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Chinese White Honeycomb Cake - Pak Thong Koh Version 3, Yochana's/Y3K

Saturday, May 22, 2010




Seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! Seeee the picture. What do you see? I’ve got double decker honeycombs!!!!!!!

I was so so happy when I cut through the kuih.
Oh please be happy for me.



I didn’t expect this recipe to yield me my dream result, double decker honeycombs as seen from this pic.

I’ve never seen any blogger having double decker honeycombs with any recipe, or is there any out there, let me know. I wonder if it’s due to the yeast or me chilling the batter during the last stage of fermentation, or due to me using wheat starch instead of tapioca starch. I don’t know, I just don’t but I’m darn happy!!!!! Wooohooo!!!!

This recipe is so tasty!!! Really!! It’s bouncy, crunchy, doesn’t stick to teeth at all, almost like a fishball. You get what I mean? But not those super super bouncy fishball ah, regular real fish fishballs. It doesn’t taste grainy like my 2nd version. The sweetness is just nice. Slightly sweeter than my 1st version, but definitely not too sweet. It smells sweet, yeastily sweet, not a tinge of sourness detected.

One thing about this though, I find this to be too thick if steamed on a 10 inch round pan as said in the original recipe. I used a 11 inch round pan and I got a 2 inch high cake (at the center). You can split the batter into two 8 or 9 inch pans to get a thinner cake.

Thank you so much Aunty Yochana for sharing this recipe. Indeed very very good. But needs advanced time planning to do this. But don’t worry, you can use the fridge to manipulate your time, just like I did

See them again........ and I shall talk about the recipe







Starter dough (Tuesday Day 1 : time: 12pm)
100gm cooled, cooked rice
½ Tbsp Chinese Wine Yeast ( 甜酒饼,Ragi, sweet type)
1 tsp sugar
½ Tbsp water
Mix everything together, keep in a covered container (not air tight, best is use those disposable Microwave safe containers that comes with your take-away sweet desserts).
Leave it somewhere dark (Aunty Yochana use the cupboard) to ferment for 48 hours. (I open it once every 12 hours to let it have some fresh air)
After 48 hours, weight out 60gms (balance keep in fridge for the next recipe) and see instructions below.



Kuih Starter dough (Thursday Day 3: Time 12pm)
60gm starter dough
100gm rice flour
Some plain water (Now, only if it’s too dry. Add some just to moisten)

Mix everything together in another container. Leave to ferment for 16-18 hours
Weigh out 80gm of this. (keep balance in fridge for the next recipe)



Friday Day 4 : Time 10am
Ingredients (A):
220 gm. pure rice flour (Cap Teratai, Cap Gajah are blended rice flours, and if you choose to use these 2 brands, omit the starch below and subsitute the amount with more blended rice flour)
30 gm. tapioca starch (I used wheat starch)
280 gm. water

Ingredients (B):
200 gm. castor sugar
400 ml. water
3 blades of pandan leaves (tied into a knot)

Ingredients (C):
80 gm. of the fermented kuih starter dough

Method:
(1) Combine ingredients (A) together in a big mixing bowl. Set aside.
(2) Bring ingredients (B) to a boil, then discard pandan leaves. Pour half portion into no. (1) and mix well. Cool the remaining half portion for about 2 mins. before pouring into the rice flour mixture in the mixing bowl. Mix well, leave mixture to cool.
(3) Add the 80 gm. of fermented kuih starter dough and sieve it. Let it ferment again for about 12 - 14 hours.

Due to sudden thought of going to KL, I shoved the fermenting batter into the fridge after 4 hours to temporary stop the fermentation. But the KL plan was canceled and I took the batter out from the fridge at 8pm to ferment until 2am. Then I put it back into the fridge. Took it out at 12pm the next day to let it come to room temp. Steamed at 2pm. (Total hours at room temp:12 hours)



Saturday, Day 5: 2pm

Ingredients (D):
1/4 tsp. Alkaline water/ lye water or air abu (or dissolve ¼ tsp baking soda in 1 tsp water, and use ¼ tsp of that solution)
1 tsp. cooking oil

(1) Add oil into the fermented mixture (no.3). Add alkaline water and mix well before pouring into a greased 10" round steaming tray. Steam for about 15 - 20 mins over medium heat. Test with a skewer before removing from the steamer.
(2) You can glaze the pak thong koh with some oil whilst still hot and cool well before cutting kuih into pieces. (it's oily enough from that 1 tsp oil added before steaming) BE PATIENT AND WAIT FOR IT TO BE TOTALLY COOL TO TOUCH BEFORE CUTTING, if not the surface will be sticky and kuih will be soft and not crunchy.


I can't wait for it to cool down, so when it's not too hot, I put the whole thing into the freezer for about 10 minutes and it was cool enough to be cut by then.
And see those pretty honeycombs again... see seee....



I suggest you use this timetable, or adjust your own time
Day 1 : 11pm, ferment rice
Day 3: 11pm, make kuih starter dough
Day 4: 1-3pm, prepare final batter
Day 4 :11pm, put batter into the fridge to chill
Day 5: take batter out from fridge 2-3 hours in advance before steaming time(whenever you wish :)

OR

if you are an early riser that needs to work....

Day 1 :7am start rice fermentation (48 hrs)
Day 3: 7am start kuih starter dough fermentation(16 hrs)
Day 3 :7pm start prepare the final batter, needs time to cool down after boiling.
Day 3: 11pm put kuih starter dough into the final batter
Day 4: Wake up and put the whole batter into fridge and chill until you come back from work to steam. (overall calculate 12 hours in room temperature for final batter)

A gist of the fermentation time
1. Starter dough(Rice fermentation) : 48 hours
2. Kuih Starter dough : 16-18 hours
3. Final batter: 12-14 hours
No matter that time you do it, as long as it stays in room temperature for this period , it'll be fine.
Shove it into the fridge anywhere anytime if you are not free or the hours are awkward for you.


Oh yes, one more thing if you want to know what brand of rice flour I’m using all along, I used Erawan brand, imported from Thailand. It has a decorative elephant as its logo. Becareful that there is another rice flour, Cap Gajah., also with an elephant logo, but it’s a plain elephant. So be careful of which brand you’re buying. Cap Gajah is a blended rice flour, means it’s not pure rice flour and it contains added starch as said on it’s packaging. The difference in price? 10sen only. I bought Erawan at RM3.00 and Cap Gajah sells at RM2.90. Cap Teratai is also a blended rice flour.

And see my honeycombs again.......


Now, before you go, remember there are leftover fermented rice and kuih starter dough? What to do with them???? I’ll show you in my next post.

One more... one more pic :) The last one, I promise.


You may go now :)

Update : 6/6/2012:
I made more of this cake again, twice and it wasn't as crunchy as before, nor was it as crunchy as Version 4.
Thinking back, version 3 and 4 were made using the same pack of rice flour that was almost expiring. The Indian grocery store nearby sold my husband a pack of rice flour with only 2 more months to expiry. Rice flours have a long shelf life, due to it's lack of gluten. So, this pack of almost expiring rice flour is definitely more than 2 years old.

Like how noodle makers will prefer using old rice (my friend who owned a noodle factory told me this), so that it will give a less sticky texture, so does this cake. It needs an old old pack of rice flour to give it that crunch. New rice flours will be more sticky and soft.

Think of your rice. If the pack of rice bought is a new harvest, or freshly opened pack... it surely does taste softer, stickier, has less water absorbency qualities than old rice right?
I think I need to stock up my rice flour and keep it for a year before I make another attempt. LOL

178 lovely notes:

My Little Space May 22, 2010 at 11:11 AM  

I'm so drooling over this kuih, you know! The texture looks fantastic. Can't wait to make mine too. I've full supply of my yeasted rice in the fridge. I don't purposely make them. I normally make those with my daily leftover rice. So, pretty easy! Have a wonderful weekend.
Cheers, Kristy
p/s I'm sure you girls will love these!

