Sunday, August 9, 2009

Angkoo Kueh

Angkoo kueh which means "Red Turtle" kueh is very popular in Singapore and parts of Malaysia. Originally, these type of kueh descended from the Peranakan Nyonya cooking which was made up of glutinous flour and mung bean filling. These days, varieties of colors and fillings are plenty and nothing can substitute for the distinct moulds that is used for these kueh, which is modelled in an oval shape resembling the turtle's shell with patterns and indentations inside to create the neat and pretty imprints on the kueh when steamed.

Thanks to my old friend, Claudine who bought and sent these moulds all the way from Singapore, my other friends and I managed to make this kueh this week. As I always said, my techniques with moulds are pure luck and these nice ones that I posted here are mostly moulded in the delicate hands of my friends, WLi (aka 'Crazymommy') and SMei while mine, were a bit over loaded or disfigured but luckily tasted good!

CrazyMommy made the traditional mung bean filling for the red one while I made up the peanut filling for the white one. Despite her protest, I won over choosing the white color for the peanut one. Maybe a bit inauspicious when offering it at the altar table in Singapore during festive occasions as the red ones are mostly intended, I think the white ones can mean well too, as when it is translated into Chinese which says "Pak", it can be playfully meant "100", meaning long life!

CrazyMommy got this recipe from her own mom and I had to make some adjustments to the peanut filling last minute to make it clumpy so as to easily proportion for each kueh. The chewiness of this dough is a result from the cooking of the rice flour with oil and water prior to adding this wet and hot mixture into the next batch of glutinous rice flour and coconut milk. The glossiness of the skin is definitely a result from the adding of vegetable oil to both parts of the flours mixture and to taste the best, these kueh must be eaten on the day it is made.

We made 2 portions of the dough recipe separately to ensure the right texture and amount. One recipe yields almost 24 to 26 small sized angkoo. A 2 or 3 tier steamer is efficient in getting all to cook at the same time.


A small bowl of oil
30 small banana leaves squares

Mung Bean Filling:
300gm mung bean/yellow split beans
180gm sugar

1)Wash the beans. Drain and mix in the sugar.
2)Spread out in a large plate and steam for 45 mins till very soft. Mash up.
3)Let cool completely and roll into ball portions fitting the preferred angkoo size.

Peanut Filling:
300gm raw peanuts
150gm sugar
2 tbsp peanut butter
4 tbsp vegetable/peanut oil

1)Turn on the oven to 350F. Set the timer to 20 mins. Lay out the peanut on a flat baking tray and bake till brown, but not burnt. The peanuts will turn crunchy and fragrant.
2)Take out and let cool. Remove the outer layer husks of all the peanuts and discard.
3)Process the peanuts till fine.Remove to a bowl and stir in sugar and mix thorougly. Spoon in the peanut butter and vegetable oil to coat.
4)Shape into ball portions fitting the preferred angkoo size.

Skin Dough:
Part A :
50gm Rice Flour
225ml Water
2 tsp oil

1)Dissolve the rice flour in the water. Stir in the oil.
2)Bring this mixture to a boil on low heat, stirring continously. Once it starts to thick to a starchy stage remove from heat immediately. Do not let it get lumpy.

Part B:
300gm Glutinous Rice Flour
225ml Coconut milk
3 tsp oil
30gm sugar
Food coloring of your choice

1)Mix the flour, sugar and coconut milk and stir to combine. Stir in the oil till combined thoroughly.
2)Pour in the cooked mixture of Part A and stir to combine. A soft dough will form. Knead in drops of coloring of your choice. Divide and roll into ball portions slightly bigger than the balls for fillings.

Method in making the Kueh:
1)Oil the working hand with some cooking oil. Take one portion of the dough, gently press and flatten a bit out on your palm.
2)Place a ball of filling in the middle and wrap up and gently roll it on your palm.
3)Gently fit the dough into the angkoo mould and pat to the bottom. Using one finger, push in the edges towards the middle as to fit inside the mould completely.
4)Dislodge the angkoo by knocking gently over the corner of a table with your other palm holding the banana leaves square. The kueh will fall perfectly onto the leaf. Place at least 1/2 inch apart in the steamer and steam for 15 mins. Remove from steamer and let cool to room temperature before serving.

Makes : 1 skin dough recipe yields 24 to 26 small angkoos
One peanut or one mung bean filling recipes each yields 24 to 26 small angkoos