Kueh Kueh


We love a certain nonya kueh known to us as Rainbow Kueh or 9-layer kueh or steamed kueh lapis.  Top layer is always a bright red, bottom layer is always white and in between we have beautiful rainbow colors. It is patiently steamed layer by layer until there are 9 layers.  To enjoy it, we peel off layer by layer and savor it one layer at a time.

We love it coz it’s chewy, sticky, sweet, coconuty (not unlike mochi in texture).  However, it’s usually full of artificial coloring.  Every layer is a different color.  We have to limit *sob our intake coz DD has eczema and we suspect artificial coloring and preservatives to be one of the main culprits.

OR! I could make it myself, leaving out all the bad but pretty coloring.  And put in some flax seed meal to boost up the nutritive value.    The result is not pretty.  But never mind the lack of rainbow colors, as long as it tastes good coz  we can always close our eyes when we eat! lol. Anyhow, DD gave it 2 thumbs up.  “It’s soooo yummmmy!” Her words, not mine. 8D


No-Coloring  9-Layer Kueh with Flax Seed Meal

180 g tapioca starch

20 g rice flour

1/4 cup flax seed meal

400 ml coconut milk

160 ml water

1/4 tsp salt

200 g sugar

pandan leaves

Boil pandan leaves with water for a few minutes, then discard leaves.  Stir in sugar, coconut milk, and the rest of the ingredients.

Grease an 8″square pan with coconut oil.  Prepare the steamer.  Heat up the pan in the steamer.  When steamer is ready, stir batter, spoon in about 100 ml of batter and steam 5 min.  Spoon in another 100 ml of batter on top of the 1st layer and steam another 5 min.   Remember to stir batter each time before using. Repeat this till all batter is used up. Steam 10 min for the last layer.  Remove from steamer and leave to cool.

There is a trick to removing it from the pan.  Use a piece of cling wrap and place it on top of the kueh.  Flip the pan upside down.  Now you are holding the kueh in your hand. Gently pry the kueh away from the sides of the pan.  The whole thing should come off easily and plop onto your hand. Viola!

Now, about slicing it.  It’s a sticky situation (pun intended, heheh).  There’s also a trick to slicing.  Using a large knife, position and press it down.  No sawing motions, please.  Just press down and it’s done.  If you don’t want to end up with a sticky knife, you may even put a piece of cling wrap on top and press your knife down.  It won’t cut through the cling wrap but will cut through your kueh. Viola again!

Remember to peel off each and every layer and savor it layer by layer.

Store leftovers in the fridge.  It’ll still be soft the next day.


Bobo Chacha (shortcut)


When I said in my previous post that it’s now school Hols and we have time, I meant the Underlings. Not me. I always have to produce food fast. That’s why I love shortcuts.

Bobo chacha is my mom’s favorite dessert. She used to cook a huge pot when I was young. I didn’t fancy it so much then because of 3 things: I love sago and there was never enough; I didn’t like taro; and the sweet potatoes were never sweet.

So this recipe is not the traditional bobo chacha. Mine is quick and it is the way I like it.

Indonesian honey sweet potatoes

Bobo Chacha (my way)

2 sweet potatoes

1/4 cup small sago

1 pkt coconut milk (200ml)

brown sugar or gula Melaka

1  pandan leaf

Boil sweet potatoes whole with their skin. This retains the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. It takes about 10-20 min to cook, depending on the size of your sweet potatoes. Then dunk in cold water for easy peeling. Dice them up.

Boil 2-3 cups of water. Only when the water is rapidly boiling do you add in the sago. If the water is not boiling, the sago will turn into goop. Give it an occasional stir and boil until sago is almost clear but still a little white in the middle. Then strain and add in *fresh water (doesn’t have to be hot now). Pour in a pkt of coconut milk, put in a pandan leaf and bring to a boil. Add in the diced sweet potatoes. Sweeten with brown sugar or gula Melaka to taste.


Serve it hot. And soon. Coz as you delay, the sago will absorb more liquid and the whole thing will resemble tapioca pudding. Which I also likey so it’s ok for me.

*how much water to add depends on how soupy you like your bobo chacha to be.

Tapioca Bobo


Necessity is the mother of invention. Or the mother of DIY. I told my kids I was going to make sago gula melaka for dessert after lunch. But after lunch, I couldn’t find my sago. I knew it was somewhere in my larder. Probably hidden under some things. Or maybe I actually ran out! *gasp. Anyhow so sago gula melaka was out of the question then.

That got me thinking.  It’s just tapioca flour.  Why don’t I attempt to make my own?  We all love the bobo in bubble tea and that huge sago that takes forever to cook (FOREVER, I tell you!).  A quick experiment told me you can’t just use room temperature water and tapioca starch.  It goes all weird…like slime-like.  I cooked it anyhow and it tasted authentic.  However, it was impossible to shape.  So I figured if it’s not room temperature water, it must be hot water then.  With a few clicks on my iphone, i found out that I was on the right track.


Tapioca Bobo

1/4 cup hot water

3/4 cup tapioca starch

Pour hot water into a bowl of tapioca starch.  Hold back that last 1 Tbsp of starch. It’s easier to add starch to a too wet dough than the other way round.   Knead it with your hands until it forms a nice dough (like play dough).  Warning: It will be hot.  If it’s too dry, just add a bit of cool water (it’ll be fine).  If it is too tacky, add in the rest of the starch.  Next, just pinch off bits and roll them into bobo size.  Dust with more starch if they feel too sticky.

Boil a small pot of water.  When the water boils, put in the bobo.    It will only take a few minutes before you see them floating.  Boil them for a few minutes then  scoop up the floaters and I just put them straight into a bottle filled with a couple of tablespoons of sugar.

To use, just pop them into your tea.  Or eat them as is.

They may be kept overnight in the fridge.  However, you will need to soften them up.  You can do this either by putting them into your hot tea, or just let them sit in a bit of hot water for a few minutes.



The ratio is 3 parts starch to 1 part hot water.

Pouring hot water into the starch makes it easier to mix than starch to hot water.

Tapioca starch is very fine, so be warned, it gets very messy very easily.

Fresh sago/bobo cooks very very quickly. I will never buy the dried ones again.

I later found my missing sago hidden under a stack of instant noodles. heh.