During the fasting period of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world practice empathy and charity to help those in need. It is also a time when gratitude for daily necessities such as water and food is expressed. A grand holiday called Eid al-Fitr or Aidilfitri follows the end of fasting, where Muslims often wear new clothes and give each other gifts and sweets. Of course it is also a time to feast to celebrate the end of fasting.
Here in Malaysia, kuih (loosely translated as ‘cake or sweets’) is always served to guests during Hari Raya Aidilfitri. A few of our artisans make their own kuih to gift to friends or even sell for extra income. We asked them what are some of their favourite kuihs, and kuih lapis (layer cake) was an unanimous favorite.
Although it’s available all-year round, no Raya table looks complete without kuih lapis. It is a steamed coconut pudding with layers steamed one at a time. A good kuih lapis’ layers can be peeled off one by one, and that is often the preferred way to eat them. This is how Kak Dayang eats it.
Do you want to learn how to make it? Here’s a recipe for you to give it a go:
- 2 cups rice flour
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cornflour or sweet potato flour
- 4 cups of coconut milk
- 1 pandan leaf, tied in a knot
- 1 cup caster sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon red food coloring (approx.)
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
- Slightly heat up the coconut milk with the pandan leaf in a saucepan until lukewarm.
- In a large bowl, add the rice flour, all-purpose flour, cornflour, sugar and salt.
- Add lukewarm coconut cream into the bowl and stir until there are no lumps.
- Divide the mixture in half. Add the vanilla extract and red food coloring until the mixture is your preferred shade of pink .
- Lightly oil an 8-inch square cake pan and place in a steamer for 5 minutes.
- Take ⅓ of the white mixture to fill the cake pan until the whole surface is covered. Let it steam covered for 5 minutes on high heat
- Uncover the steamer and add ⅓ of the pink mixture. Repeat steaming procedure until you have six layers with the pink one being the last.
- After you’ve added the last of the mixture, let the kuih steam for 15 minutes.
- Let the kuih cool completely and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, overnight for best results.
- Lightly oil a sharp chef’s knife and cut into rectangles.
Let us know if you try it out.
Selamat Hari Raya to you all!