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... May 22, 2010 at 11:13 AM  

Kristy,
You always make fermented rice?? To make rice wine?

HomeKreation May 22, 2010 at 11:55 AM  

Wendy,
You never give up on this & wow, congrat & am happy for you too. I've been dreaming to make this but time never been on my side & not much time to plan for too. I am not inspired...

Angie's Recipes May 22, 2010 at 12:27 PM  

Looks very pretty. Must try the "酒酿“ some day.

Ayu May 22, 2010 at 12:56 PM  

Hi, Wendy,
Wah!!!WOOOOOOW!!!!..woooo!!..I am spechless!..
you made it at last!!!!..I am so jeolous!!!!...hehe..yours really have that double decker honeycomb!!!...if only you are near, I would like to taste it..hahaha..
Congrats Wendy!!...Now I am confident that it could be mine was over fermented or the ragi that I used was a no good ones, cause I did use the same batch of ragi to make fermented tapiaoca and it turned out to be sour also!!..

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... May 22, 2010 at 1:54 PM  

HomeKreation,
You don't need much time for this. Each day not more than 10 minutes, except for the last day when you need to steam it. YOu can manipulate your time with the fridge.

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... May 22, 2010 at 2:02 PM  

Ayu,
Thanks!!! I was estatic when I saw those combs.
I'm sure you can make this one day!!

Buy another ragi then, if the one you bought was not good. Maybe change to another shop/brand

mNhL May 22, 2010 at 4:05 PM  

Beautiful!

This is the 1st receipe I saw that have a timetable. hehe....

cherry potato May 22, 2010 at 6:35 PM  

很美!!好想吃一块,还有吗?

Simonne May 22, 2010 at 7:54 PM  

oh i didn't know need so much work to do this

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... May 22, 2010 at 10:15 PM  

Cherry Potato,
Haha, this was made many weeks back. If I still have you want one??

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... May 22, 2010 at 10:16 PM  

Simonne,
There are shorter versions, check out version 1 and 2. Only this is so so long and so so much work

Anncoo May 22, 2010 at 11:14 PM  

I never made this before but you have done a good job~ Love the color and really looks perfect.

Swee San May 23, 2010 at 2:38 AM  

Wow, very pretty but 5 days !!!. Where can I get the Chinese Wine Yeast ?

Gertrude May 23, 2010 at 8:49 AM  

Wendy, you did it!!! Your pak thong koh is beautiful especially all the comb. I think I am too lazy to try this out as it takes so many days make this :)I take my hat off to you.

cherry potato May 23, 2010 at 8:56 AM  

LOL....还可以吃吗?哈哈

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... May 23, 2010 at 12:36 PM  

Anncoo,
Thanks. Yeah, it's almost perfect for me.:)

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... May 23, 2010 at 12:40 PM  

Swee San and Gertrude,
It may look like a long long time, 5 days.. but it's also due to me deferring the steaming time by chilling it. If not 4 days and you're done. it's 72 hours, BTW.
Other time, it's just 10 minutes per day to do this, except on the last day. maybe you need 30 minutes for it. Overall, work is less than 1 hour, it's just the waiting time.

Swee San,
You can get the wine yeast at Chinese grocery shops or Herbal Shops.

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... May 23, 2010 at 12:42 PM  

Cherry Potato,
I don't know whether still can eat or not, you have to try out loooo...

Anyway, this is the fastest dissapearing Pak Thong Gou ever in the house. Don't feel jelak eating it at all.

MsMoon May 23, 2010 at 5:00 PM  

This is definitely the most perfect home made pak thong koh I've ever seen. Have always liked this kueh, but never knew that it takes so great patience to make it. Congrats on your success! ^^

Honey Bee Sweets May 23, 2010 at 6:37 PM  

Wow, Wendy, I salute you for taking the trouble to make this from scratch, absolute passion! Indeed your hardwork paid off, very and tall Pak Thong Goh. Lovely!

Kathleen May 23, 2010 at 7:00 PM  

My goodness, I have no idea this kuih would take so long to produce! Talk about detailed processes! You really need to have the 'patience' n 'time' to get this done! Well done by the way, it's a really really beautiful piece of Pak thong Gou I have ever seen. Like u say, usually only one layer is seen... so good job.

By the way, this is my first time visiting your blog and I'm sure to come back again and again for more inspiring recipes! :) Love your Oreo Cheesecake Cuppies. My son's teachers' day celebrating is coming up, was actually thinking of using your recipe for it, but honestly, I have never baked any cupcake before!

Thanks for the recipes by the way.

Kathleen

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... May 23, 2010 at 9:55 PM  

MsMoon,
Thanks!! It just takes some time.
I can wait for a good pak thong koh, good things don't come easy

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... May 23, 2010 at 9:56 PM  

HBS,
Hahaha, next time I'll split the steaming so that I'll get thinner cakes. Tall pak thong koh aren't that pretty actually.

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... May 23, 2010 at 9:58 PM  

Kathleen,
Thanks and look forward for more visits from you
:)

Meldylocks and Her Three Bears May 23, 2010 at 11:45 PM  

Har...here's your best PTK recipe...really so beautiful,i can understand the so-many pictures taken...LOL... :D
My hands are itching to try this...but 4/5 days...? :( (The fridge is not mine alone, my MIL stuffs it with lots of things including: 10 packets of rock sugar,10 or 15 packets of uncooked barley, Tit-Kun-Yiam Tea leaves given by a relative from China---about 5 packets of 500gms....besides the other "normal" things)...anyway, i'll tell u if i try on it. Congratulations and thanks at the same time!

Jane Ko May 24, 2010 at 7:17 AM  

I love rice cake! Thank you for the recipe and congrats on the double deck :)
Participate in my giveaway at http://atasteofkoko.blogspot.com/2010/05/men-can-cook-feat-classic-spaghetti.html

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... May 24, 2010 at 11:38 AM  

Mel,
why put rock sugar into the fridge? Scared of ants ah? I use a real tupperware to put all my sugars and the ants can't crawl in. Barley if packed air tight can withstand long periods of storage. Mine is over a year and not a weevil in sight.

It's not neccessary to use the fridge. But if you can't, you really have to manipulate your time well, calculate it before you even start, so that you don't need to wake up at 4am to do the next step.

pigpigscorner May 25, 2010 at 5:01 AM  

The texture looks amazing!

Cheryl May 28, 2010 at 8:54 AM  

I never knew so much hard work goes into this. This seems really difficult, but I will bookmark this recipe for future experiments. Thanks for sharing!

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... May 28, 2010 at 11:38 AM  

Cheryl,
It's not difficult. It only has a long waiting time. Other than that, it's pretty easy. Seriously.

CH Voon May 29, 2010 at 8:22 PM  

Wendy ar... only few days i take leave, you prepare a loot food.

if i am househusband, i can cook what u post! but i cannot.

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... May 30, 2010 at 11:28 AM  

Voon,
You took leave for 5 days, I thought u will be free at home?

Anonymous,  June 2, 2010 at 8:39 PM  

Hi Wendy,

I try your recipe this week-end, it's was fabulous but I feel is in the dry side (little hard texture not to spongy). Any advices? What brand of wheat starch did u use? I use Man Sang FTY. wheat starch brand.
I hope I get you Pak Tong Koh this week-end, LOL

Kim

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... June 2, 2010 at 11:09 PM  

Kim,
There are a lot of brands for wheat starch. Some don't even come with brand if you buy from sundry/grocery shops. I'm not brand particular with wheat starch.

