When i was growing up, the only 'ku' i know was colored red or orange with a sweet filling. Nowadays, 'ku' comes in all sorts of colors and shapes with either sweet or savory fillings. Thank you to enthusiastic cooks who come up with new ideas which kick up a few knotches to the traditional this kuih. Btw - 'ku' is in hokkien meaning Tortoise and Tortoise symbolizes longevity. When the 'ku' kuih is shaped like a tortoise shell, it creates a high symbolic and ritual value, very appropriate for ritual offerings during religious events. These 'ku' , it must be red in color and that is why it is called 'Angku' - 'Ang' means red in hokkien, is an important gift when a child is born (one month old) or during birthdays. Outside the ritual or gift context, it is also a very popular snack, eaten at all times of the day, be it for breakfast or tea=time. Have you ever tried pan-frying leftover/overnight 'Angku'? - they are delicious.
Below is a recipe with a new twist - Taro is added to the dough which gives the 'ku' a purplish hue and a fragrance which taro lovers will recognize. The filling can be sweet or savoury and a spicy one will be met with satisfaction.
150 g taro slices - steamed and mashed(keep warm)
150 g glutinious rice flour
50 ml water(use only if the dough is too dry)
50 ml thick coconut milk
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil
Purple food coloring/taro paste
Extra glutionious rice flour for dusting
Pre-cooked cooking oil for glazing
Banana leaves - cut into rounds and brushed with oil
Filling of your choice or follow this sweet filling recipe
Sieve glutinious flour with salt.
Add oil and purple food coloring/taro paste to the thick coconut milk and microwave it for 30 seconds.
Add warm mashed taro to the glutinious flour and add in the coconut milk and oil a little at a time, knead until a dough forms. Water is to be added only if the dough is too dry. Knead dough well until it is shiny. Rest the dough for 30 minutes.
Scale dough according to the size of your mould.
Flatten dough and roll into a circle. Put in some filling and wrap dough up.
Dust mould with glutinious flour and knock out all excess flour.
Press filled dough firmly into mould, knock and dislodge from mould. Place on oiled banana leaf and into steamer rack.
Continue process with the rest of the dough pieces.
Turn on the tap on low and place steamer under the running water to remove excess glutinious flour from the surface of the moulded kuih.
Steam kuih over low heat for 10 minutes. At 5 minutes, uncover the steamer to lower the temperature of the steam cos the pattern will be lost if too high heat is used for steaming. Cover and continue to steam until cooked.
Remove from heat and glaze surface with the precooked oil.