Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tee nyah kuih

 This 'kuih' is typically 'hokkien' and it is time that i talk about my heritage as hokkien 'lang' after being branded as a 'macau sai' by my paternal grandmother cos me and my siblings do not speak our 'mother tongue' that well or rather not at all. We spoke our Mother's tongue, cantonese, but it should not be our Mother's tongue but my Grandma's - Ah Po, who is cantonese. There was once when i was asked by my Ah Ma to tell this hokkien guy who came to look for my Ah Kong - 'ie kee liao pee la lui lee eh au pit'  - hokkien guy seemed to understand what i said, while i myself took a long time to figure out what i said.  Can any of my 'hokkian lang' readers tell me what i said?. 

This kuih is a speciality and will appear on the table of hokkien families during hokkien festivals.  My one and only Ah Koh, made the best tee nyah kuih and i would like my Ah Ma and Ah Koh to be proud of me by making this kuih although mine is not as good.


1 lb rice flour
2 tbsps tapioca flour
1/2 tsp borax/ pang sar (optional)
2 tbsps potassium carbonate & sodium bi-carbonate solution
2000 ml/2 liters water
1 ½ tbsps cooking oil
1 tsp salt


Combine rice flour, tapioca flour, borax, potassium carbonate & sodium bi-carbonate solution, salt together in a microwave-safe bowl. . Add in the water, a little at a time, to prevent lumps. Give it a good mix before adding cooking oil and stir well and make sure borax is  dissolved.

Cook in the microwave until a very thick consistency, stirring after every intervals.
Pour in a greased 9 inches round steaming tray and spoon the 2 tablespoons of tap water over surface of kuih.

Steam kuih over rapidly boiling water for one hour.  Replenish water if necessary.  To prevent condensation, wrap steamer cover with a large piece of cloth(using a bamboo steamer is the best).

Test for doneness with a wooden skewer(lidi) pierced in the centre,  It should come out clean.

Cool kuih for a couple of hours before slicing.

Serve with Hong Bak or Red Cooked Pork or Tau Yue Bak



ICook4Fun said...

I am Hokkien so this Tee Nyah Kueh will be on our table every feastivals. We too will eat it with our Hong Bak.

Claire said...

This was delicious! Check your links inside this post Lily--they seem to be broken..

Don said...

Haha !! Tricky. Think I've figured out half the message....He went to xxxxxxxxxx office. Anyone can fill in the missing name ?

JSC said...

Hmmm, I thought "au pit" means "behind", so the message would mean "He went ... behind the ..."? So puzzling lol!!

Quinn said...

Nobody beats my grandma when it comes to making Tee Nyah kuih!!!We like it savoury, sometimes we eat it with leftover nasi lemak sambal instead of Hong Bak, but never sweet. I know in Penang, they have colourful ones, eaten with palm sugar syrup. I've tried, but didn't like it. I like it savoury :)

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

I also Hokkian lang, hehehe.My husband has been thinking to eat this Tee Nyah kuih, he said he tasted his elder's sister Tee Nyah kuih is the best. I tried to check with her sister, but she did not record the recipe, all only agak-agak. Your recipe just come on the right time, I'm going to make this for my husband, Thanks for sharing this authentic Hokkian recipe.

Regina Chennault said...

"He went to xxxx (something about money as 'lui' means money in Hokkien) your office"...

shereen said...

Since my family is Peranakan(nyonya),we would eat this with Pongteh.

Blessed Homemaker said...

I'm Hokkien but I don't understand your conversation :P

I rem eating this when I was young but I don't know what is it called.

Unknown said...

Hi Lily

'ie kee liao pee la lui lee eh au pit' LOL!

I think the translation of what you said is this. 'ie kee liao = He has gone'; 'pee la = Kuala Pilah (Kuala was seldom mentioned)'; 'lui lee eh au pit = Lui Lee's office'.

Therefore, I think the whole sentence could be translated to "He has gone to Kuala Pilah Lui Lee's Office".