"Hard... not spongy." Actually I don't really get that. A good pak thong koh should be very firm and bouncy. It is not soft like a sponge cake. A good PTK should have a slight crunch like fishball.

Anonymous,  June 9, 2010 at 2:32 AM  

Thank you for your detail instructions. I will try and let you know.

Thanks again

Anonymous,  June 10, 2010 at 10:14 PM  

Yes, I'm happy for u too. I can understand the state of euphoria u r in as this is how I would feel too if mine was like yours. I just made one too but was not too pleased as it is a little sourish {maybe because I omitted the alkaline water) Maybe because of this too, the kueh is not tangy enough and it somehow sticks to the teeth in a mass when chomped. I also used the same recipe as yours (found in Kuih Muih).

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... June 10, 2010 at 10:57 PM  

Anonymous,
May I know whether you ate the kuih when it was still hot or after it has totally cooled down?
It is sticky when hot.

I'm in a daze, you said it's sourish, but not tangy enough??? Isn't tangy the same as sourish??

There is another reader complaining of the kuih being sour, I wonder if the place left to ferment is too warm (yeasts gets active when it's really warm), and it overfermented. The place I leave to ferment my rice is about 27C at night and 31C in the day.

I am posting another version using wine yeast on Saturday, fermented in only 36 hours. Maybe you'd like that give that a try and the texture is just slightly inferior than this, but in a much shorter time.

kk June 29, 2010 at 4:22 PM  

ooh!! i really want to make this!! I have never heard of Chinese wine yeast. I will have to see if I can find it in Chinatown. great job!! looks wonderful. =)

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... June 29, 2010 at 6:49 PM  

KK,
The wine yeast is used to make rice wine, and of course as a leavening for traditional cakes.
Try a Chinese grocer or Chinese Herbal store. These two places usually will sell this.
If you don't know how to tell them, print out the pic of the yeast, and show them.

Anonymous,  July 3, 2010 at 8:32 AM  

Wendy Wendy Wendy,

Your blog is a real fun and joyous. Sharing your sucess secret is a proof of your selflessness. Wish you in excellent health so that your readers and I can enjoy more of your wonderful posting.

Enjoying every moment here.

A retired man who loves cooking and eating.

plllisa,  July 9, 2010 at 2:34 PM  

i'm in love with you + yer blog...hehehe. my mom love pak thong koh so much, so i told her i'll make one for her using yer recipe. so far down to day 4 and am ready to start preparing the final batter. i told her that she'll be able to eat after day 5 and her jaw dropped.

well according to my timing, i'll be able to steam around 6am tomorrow, again *jaw drop*...ah my love for y mom undying and willing to wake up early just to steam this lovely kuih. she has me refraning herself from buying this kuih from the pasar just to wait for mine...i'm touch!

i wanna thank you for the detail how-to...i 'll be back to tell you the outcome <3
oh before i forgot, what shall i do with the remaining starter?

ps: i have tried yer recipes for pumpkin pau, strawberry yoghurt cake, swiss meringue buttercream...all were success and really thank you! :>

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... July 9, 2010 at 9:25 PM  

plllisa,

thank you for trying out so many of my recipes and I am really glad they worked out for you and you loved them.

For the Pak thong koh, u can actually manipulate the time, tonight you can put the batter into the fridge for a few hours, then before you sleep, take it out again, so that you have postponed it for a few hours. No need to wake up at 6am.

You can find the recipe that I used to use up the starters 2 post after this. Just look at history and find apam beras. It's just 2 post away.

plllisa,  July 10, 2010 at 12:37 PM  

it's me that i must thank you so much for all the lovely illustrations and detail how-tos.

well i did wake up at 5:30am and steam it at 5:45am. it's so worth it cause it turn out lovely then i served it around 9:30am right after my mom came home from her workout. she tried it and she love it...oh the joy! not too sweet and just the right texture. half of it gone now and plan to make another one.

ooh yes i did check out the apam beras and i plan to make it too once i buy a proper steamer. this is so exciting <3<3<3

thanks wendy, looking forward to yer posts!

Lisa :>

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... July 10, 2010 at 5:05 PM  

Lisa,
I'm so glad it worked for you!!!!
May I know whether you used cornstarch or wheat starch? How was the honeycombs? One layer or 2?

plllisa,  July 12, 2010 at 4:29 PM  

Wendy,

i used tapioca starch. the sweetness is just right and the texture is really soft and to the bite and not dry at all. i seriously love the smell.

no i didn't get the nice double decked like yours, mine 1 1/2 more like it. no crack either. next time i'm gonna shrink the pan size. i'm still obsess in making it till i get the double layer.

oh yes, i was wondering if you are interested in macarons...?

Lisa ;>
i was wondering, how time consumed it is for it to proof but took just 15 mins to steam it. the whole process is really ironic to me.

sorry to reply you back, been watching the world cup final and busy analyzing whether 'paul the octopus' or parakeet gonna make the cut. hehehe!

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... July 12, 2010 at 5:58 PM  

Lisa,
Bread takes hours to ferment, minutes to cook and to eat up.
Wine takes years to age, but seconds to drink.

Anything that requires fermentation will definately take a long time.

Try wheat starch if you want double deckers. It's called "tung mein" in cantonese, those used to make har kow skin.

plllisa,  July 13, 2010 at 12:01 PM  

Wendy,

i like what you said, bread and wine...staple to us and even way back to our ancestors!

reminds me of when i clean the bird's nest from the scratch. for 4 pieces, it took me close to half a day to get it nice and clean...not to mention cooking it and took another 2 hours. guess what, it my took dad beyond 1 min to wallop the one full bowl...i was fuming! i spent whole nite picking the dirt and it was in his stomach beyond 1 min. i rest my case and hands up...:(

ah so i should use wheat starch. i was hesistating on that day to use it or not cause i have a packet of unopened one and planning to make 'har gow'. yup yup i should listen to you...thanks for the advise!

wendyywy @ Table for 2 or more..... July 13, 2010 at 8:24 PM  

Lisa,
Wow, you clean your own bird's best?
Yeah, about your question regarding macarons, hmmm.. not that interested at the moment.

Ping,  July 28, 2010 at 6:03 PM  

Wow, awesome tutorial.

Anonymous,  August 13, 2010 at 9:20 PM  

Hi that looks so good. I'm really motivated to make it. But does this really require pandan leaves? If so, what does it do? Thanks! ~Kim

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more August 13, 2010 at 11:02 PM  

Kim,
South East Asian cooking always uses pandan to flavour or add fragrance to desserts, just like vanilla.
You can omit the pandan here,no prob.

Anonymous,  August 17, 2010 at 9:31 PM  

Hi, I was wondering during the fermenting process did the rice smell bad and just before you steamed the mixture was the mixture watery or thick? Thanks!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more August 17, 2010 at 11:34 PM  

Anonymous,
If the fermentation was done properly, it smells yeastily sweet. But if overfermented, it smells sour. It won't smell very yucky.
The final mixture is watery, easily passes through the sieve.

Anonymous,  September 3, 2010 at 5:31 AM  

hi, WENDY
Can I use the coconut milk instead of the water?
My family likes the coconut milk. Thanks and wait for your reply

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more September 3, 2010 at 11:44 AM  

Anonymous,
I'm sorry but I've never made this with coconut milk, but I've ate them before.
Maybe you can try to use half the water in Day 4's Ingredient B's water content, then just before you want to steam it, put in 200ml coconut milk, and omit the oil.

skooidi September 9, 2010 at 7:38 PM  

Hi Wendy,

Am trying this recipe now and hoping that it'll work out fine. Thanks for sharing your process and pictures!

With the last fermentation before steaming, does the mixture separate at all? I find that there is a layer of clear liquid above the white(guessing that's the sugar syrup).

