It all started with making the Cheese Puto (Filipino Steamed Rice Cake with Cheese) that got me all crazy about getting the traditional steamer. We used to have one but mom gave it away when we moved to our current house. We have two other smaller stainless steel steamers but they are just not cut out to steam these traditional delicacies.
There are several types of steamed cakes made with rice flour. If you want to learn how to make these traditional delicacies, chwee kueh would be a good start. It does not take long and the ingredients are cheap, so you don’t waste much time or money if you fail.
The only tricky part in making chwee kueh is when you thicken the batter. If the consistency is too thick, the steamed cake will be hard, and mushy if it is too thin. Observe the batter when cooking. Once it is thick enough to coat the sides of the pot thinly, put the pot in a water-bath to stop the cooking.
- 150 grams rice flour
- 12 grams wheat starch
- 12 grams cornflour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 300 ml water at room temperature
- 400 ml boiling water
Chai Poh Topping
- 150 grams chopped chai poh (salted turnip)
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- ¼ teaspoon dark soya sauce
- 120 ml vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons sugar
To make the batter, thoroughly whisk rice flour, wheat starch, cornflour, salt, oil and 300 ml water at room temperature. Add 400 ml boiling water. Whisk again. Cook over medium-low heat till just thick enough to coat sides of pot thinly, stirring constantly. Place pot in water-bath. Stir till half-cool.
Bring steamer to a boil. Arrange moulds slightly apart on tray. Fill moulds with batter to 3 mm from edge. Cover and bring steamer back to a boil. Steam 20 minutes over rapidly boiling water. Uncover. Cakes should have some water on top. If there is, steam uncovered till water evaporates, 1-2 minutes. Remove cakes from steamer.
Cakes should be mushy just after steaming. Leave to cool down and set. Resteam just before serving if you prefer hot/warm chwee kueh. If batter is overthickened before steaming, cakes may be set or half-set whilst piping hot.
To make topping, rinse chai poh twice. Drain in sieve, squeezing it to remove excess water. Transfer to mixing bowl. Add garlic and dark soya sauce. Mix thoroughly. Heat wok till hot. Place chai poh mixture in wok. Add enough oil to almost cover mixture, about 120 ml. Fry over medium-high heat till garlic is golden brown. Reduce heat to low. Add sugar and stir till dissolved.
To serve, unmould chwee kueh and top with fried chai poh, along with some oil. Add sambal on the side if you like your chwee kueh spicy.