Although Asian desserts are not laden with butter nor cream, they are cholesterol packed and embedded with sugar. I seldom attempt any of the Malay and Nyonya kuih but I would like to make them once in a while as they are very interesting in terms of the cooking method applied as well as the combination of tastes and the outlook of the end product itself.
Serimuka is a very unique kuih, descended from the Nyonyas cooking repertoire and I believe there are strict rules required in terms of the thickness of the different layers of the bottom glutinous rice and the upper part of the pandan coconut milk custard. The steaming process must be done at the right heat temperature so that the custard part will be smooth and clean. Obviously, I have no Nyonya blood in me, hence the 'uneven' finish!
I always think any type of rice should be eaten plain or as a complement to side dishes rather than cooked as a dessert. However, I am not against this one because the taste of the rice is not sweet in the overall dessert itself, but rather lends a stable base for the soft custard and is itself fragrantly scented with the coconut milk and with a tinge of saltiness from the added salt at the time of the first step in steaming the rice. The sugar used in the recipe was a bit too much for my liking, but I guess it should be sweet enough to make the palate feels that you are eating 2 different textures with 2 different tastes at one bite. While the rice part is all sticky and pearly, the custard part is soft and smooth. That is why I consider this kuih an art to my eyes and palate.
I divided the recipe and made 2 varieties. One with the original green pandan custard and plain rice while the other, I retained the original custard without adding the pandan paste and instead added it into the rice itself, giving it a touch of soft green. Despite the non perfect appearance, I believe I achieved the right consistency of the cooked rice and firm custard. And the taste is decadent, with the richness of the egg in the custard itself and the sweet smell of coconut and pandan together makes the perfect aroma that pokes the smell senses when eaten. The cutting part was easier when it was completely cooled but obviously, my cutting skills needs a bit of practising here as I was struggling a bit with the rice part as they stood up to their name 'sticky rice' firmly throughout!!
Missy E thought they were sushi and I couldn't help but laughed. Kids do say the darndest things but not my Missy E. Obviously, she was smart enough to tell me that it is sushi because it has rice underneath and the same sizes as those that she sees in the restaurant. I wish I can explain to her more about the Nyonyas and Babas but she was already waiting with her miniature fork to dig in the plain custard slice.
As with sushi, you can only eat a certain number of pieces of this kuih before the stomach tells you that it is full! And also the mind will tell you to stop and try to think of the aftermath for taking too much.... it will take as long as the steaming process to walk off the calories on the threadmill and it is wise not to over indulge!