I love to pan fry the Tee nyah Kuih first and then dip it in a trotters, sea cucumber and mushroom sause (Loh ter kah hai som - Lu choh gua low nuah lah!!!!

Unknown said...

Dan and akau

thank you for trying to translate although it is hard to type it in romanized hokkien - i might not be right but the both of you did good - he did go to xxx's office.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I've been thinking for the past few years of this whitish cubes that I had during my childhood. I asked around but nobody seemed to know, even my mom! I thought I was probably mistaken this snack due to my poor memory.

I remember I had some whitish cubes and drizzled with brown, sweet and salty sauce. It's more on the sweet side. Definetely not with savoury sauce though. Well, maybe my memory failed me. Thank you and enjoy reading your blog. ;-)

Uncle Phil said...

Hi lilyng,
Thanks for your visit. It is nice to know there are people like you sharing your family "secret recipes" with others. Do keep up your good work. Sorry, I could not reply to your comment in my blog as I do not where it went to the older postings. Please do post your comment in my lastest posting so that I can reply.

Anonymous said...

All my siblings and I hated this thingie until a hawker came to our little town and sold it chopped and stir fried with scrambled eggs and some yummy sweet soy sauce. From then on we look forward to it on festivals but would not eat it till mom performs her magic on it. Thanks for posting.

fanciful-delights said...

OMG this brings back all the memories when my mum was alive and we had these back in the good old days....remembered eating it with sweet black sauce.

Yes, I am also a Hokkien, btw, here's my attempt at breaking the hokkien 'morse code'

'ie kee liao pee la lui lee eh au pit'
means he has gone to (ie kee liao)
'pee la lui lee' probably means a person's name and
'eh au pit' means his office.

ReeseKitchen said...

Hi Lily,
You have such a lovely and delicious blog, and so I have a gift award for you , pls drop by and collect them at your convenience.

Unknown said...

fanciful delights

you are absolutely right about that ah kong had gone to the office but try reading pee la lui lee in english

PutuPiring said...

Hi Lily and other Hokkien lang.. maybe you can clear the confusion.. We've always called it kee'ah kueh cos its made from kee-chui ( lye water) is that correct or did we mixed that up?? Thanks
Lily thanks for bringing back all these childhood kueh kueh that i havent seen in decades.

Unknown said...


thanks for dropping by.

this macau sai is never good in hokkien and i too think it is kee ah kueh but i could not find any kee ah but found tee nyah. i am 'eh meung' so it should be kee ah, tee nyah could be penang hokkien or eng choon. I don't know. i hope hokkian lang can come out and help us.

Unknown said...

borax is poisonous that can cause death... Pls pls take it off from the recipe.

Unknown said...

tyan huey

thanks for the advice. I too would not like to use borax but most rice ingredients recipe do need a little to give the texture needed. I wonder if the kway teow purchased used it?

Unknown said...

here is the scientific research done in 2008; all yellow noodles, wanton mee, fish ball and etc showed the presence of borax :(

but my thought is, since it is homemade, it should be freed from this substance. even though the texture is not as good as that...

Unknown said...

tyan huey

thanks for the link, i did not know that yellow noodles, fish ball and wanton noodles has borax

panda257 said...

oh nice. now i know there's hokkien goodies. :D

btw, auntie lily, im far more worst than you. i cant really understand hokkien. let alone the other chinese language.

Anonymous said...

hi, can let me know where you buy ur borax from?

Unknown said...


it is available at the asain stores here

Alannia said...

Hi Aunty Lily,

Was wondering what is potassium carbonate & sodium bi-carbonate solution. Do you have the Chinese name for it?


Unknown said...


here is the chinese word 雪鹼水Potassium Carbonate & Sodium Bi-Carbonate

in cantonese it is called 'kan sui' and in hokkien kee or tee

Unknown said...

Kee ah kuih is my husband's favourite. My recipe does not call for potassium carbonate & sodium bicarbonate but still requires borax. At times I steam this kuih when there is tou yue bak or braised pig's trooter with sea cucumber. Yummy yummy mouth-watering

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