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more September 12, 2010 at 11:17 AM  

skoodi,
The final mixture will separate after fermentation, as raw rice flour will not be homogenous with water, but will separate with time.
When you add the oil and lye water, you will stir it, so the whole thing will look homogenous again.

Xiaolu January 22, 2011 at 3:50 AM  

Hi Wendy! I am currently making my own Chinese sweet rice wine that calls for 4-5 days of fermentation instead of 2 days but also a lower yeast to rice ratio to begin with. Do you think I could still substitute this instead of the starter since they have the same ingredients and similar processes? Thanks!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more January 22, 2011 at 10:02 AM  

xiaolu,
I'm sorry, but I don't know if it can be used. But you can try. Does the 4 day stuff look like what is in my 1st pic of 2nd cluster?

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets January 28, 2011 at 5:29 AM  

I'm happy to report back that using the rice wine (mi jiu) worked great! I simply weight out the same amount as indicated and used in place of the starter dough. My rise times for each following step were maybe slightly longer than you indicate, but that is probably due to my apartment being pretty cool right now in the winter. Lastly, I didn't get doubledecker results, but maybe 1 1/3 haha. And this is by far the most delicious and tender out of the 4 recipe I've tried for this cake. Thanks so much for the awesome instructions/photos!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more January 28, 2011 at 9:17 AM  

xiaolu,
Wow, you tried all 4 versions?
Glad to hear your feedback on this.
Thank you.

Anonymous,  February 17, 2011 at 9:33 PM  

Hello there, I'm so happy to stumble upon this recipe...
I've always wanted to be able to make bak tong go.
I tried this recipe ----> fail :(

I had to much rice flour and it was very dense.

The problem is, I don't know how to use your measurements, like grams and stuff. Here in the US we use cups, which I'm sure you know.
I tried to use a converter and it was hard to measure 1.167 cups and other stuff like .5284 cups, if you know what I mean.

Any suggestions? I really want to make this!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more February 17, 2011 at 11:24 PM  

Anonymous,
Very frankly, I do not know how to convert this recipe into cups as the ingredients come in all sort of forms, dough, fermented rice and so on.
If is best to get a weighing scale, as flour measurements are always vague with cups. If one is doing American cakes, I'm sure cups won't be a problem, but if you tend to do Asian soft cakes, cups will 100% give you a lot of problems in measuring, as Asian bakes will not even tolerate 1 Tbsp extra of flour.

Anonymous,  March 19, 2011 at 5:43 AM  

Is Alkaline water/ lye water safe to use? And if i don't want to use the alkaline water in this recipe, is there anything i can substitute the alkaline water? Hope to hear you soon.
Thanks in advanced.

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more March 21, 2011 at 8:37 AM  

Anonymous,
I know that lye is not safe for consumption if you drink it on its own, undiluted by the cupfuls. It is corrosive due to its strong PH. Anything with a very high or low PH will be corrosive, but once u dilute it, the effect is no longer there. So if you use it only like 1/4 tsp in one big piece of cake, I don't see how harmful that can be. If you don't use the alkaline water in this recipe, then your pak tong koh will be sourish. You can try adding in some baking soda (as stated in the recipe itself), but I haven't try that myself.

Sally Tan,  May 20, 2011 at 8:54 AM  

Hi....
I tried making this recipe but I don't think it works as well as yours. the texture in the middle of the cake is sticky although the outside is ok.
I steamed the cake for more than 20 min because when i tested with skewer, it still comes out very sticky at 20 min...
I didn't have double decker combs like yours as well....
And my kuih starter dough isn't as homogenous as yours, it is more clumpy and dry. Did you add water?
Could it be because I didn't stir my fermented rice?

Thanks so much!! your step by step pic here is greattt

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more May 20, 2011 at 10:52 AM  

Sally,
Yes, I added some water, so that a dough can be formed. In the recipe it is stated so. I formed it until it feels like raw "tang yuan" dough, maybe a bit harder than that.

May I check with u the brand of rice flour u used?

sally tan,  May 22, 2011 at 3:22 PM  

Hi wendy,
i used indonesian brand of rice flour. Its stated there 100% pure rice flour though. . .

I will try to add water next time to the starter dough then. . .

Thanks for your response!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more May 23, 2011 at 5:19 PM  

Sally Tan,
Oh, sometimes different brands of rice uses different strains of rice, of which yields different amount of rice starch. Maybe that explains the difference.

Anonymous,  May 23, 2011 at 11:02 PM  

Hi, do you use white rice or sweet sticky rice to make the starter dough? Thanks! Alena

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more May 24, 2011 at 12:48 AM  

Alena,
Whenever you see the word rice on my blog, it's the usual white rice.
I will state it's other types of rice, like basmathi, short grain or glutinous rice if it's otherwise. Don't worry

Anonymous,  May 24, 2011 at 4:14 AM  

Thank you Wendy. I have started the fermentation process but used glutinous rice. oops.. I just assumed it was sweet rice since that's what is also used to make rice wine. I'm going to go ahead and use this and then do another fermented batch using regular white rice and see if there is any difference. Thank you for replying back so promptly.

Xiaolu May 24, 2011 at 9:48 AM  

Just so you know, I have used sticky rice for the first step and it worked out great.

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more May 24, 2011 at 9:51 AM  

Alena,
There should not be any difference for stage 1, but I'm very sure there will be a difference with the final product. Glutinous rice is sticky and contains more starch than regular rice. Hope to hear of the outcome

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more May 24, 2011 at 11:42 AM  

Xiaolu,
thanks for the feedback and it's great to know that.

GirlieAnnYen,  May 29, 2011 at 2:41 AM  

Hi Wendy, I love ur blog! nd I love the pak tong kou that u made! I cant find the Chinese Wine Yeast.. Can I substitute it with something else?
Thank you!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more May 29, 2011 at 10:35 AM  

Girlie AnnYen,
I'm sorry that you can't subtitute this with anything else.
Regular yeast might be of a different strain and may not give u the same results.
Plus regular yeasts proves too fast and it's the slow motion proofing of the wine yeast that makes this cake so good.

iceamericanos June 25, 2011 at 12:18 AM  

Hey Wendy.. Was wondering whether its a must to cover the wok with a piece of wet cloth to prevent too much steam escaping?

I have another 8 hours to go before steaming!

Can't wait!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more June 26, 2011 at 1:10 AM  

iceamericanos,
If your steamer's lid is tight enough, you can skip the cloth.

girlieannyen July 1, 2011 at 2:34 PM  

Hi wendy! I hv a quick question.. the starter dough is it supposed to smell sourish?? Thank you!!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more July 1, 2011 at 2:42 PM  

girlieannye,
My starter doughs have never been sourish.
Always sweet smelling.

iceamericanos July 3, 2011 at 12:24 AM  

Ok thx. And when i test with skewer, its still sticky after 30 minutes of steaming. I steam for a further 10 minutes and the kuih its still very soft. Any tips or advice?

How do u cut the kuih? Do u oil ur knife first?

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more July 3, 2011 at 10:42 AM  

iceamericanos,
It is soft when hot. It'll only firm up when it has totally cooled. TOTALLY.
Soft doesn't mean it's still in liquid form, it is soft but when tested with inserted knife or skewer, no batter should be sticking to it and it's clean. It is cooked and can be removed for cooling down.

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more July 3, 2011 at 10:43 AM  

iceamericanos,
no need to oil knife. A cooled cake cuts up cleanly.

