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Kuih talam

Kuih talam is a great introduction to the skills required for making traditional kuih. Handling rice flour, prepping the steamer, timing the layers, checking for textures and consistencies—all valuable skills that get practiced when making this (only!) two-layer kuih. Debbie’s recipe relies solely on natural colours, which gives this kuih its beautiful hues.

Recipe originally appears in Nonya Flavours; shared with permission by author Debbie Teoh.

 

Tableware by Ilham Ceramic Studio.

Kuih talam

by Debbie Teoh

Kuih talam is a great introduction to the skills required for making traditional kuih. Handling rice flour, prepping the steamer, timing the layers, checking for textures and consistencies—all valuable skills that get practiced when making this (only!) two-layer kuih. Debbie’s recipe relies solely on natural colours, which gives this kuih its beautiful hues.

Recipe originally appears in Nonya Flavours; shared with permission by author Debbie Teoh.

 

Tableware by Ilham Ceramic Studio.

Servings: 12

Servings: 12

GREEN LAYER

20 pandan leaves

700ml water

80g rice flour

40g tapioca flour

30g mung bean starch

230g white caster sugar

1 tsp alkaline water (kansui)

 

WHITE LAYER

40g rice flour

30g mung bean starch

1 tbsp tapioca flour

500ml thick coconut milk (from 2 grated coconuts)

½ tsp salt

  1. Snip the pandan leaves cross-wise into 1″ strips using kitchen scissors. Place all the snipped leaves into a blender and pour in 700ml water. Blend for about 2-3 minutes, making sure that the leaves in the blender are well shredded. Sieve the blended contents into a separate bowl, squeezing any clumps of pandan leaves to extract all the juice. Top up with more water if necessary to amount to 700ml.
  2. Fill the bottom pot of a steamer at least half-full with water. Set it on the burner and turn the heat to high so the water will boil quicker.
  3. Take a 20cm/8″ square pan (at least 5cm/2″ deep) and line it with foil, pressing into all the corners to make sure the foil is flush against the surface of the pan. Grease the foil lightly with plain vegetable oil.
  4. Combine the blended pandan juice along with the rest of the ingredients for the green layer into a saucepan. Cook over low heat until the batter thickens slightly, about 6-8 minutes. Pour it immediately into the lined and greased pan, then set it into a steamer basket and place above the boiling water in the steamer. Cover the steamer and turn the heat down to low. Steam the green layer for about 20-25 minutes until almost set, opening the steamer cover every 5 minutes.
  5. While the green layer is steaming, combine the ingredients for the white layer in a separate saucepan and cook on a low heat for about 5-7 minutes until the batter thickens slightly. Time this step to coincide with the end of steaming the green layer. Once the green layer is almost set, slowly but confidently pour in the batter for the white layer on top. Use a spatula to evenly spread out the batter, then replace the steamer cover. Steam for about 25-30 minutes, opening the steamer cover every 5 minutes.
  6. The kuih is ready when a toothpick inserted into the centre of the kuih comes out damp, but without any traces of uncooked batter. Remove the pan from the steamer and let cool to room temperature (about 1-2 hours) before chilling further in the fridge for another 1-2 hours. This lets the batter set completely for clean slicing.
  7. To serve, cut into diamond-shaped slices, wiping the knife between every slice.

Tips

  • To achieve a smoother top layer, wrap the inside of the steamer lid with a wide towel or cloth so that it will absorb the steam that rises. This means that the condensed steam will not drip back onto the surface of the kuih.
  • Always be careful when opening the steamer cover. Lift the side of the lid that is away from you, so that your skin does not come into contact with a gush of hot steam, which might cause blisters.

Ingredients

GREEN LAYER

20 pandan leaves

700ml water

80g rice flour

40g tapioca flour

30g mung bean starch

230g white caster sugar

1 tsp alkaline water (kansui)

 

WHITE LAYER

40g rice flour

30g mung bean starch

1 tbsp tapioca flour

500ml thick coconut milk (from 2 grated coconuts)

½ tsp salt

Directions

  1. Snip the pandan leaves cross-wise into 1″ strips using kitchen scissors. Place all the snipped leaves into a blender and pour in 700ml water. Blend for about 2-3 minutes, making sure that the leaves in the blender are well shredded. Sieve the blended contents into a separate bowl, squeezing any clumps of pandan leaves to extract all the juice. Top up with more water if necessary to amount to 700ml.
  2. Fill the bottom pot of a steamer at least half-full with water. Set it on the burner and turn the heat to high so the water will boil quicker.
  3. Take a 20cm/8″ square pan (at least 5cm/2″ deep) and line it with foil, pressing into all the corners to make sure the foil is flush against the surface of the pan. Grease the foil lightly with plain vegetable oil.
  4. Combine the blended pandan juice along with the rest of the ingredients for the green layer into a saucepan. Cook over low heat until the batter thickens slightly, about 6-8 minutes. Pour it immediately into the lined and greased pan, then set it into a steamer basket and place above the boiling water in the steamer. Cover the steamer and turn the heat down to low. Steam the green layer for about 20-25 minutes until almost set, opening the steamer cover every 5 minutes.
  5. While the green layer is steaming, combine the ingredients for the white layer in a separate saucepan and cook on a low heat for about 5-7 minutes until the batter thickens slightly. Time this step to coincide with the end of steaming the green layer. Once the green layer is almost set, slowly but confidently pour in the batter for the white layer on top. Use a spatula to evenly spread out the batter, then replace the steamer cover. Steam for about 25-30 minutes, opening the steamer cover every 5 minutes.
  6. The kuih is ready when a toothpick inserted into the centre of the kuih comes out damp, but without any traces of uncooked batter. Remove the pan from the steamer and let cool to room temperature (about 1-2 hours) before chilling further in the fridge for another 1-2 hours. This lets the batter set completely for clean slicing.
  7. To serve, cut into diamond-shaped slices, wiping the knife between every slice.

Tips

  • To achieve a smoother top layer, wrap the inside of the steamer lid with a wide towel or cloth so that it will absorb the steam that rises. This means that the condensed steam will not drip back onto the surface of the kuih.
  • Always be careful when opening the steamer cover. Lift the side of the lid that is away from you, so that your skin does not come into contact with a gush of hot steam, which might cause blisters.

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© Copyright Periuk 2021

© Copyright Periuk 2021

 
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