang

Kueh Lompang

Colorful Kueh Lompang

My daughter had an Eid celebration in her school. Days before the event she kept reminding me to bake something for her to bring to class. The refreshment for the event is supposed to be potluck. So I had to come up with something fast.

I decided to make Kueh Lompang because it is sweet and colorful and the children will love it. It is also a simple dessert to make. On the day of the event, I made the Kueh Lompang and she brought it to school. It was a hit. The kids loved it and there were no leftovers.

Kueh Lompang is a traditional Malay cake. It is usually the size of a small cup with a little dent or a small well  in the middle. It is a sweet cake topped with steamed grated coconut that had been seasoned with little salt. This is to balance the sweetness of the cake and give it a creamy taste. It is a colorful cake.

The cooking method is by steaming the batter in little cups until cooked or firm. To store any leftovers, the cakes should be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. You need to microwave it if you intend to eat it after it has been chilled. Store the grated coconut separately from the cakes.

It is great for children’s parties and you can add flavor to the batter.

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Kueh Lapis Nonya (Steamed Layer Cake)


Kueh Lapis Nonya

Kueh Lapis is a multi-colored layered steamed cake. That’s about how I summed up Kueh Lapis in a nutshell. But I wouldn’t do it justice by stopping here. It has a pleasant pandan (screwpine) fragrance, layers and layers of colors pleasing the eyes of the young and old, a chewy texture that greets you the moment you bite into it and that mildly sweet taste that can satisfy your sweet tooth.

First of all let me clarify that I am referring to the steamed Kueh Lapis, a Nonya delicacy. No one could mistook a Nonya’s Kueh Lapis for something else, it’s signature layers of colors of red, green and white are well-known in Singapore and Malaysia. Continue reading

Air Kathira (Cooling Kathira drink)

Air Kathira

Air Kathira sold in Bazaar Ramadhan

Air (pronounced as ah-yer) Kathira is a cold refreshing drink made with evaporated milk, pandan (screwpine) flavored syrup, kathira gum, biji selasih (basil seeds) and buah kembang semangkuk (malva nuts). It is one of the popular drinks sold during the fasting month of Ramadhan in Singapore and Malaysia.

There are many versions of this drink. There are bandung (rose syrup), blueberry or chocolate flavored, just to name a few. I have yet to see soybean air kathira with less sugar, it will be a healthier choice for the health conscious?

Kathira is a natural gum extracted from a tree, you can find it in powder form or in small opaque chunks. It’s been told that kathira gum is consumed to reduce heatiness so that is just what we need in hot and humid South East Asia.

Buah Kembang Semangkuk or Malva nut you get from the shops here are sold, dried. It is also known as a coolant and used to treat coughs and constipation but it is not recommended to consume more than 2 seeds per cup of water, in fact, Continue reading

Kueh Bakar

Kueh Bakar

Kueh Bakar

I was trying to figure out what to call this cake in English. After so much guessing I’d rather leave it out totally. Basically this is a Malay cake, the texture is similar to that of custard but less sweet and normally green in color because of the screwpine (pandan) juice that are used in the recipe. It’s baked in it’s signature flower shaped mould. Continue reading