Anonymous,  July 6, 2011 at 11:58 PM  

I am trying to make this.. now in the kuih starter dough stage. but i added slightly too much water.. so its not in the tang yuan dough form.. will this effect the fermentation?? this is my 2nd time trying to make it.. as the first time the starter dough went sour.. :(

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more July 7, 2011 at 9:47 AM  

Anonymous,
Try keeping it in a slightly cooler place or cut short 12 hours of fermentation. Just look at the rice every 8 hours, if you see liquid at the bottom(about half the height of the rice), but still smelling yeastily sweet, go ahead and do the dough.
The fermentation might have overshot and the wine has turned to vinegar, which was why your earlier attempt turned sourish. It may be due to the different type of yeast strain in the yeast cake.
Hope all things go well this time.

Aimei August 26, 2011 at 9:25 PM  

Oh Wendy! I don't know if I'll ever mdke it cos it splits into so many days. But can I just check, what is the Chinese term for the Chinese wine yeast?

Anonymous,  September 5, 2011 at 3:08 PM  

Hi Wendy, I tried yr "Pak Thong Koh" last sunday, it turned out to be crumpled on the top, and it is quite dense. I only get the honeycomb on the bottom but not on the top. Please advice. Tks. Like your blog so much.

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more September 5, 2011 at 3:19 PM  

Anonymous,
Did you use tapioca starch or wheat starch?
If you used tapioca starch it'll be single layer.
Dense? It's not supposed to be fluffy anyway.
Crumpled? Is your steaming vessel made of stainless steel? Mine is not all smooth on top, you can see from pic no.6. Still got a bit of uneveness. and the center is slightly domed.

Anonymous,  September 5, 2011 at 4:38 PM  

Hi Wendy, I used tapioca starch "Flying man" brand. my steaming tray is not stainless steel, something like yours, which type of wheat starch do u use? my upper layer is juz like kueh kueh, my hubby said that it didn't rise properly!! haha... If I've any problem of my baking, can i contact you. Thank you very much.

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more September 5, 2011 at 5:20 PM  

Anonymous,
What size of pan did you use then?
Any brand of tapioca starch won't matter as my tapioca starch don't even come with a brand.
I used wheat starch and any wheat starch will do, no brand specific. Wheat starch will give you the double layer effect.
You can always leave me a comment in the related post and I will answer you. I check comments many times a day compared to email which once every few days

Anonymous,  September 5, 2011 at 5:54 PM  

Hi Wendy, my pan is 10", yeah, i didn't use Alkaline water, I sub with baking soda Which you mentioned in yr post, mmm... shall try again yeah!!
As for teochew spiral mooncake, may i use hongkong flour for both water dough n oil dough? will it be crispy? Actually i like the Poeny Jade yam mooncake texture, do u have that recipe? Mind to share it. Tks. yeah!! I am Irene

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more September 5, 2011 at 7:19 PM  

Irene,
If you're using baking soda, then add in the baking soda solution half an hour before steaming. The acid from the fermentation will react with the baking soda first so that it won't create bumpiness on your "gou".

BTW I have no idea what is the type of mooncake you mentioned. Different manufacturers will give different names to their mooncakes. But then again, I don't think you will find any mooncake recipes here as I don't eat mooncakes.

Anonymous,  October 13, 2011 at 3:15 AM  

Hi Wendy, for the last step, can I ferment it for 12 hours, then steam it after that? Or i have to put in the fridge and take it out? Thanks.

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more October 13, 2011 at 8:14 AM  

Anonymous,
Sure you can. That's the original way
Putting it into my fridge was my way of manipulating the fermenting time.

Charenn29 October 26, 2011 at 2:00 AM  

thanks for sharing this recipe. :)

Anonymous,  November 22, 2011 at 1:19 PM  

Hi Wendy,
Did 1st fermentation at 10pm yesterday (Day 1) but 1 hr earlier. Try follow your schedule:

Day 1 : 11pm, ferment rice - @ 10pm
Day 3: 11pm, make kuih starter dough - should be 23/Nov @ 10 pm
Day 4: 1-3pm, prepare final batter (tough to plan as conflicted my office hour)
Day 4 :11pm, put batter into the fridge to chill (Need to chill?
Day 5: take batter out from fridge 2-3 hours in advance before steaming time

Why do we need to put in the fridge?

Thanks........ JJ

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more November 22, 2011 at 2:24 PM  

JJ,
the fridge is used to manipulate the fermentation time.
It pauses the yeast's activity.
Overfermenting is not a good idea so, when you create a cold environment for the yeast, the yeast stops growing or maybe slows down a lot a lot.
If you cannot prepare the final batter in the afternoon, I suggest you start everything earlier, say about 7pm, then on day 4, you put the kuih starter dough into the fridge(to pause its fermentation) when you go to work in the morning. Come back from work, then you prepare the final batter. Let it ferment overnight in ur kitchen then steam it when you wake up. As long as you keep the total amount of hours in room temperature accordingly, it'll be fine.

the fridge is your good friend here :)

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more November 22, 2011 at 2:36 PM  

JJ,
but then again since you have already started, I suggest you can chill the kuih starter dough on day 4 before you go to work, but, take it out when you reach home. Let the container sit in a bowl of slightly warm water to quickly come to room temp (too hot will kill the yeast) then continue fermentation.

Next time if you're working, I suggest you this

Day 1 :7am start rice fermentation (48 hrs)
Day 3: 7am start kuih starter dough fermentation(16 hrs)
Day 3 :7pm start prepare the final batter, needs time to cool down after boiling.
Day 3: 11pm put kuih starter dough into the final batter
Day 4: Wake up and put the whole batter into fridge and chill until you come back from work to steam. (overall calculate 12 hours in room temperature for final batter)

Anonymous,  November 23, 2011 at 12:11 PM  

Wendy, Thanks for your prompt respond. I stored the yeast in the cupboard, when i checkd it out yesterday, turn slightly orangy color. Not sure if it turn bad.
Will follow the new schedule for next round.

TQ.... JJ

Anonymous,  November 25, 2011 at 8:03 AM  

Hi Wendy,

You've mentioned that at the end of 48hrs of fermentation, we will see some liquid. What if mine doesn't have liquid? Also, what brand of ragi did you use?

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more November 25, 2011 at 11:07 AM  

Anonymous,
The liquid is rice wine, the result of fermentation.
If yours don't have liquid, let it ferment longer.
No brand. I don't think ragi have brand, does it? I just bought some unnamed sweet wine yeast from the Chinese herbal shop.

Anonymous,  November 25, 2011 at 12:40 PM  

Thanks Wendy! Appreciate that you replied promptly. How long further should I let it ferment? By the way, your blog is really good! Thumbs up!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more November 25, 2011 at 12:58 PM  

Anonymous,
Until u see the wine like mine and when you stir, the rice can turn to mush.
Since the timing is a bit off for you, the rest of the fermentation I cannot guide you anymore since I have no idea how your yeast works.
Are you from tropical climate? Is the place you kept your fermenting rice warm around 27-31C?

Anonymous,  November 25, 2011 at 9:24 PM  

Wendy, I've just completed the first stage of fermentation. I didn't see much wine like yours. However,when I stir, the rice did turn soft and mushy. So, I just continued with the next step. I believe the place I kept my fermenting rice is not above 31C but might be below 27C as these few days, the weather has been abit cool.

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more November 26, 2011 at 12:35 AM  

Anonymous,
icic, then should be fine. Yeah, it's cooler lately, my breads takes slightly longer to proof

Anonymous,  November 26, 2011 at 9:44 AM  

Hi Wendy, I would like to confirm with you that 280gm water in Step 3 is the same as 280ml?

2. After boiling ingredients B, I need to pour 1/2 of the boiling mixture immediately into ingredients A?

I hope that things will turn out well. I shall let you know the result :) Thanks heaps!

Anonymous,  November 26, 2011 at 10:45 AM  

Wendy, Sorry to trouble you again.
With the last stage of fermentation, did you leave it ferment in a bowl or plastic container?

2. Before steaming, you suggested that we could you use baking soda solution instead of alkaline water. So if were to use baking soda solution, after adding it to the mixture, do I steam it straightaway(after stirring) or should I leave it for a while (for few minutes at room temperature), then stir before I steam?

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more November 26, 2011 at 11:20 AM  

Anonymous,
1. Water has always been 1ml=1g.

2. Yes immediately so that it will very slightly cook the mixture. Leave the syrup for a while then pour in later.

3. I fermented it in a bowl(covered). It won't bubble up much unlike yeasted bakes like bread.

4. Best is mix the baking soda with boiling water, it will fizzle. Then only you mix it into the batter. You only need the alkaline factor to neutralze the acids from fermentation, and the only leavening you will need is from the yeast.

Anonymous,  November 28, 2011 at 2:27 PM  

Hi Wendy,

I've successfully made two pak thong koh yesterday! Thanks for your step-by-step illustrations and your advice. They tasted very delicious. I've made two (one with tapioca starch, and the other wheat starch). However, I didn't get the double decker honeycombs. I'm satisfied anyway. If I did get a double decker honeycomb,that would be a bonus..haha..anyway, I've some leftover kuih started dough left in the fridge since Saturday and would love to make another batch of pak thong koh. How long would it last in the fridge?

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more November 28, 2011 at 11:16 PM  

Anonymous,
3 days, or you can make the "Fatt koh"/apam beras eno, recipe link below the post.

Anonymous,  February 1, 2012 at 6:49 PM  

Hi,

Just wonder if I've added alkaline water/baking soda solution & cooking oil to the batter, do I need to put into the steamer straightaway? The reason I'm asking is because I'm planning to split the batter into 2 tins to steam, but I've got only one steamer. So, do I need to put the other batter into the fridge?

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more February 1, 2012 at 10:28 PM  

Anonymous,
If you're steaming the next after the other, there's no need to chill it.
If you're using baking soda it'll be even better to leave it for half an hour before steaming.

Anonymous,  February 11, 2012 at 6:04 PM  

Do you think it's going to be a very thin cake if I use one 8 inch square and one 9 inch round tin? Thanks!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more February 12, 2012 at 11:53 AM  

Anonymous,
this cake is supposed to be served thin, less than 1 inch thick. That's how it's being sold here.

Anonymous,  March 10, 2012 at 7:00 AM  

Hi there, I'm just curious. How many times have you made this version? Did you get double decker honeycombs each time?

While I agree that this is a great recipe, I've made it countless times but I can never get the double decker combs. Sometimes the bottom half of my bak tong go will have great honeycombs and the top will end up still soft and fluffy but with less honeycombs. I use a bamboo steamer and steam on med-high.

Any suggestions?

Thank you!!

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more March 10, 2012 at 11:24 AM  

Anonymous,
Yes, I use wheat starch each time and double decker honeycombs each time. I've made this 3 times before.

Anonymous,  March 15, 2012 at 10:41 PM  

Thank you for your help! I just bought some wheat starch and I can't wait to try it! I had to go to 9 different asian grocery stores to find it!
Two last questions, smewhat confused about the part where you boil the water and add sugar. If you boil 400ml of water, it won't be 400ml of water after boiling because of evaporation. So, I guess my real question is, after boiling should it equal out to 400ml of water plus 200gm sugar?

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more March 16, 2012 at 5:17 PM  

Anonymous,
It's ok if the water becomes 395 or 390ml in the end after boiling. The instruction was, boil then 400ml, with the sugar just until it boils, you're not going to boil it for long, so it won't evaporate much. You can cover the pot with a lid if you're worried about the minor evaporation.

Anonymous,  April 25, 2012 at 6:24 PM  

Wow! Wendy, you did an amazing job! And you are just too sweet and generous giving all sorts of tips so that others can achieve the same success you did. I have been looking all over for the recipe for the double decker pak thong koh ever since I saw photos of street vendors in Vietnam selling them (called "bánh bò"), and I wasn't even sure if they were actually double deckers or if I was seeing things or perhaps two honeycombed bottoms were just stuck together with the bubbly part removed. Now I know such double decker honeycombs do exist! :) Thank you!

Chau

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more April 26, 2012 at 12:30 AM  

Chau,
Oh yes, they do exists, LOL.
Try it with wheat starch.

Anonymous,  April 30, 2012 at 4:00 PM  

Hi Wendy,now I'm in the last part already that is fermented for 12 hrs. I started it at this morning at6am. just now i opened and looked. The mixture separated. is it like that?

Jean Ho

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more April 30, 2012 at 4:03 PM  

Jean Ho,
the rice flour settled to the bottom only.
It's like that.
You will need to stir in the oil and alkaline water and it'll be fine ;)

Jas May 9, 2012 at 3:02 PM  

Hi Wendy, why mine first step 48 hrs is dry don't have any liquid do u think is the sweet ragi yeast I use is not that good or maybe need to more time for fer because here is good. Pls advise

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more May 9, 2012 at 3:12 PM  

Jas,
Was it kept at room temperature to ferment?
Was the rice hot when you added the yeast?

After 48 hours, if the yeast is alive, it should have some liquid, because the yeast convert the starch of the rice to wine.

Jas May 9, 2012 at 3:24 PM  

Hi Wendy, yes is room temp but I think not that warm because here is UK and the rice is cold. Do u think I need to keep more longer then 48 hrs or add some water in. Pls advise

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more May 9, 2012 at 3:37 PM  

Jas,
No, don't add water in, you'll be lying to urself visually to see the water there, it's not wine.
Oh I think then you will need more time since u're in UK. Do have anywhere warm to place it? Near the fridge? or some electrical appliance that is on most of the time?

Jas May 9, 2012 at 3:42 PM  

Thank Wendy then I will try another 12 hrs see wht happen and I already put near the boiler I think is the warmer place.

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more May 9, 2012 at 3:55 PM  

Jas,
You probably might need another 24 hours.
U must see the wine forming, if not, it won't work.

serena,  June 6, 2012 at 1:49 AM  

Hi Wendy,

your kuih looks so awesome that I had to try a batch of my own (also, I want try to bake half of it).

I'm living in Germany (where it's also not that warm at the moment) and I just got past the first 48hrs. As Jas, my rice didn't produce any water, but it smelled slighty sweet.
Still, I threw it away because it got moldy! >_< The top of the rice looked like a spider made it's home there... very disgusting.

Did that ever happen to you? I used a very clean plastic dish and freshly cooked, but cooled rice. I tried another batch, but I'm afraid it will get moldy again. Do you have any suggestions?

Greets,
serena.

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more June 6, 2012 at 2:18 AM  

serena,
It's white and fuzzy, pretty thick (but loose) fuzz right?
It's ok actually.
I had that with my 4th version.
Actually, fermented tofu had this fuzzy thing on it before bottling too. Which is why it had this skin on it, that skin is this fuzzy thing all drenched up.

serena,  June 6, 2012 at 4:43 PM  

hi wendy,

thanks for the fast answer!

yes it was very fuzzy and loose mold, but not thick. the batch i started yesterday also started to get moldy already. it seems the mold likes to start around bigger clumps of the yeast.
i tried snapping a few pictures of it, but my lens can't focus well that near. so the images are a little unclear. also, since i started less than 24hrs ago, there is not that much mold yet.
i uploaded the images here and here here.
the yellowish spot is a bigger yeast clump the white fuzzyness around the mold.
i will keep an eye on the rice+mold for another 12-24hrs, but i feel really uncomfortable growing mold at home.

i read on a different blog about making rice wine that the writer gave the yeast a kick start by letting it soak in water first (she also said any mold is bad, so i'm a little confused). maybe i'll try this afterwards, if the mold creeps me out too much... ^^°

is there any way to just buy rice wine in the store and then make the cake?

i don't know about the fuzzy mold/skin on fermented tofu, since ours never seemed to have any.

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more June 6, 2012 at 7:01 PM  

Serena,
That yellow clump of yeast is the yeast when hydrated.
The fuzzy mould I saw on my 4th version looks like candy floss, but not as thick.. much looser. Like this http://eatingasia.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c509553ef0120a8462744970b-800wi
This is the type of mould that is grown to ferment tofu.
If it's black mould that I totally would throw it away.

serena,  June 6, 2012 at 8:49 PM  

yes! my mold looks exactly the same - just not that developed yet. my first batch was completely white, too, i nearly missed it.
if you think it's safe to keep, i will try then and continue the fermentation.

thank you very much for your suggestions :)
i'll keep you posted on how the experiment went.

Serena,  June 9, 2012 at 9:06 PM  

Hey Wendy,

I finished the honeycomb cake this morning and left it to cool down while I was shopping.

The second batch of the rice wine didn't get any more mold than on the pictures I already send you, but it produced quite a lot of rice wine (after an additional ~6-8hr fermentation time).
The rest of the process went well (I think), it looked as on your pictures.

I think I made a mistake in the final fermentation process though. Instead of pandan leaves (we didn't have any at home and I was lazy to go shopping for it) I used coconut milk. I cooked it up with the sugar and then left it to ferment for approx. 12hrs (over night and a little more).
When I woke up the next morning it had a weird smell. I can't really describe it cause I've never smelled anything like it. It's not really sour, but not sweet either. A little heavy.
It was very recognizeable for me, but my mom barely noticed it (even with my urging to smell it).
So I steamed half and baked half anyway.

I'm very happy with how the cakes look (photo). They are still by far not as perfect as yours, but the bottom half still has the honeycomb effect, while the top half looks more like a sponge cake. The texture feels very nice. Springy, not too soft nor too hard. I'm very happy in this regard.

But the taste!! Ew! It's very sour ಠ_ಠ Maybe the coconut milk went bad over night. Or I over fermented in the stage before. But the "weird smell" wasn't there until the final fermentation part - and it's still there after steaming/baking (the cakes actually don't taste much different). You can taste "the weird part", too.

I still have some kuih fermented starter dough left in the fridge. Maybe I'll try to steam/bake it without any coconut milk to see if it really was the over-fermentation in the last step if I find any motivation later.

Still, thank you very much for the detailed recipe and your fast responses. I think I still need to figure out how to adapt everything to my environment though. The temperature here is around 20°C, so I tried the second last and last fermenting in a thermos cooker, when the batter was still slightly warm to delay the cooling down (or keep it warm for a longer time). Maybe this was the mistake.

Serena

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more June 9, 2012 at 9:25 PM  

Serena,
It's the coconut milk, don't use that.
It actually smells rancid, right?
I didn't use pandan leaves too, as previously I don't have a plant, and it's hard to buy it here, most ppl plant it at home, rarely seen sold.
Sometimes the rice flour available there may not be the same as those here. As u know different soils yield different results. Same goes to different breed of rice. I think you can't find the Erawan brand there, right? Thai Rice flour.

Serena,  June 10, 2012 at 12:25 AM  

Now that you said it, I think I really could describe it as "rancid". My mom still thinks it's edible, but I think she just wants to console me (lol)

I used the rest of my fermented starter (130g) to ferment another batch. (I actually licked the dough to see if it's sour, but it's actually sweet. So nothing went wrong there.)
Absolutely no coconut this time. But I still just couldn't leave it as it is, so I mixed in vanilla sugar and matcha.

I don't think we can grow pandan leaves here (too cold, too dry), but it's usually on stock at our local Asian grocery for not much money.

Also, it seems my rice flour is from Thailand, but it's not Erawan. There's a red cock on it, and even though it's imported from Thailand it looks like a Chinese product.

Hoping the last batch will succeed (in taste and looks) this time. Otherwise I don't think I will try again for at least a month or two... ^^°

Thanks again :)
Serena

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more June 10, 2012 at 3:10 PM  

Serena,
Actually there is another version that ferments the coconut as well. Your mom could've eaten that before, and yes, that version smells rancid, to me.
It's actually still tasty without pandan as China don't have pandan. It smells nicely sweet of rice.
One drop of vanilla will suffice to replace the pandan, if u want it.

Serena,  June 10, 2012 at 9:21 PM  

Yay! It worked great without the coconut milk :D
The cake looks actually the same as the sour coconut version: no double layer, but one beautiful bottom honeycomb. That might be because of my rice flour or the lack of wheat starch (didn't have enough in the house :P). But the texture was still very nice. We liked it.

Neither the vanilla nor the matcha were clearly tasteable in the cake. But the tea gave the cake a nice green color and a faint grassy taste (kinda like fake pandan, haha).

Next time, when it's a little warmer here, I will try coconut milk again, but mix it in at the end. Can't give that up yet :D

I appreciated your help with the cake a lot, thank you :)
Serena

Dani Ho June 14, 2012 at 8:12 PM  

Hi Wendy ! Im a new follower on your blog!
only one word for your blog! Awesome!
I tried this recipe last week ~ I love it ~ i tried both versions ~ tropica starch and wheat starch! Both the textures and tastes were great ! Really brings back childhood memories! Supprisingly , it was on the tropica that I got the "double honeycomb"I have start to create my own baking journal blog~Please drop by when u have a chance ~ x

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more June 14, 2012 at 9:37 PM  

Dani,
thanks for the feedback.
U have a nice blog, it's in Chinese right.
Sorry, I can't read much.

Dani Ho June 17, 2012 at 8:00 PM  

Hi Wendy~ My blog is in english :))
Im gonna try ur Topo map love cake next ! XDD

Anonymous,  July 2, 2012 at 5:21 PM  

what is the pandan leaves used for?

Could I omit the use of pandan leaves?

I live in Vancouver, BC Canada. We have a great multicultural community. I could get fresh pandan leaves from the local Vietnamese grocery store.


Hello for your great recipe. I will be following your site frequently.

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more July 3, 2012 at 1:11 AM  

Anonymous (pls leave a name),
Pandan leaves is used to give the cake a beautiful aroma, just like vanilla, if used whole to infuse.
If pandan leaf is juiced, it will give both colour (green), flavour and aroma to the cake.
You can omit it if you want.

Anonymous,  July 4, 2012 at 7:57 AM  

Hi Wendy,

I have tried many recipes to make this cake many times but it all fail. Recently, I stumbled to your site and found this recipe. Also, I have tried this recipe out and I am not getting the appearance I want. I don't have the high honeycombs as yours. Although the cake is very good and I like it a lot, I am also a bit of disappointed. I hope that you can help me out for this cake since you are expert in it. Can you let me know why I did wrong? When I pour ingredient A into Ingredient B, then let it completely cool and add in the Kuih Starter dough. Then I let it ferment. In a few hours, the flour of my batter is sink to the bottom, leaving water on top of the batter So I have to stir it again to unify the batter. Can you tell me whether the liquid flour should be unified with water? Secondly, I don't have Lye water so I replace Lye water with baking soda as you posted. Is it caused the problem? Thanks for your help.

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more July 4, 2012 at 11:48 AM  

Anonymous (Please leave a name),
The batter will separate after being left to ferment as rice flour is not like wheat flour. It's ok, no need to stir to make it unified/homogenous again. I only stirred it when I added in the oil and lye before steaming. The batter needs some alkaline factor to reduce the sourness and that's why u need the lye. Baking soda could replace it because it's also alkaline, but frankly, I have never tried it before.
BTW, where are u from, the fermentation results depends on your room temperature too

JL,  July 4, 2012 at 10:14 PM  

Hi Wendy

Your pak tong koh looks gorgeous and delicious and your recipe is a definite keeper. I'll be making it soon. By the way, do you have any recipe on ma lai koh? I mean the traditional Malaysia ones? I have been trawling the internet and still looking .... :(

Jeannie Lee

Anonymous,  July 5, 2012 at 9:06 PM  

Hi, my name is Stephanie Lee from Vancouver:

How much of the flour/liquid mixture should I pour into the round pan for steaming? I am worried I may put too much in and make the PTK thick.

If I have left over flour/liquid after I steam, could I refrigerate the mixture and steam at another day?

Your site is great. I will keep on visiting to learn valuable tips from you. Thanks!

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more July 5, 2012 at 11:01 PM  

Stephanie,
I believe Vancouver's room temperature is far lower than here, of which is around 28-32C.
This means your fermentation time will be longer than what we need here.
The cake will rise about 20-30% so you can estimate how thick you'd want it to be.
What you see in my picture is that I poured in everything into a 10 inch pan.
Yes, you can keep the batter chilled and steam it the next day.
:)

Anonymous,  July 8, 2012 at 11:43 AM  

Stephanie Lee

My Pak Tong Goh did not taste that sweet.

Should I taste the liquid mixture before I steam the PTG first? Can I add more sugar syrup to the mixture at the final stage?

Your answer would be appreciated. I love your site.

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more July 9, 2012 at 1:00 AM  

Stephanie,
Yup, this recipe is quite mild on sweetness.
If you want it to be sweeter, use more sugar when you prepare the syrup.
Do not add sugar syrup at the final stage because syrup will have additional water besides sugar and you won't want a soggy cake :)

Anonymous,  January 28, 2013 at 8:57 PM  

Hi, wendy, i have tried your recipe twice but failed on both attempts. H am very disappointed and dont know what was the problem. Both my starter did not produce wine after 48 hrs. So for my second attempt, i bought a new piece of wine yeast but still the same. However the 2nd try i ferment the rice for 5 days after which there were some liquid. I was quite happy and proceed with the rest of steps. But i still failed. The kueh was very dense and there was no rise in height. Can you advise? For your info, i tried 1/3 of the recipe and use a 6 inch tray. Thanks. Suyin

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more January 29, 2013 at 1:19 AM  

Suyin,
If the fermentation didn't happen your cake will be dense for sure.
Make sure the environment is warm and the rice is not even warm when you added the yeast.
I suggest you buy the yeast from another shop.

Anonymous,  June 8, 2013 at 11:21 AM  

Hi Wendy

I will be steaming my making Pak Thong Kor tomorrow and will let you know result.

My I know instead of using the balance starter dough and kuih starter to make Apam Beras Eno, can I use them to make another Pak Thong Kor and how long must I de-frigerate them before proceed to do the stage as reflected in your Friday Day 4?

Thank you with blessings
Priscilla Poh
Singapore

Anonymous,  June 9, 2013 at 8:05 AM  

Good Day Wendy

I steamed the Pak Thong Koh last night and cut it this morning. The kueh smells very good immediately after steamed and while cooling. My entire kitchen smells of Pak Thong Koh, so delicious. However, I only achieved one decker. I think I'd over-steamed it and the top skin was dry and cracked. But taste was indisputably good.

I steamed for about 50 mins due to two reasons:

1. I poked a chopstick thru the kueh after 20 mins of steaming and it came out wet.
2. I used a 8" round tin and the batter was higher.

Giving some to my neighbors to try and will get their feedback.

Thank you Wendy for your kind sharing of the recipe. I like your blog a lot because you were always so meticulous and detail in your recipe instructions. It goes a long way in helping and applicable for novice cook like me. More valuable than buying cookbooks!

Peace
Priscilla Poh
singapore

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more June 10, 2013 at 1:10 AM  

Priscilla,
If the stick has obvious blobs of batter, then it's not cooked, but it is sticky even though it's cooked.
Glad you enjoyed my version of instructions and the recipe that is originally from Y3k :)

Anonymous,  June 10, 2013 at 7:04 AM  

Good Day Wendy

My neighbours said my Pak Tong Kor was nice even though a little dense only (probably due to oversteamed). I enjoyed every bit of it and will make some more with aged rice flour.

With the balance starter dough, I will proceed to make Apam Beras with ENO next by using your recipe.

Thank you Wendy for all your recipes. They are really really good and very fantastic. More treasurable than buying recipe books.

Peace
Priscilla Poh

Ying,  June 16, 2013 at 4:55 PM  

Wendy,
Just tried your recipe, I split the batter into a 9 inch and a 6.5 inch round pan. Got single layers, the small one having a dense top layer. The kuehs were very wet on the top right after steaming, might be due to water dripping from the lid during steaming?
They taste fantastic though :D
Thanks for all the detailed explanations. Will be trying again and aim for double decker!

Anonymous,  June 16, 2013 at 7:17 PM  

Hello Wendy

I made another batch of Pak Thong Koh yesterday this time I doubled the amount. Loved the smell while the white gems (Pak Thong Koh) were steaming and after steamed.

Pak Thong Koh turned out better this time but only achieved one deck. Not dense anymore but quite bouncy with long 'comb teeth'. Workers at my sister's food court polished off all the kueh in no time.

Thank you so much again. Actually, it was really a blessing because if not for this recipe I would know how to finish all my near expired packages of rich flour.

God bless
Priscilla Poh
Singapore

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more June 17, 2013 at 9:51 AM  

Ying,
Did u use wheat starch or tapioca starch?


Priscilla Poh,
Thank you for the generous feedack :)

Ying,  June 17, 2013 at 12:30 PM  

Wendy,
I used blended rice flour (cap teratai) and so omitted the starch. And do we need to grease the steaming pan beforehand?

Anonymous,  June 17, 2013 at 2:12 PM  

Hi Wendy

First round (first made this kueh), I used wheat starch, the last round (just Saturday), I used tapioca starch.

Both rounds, I only achieved one deck, not two decks. However, the last round, kueh tasted better, more bouncy and with longer 'comb teeth'. I think perhaps, the last round, I acquired some experience already, hence, kueh turned out much better.

Blessings
Priscilla Poh

Jason Morton,  September 24, 2013 at 2:43 PM  

Wendy,

I have spent a very long time searching the web to find a "rice cake" recipe. This is what we call it in Hawaii. I finally discovered that it is called honeycomb cake, and i was so excited. your blog got me even more excited. Now, I am a chef and I cannot for the life of me figue this recipe out. Everything is perfect up until the final batter stage. My starter looks right, my kuih looks just like yours, even as I add the oil and baking soda to the final batter it looked like it was goin to be great. But after steaming it is like what the japanese call "mochi" no combs at all. just a slimy glutenous pan of "mochi". I love rice cake so much and want to prepare this recipe so bad, but I just don't know what I'm doing wrong...I've tried the shorter version with the exact same results.

Thank you for your help,
Jason

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more September 25, 2013 at 11:15 AM  

Jason,
I wonder were there any small bubbles in your batter after fermenting?
Like what you see in the pictures of mine, when I added the oil in

Jason,  September 26, 2013 at 5:48 AM  

Yes I did see some small bubbles, maybe not as much as your picture, but I did see some. I am going to try it one more time right now and will get back to you tomorrow. I have a large industrial steamer for the kitchen, is it okay to steam in there?

Aloha,
Jason

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more September 26, 2013 at 2:15 PM  

Jason,
you need a lot of bubbles, just like mine. No bubbles--> No yeast activity----> no holes when steamed

Jason,  September 29, 2013 at 3:56 PM  

Aloha again Wendy,
I tried the recipe twice more to no avail. Everything seemed perfect. I had the bubbles, it even bubbled up more when i shook the bowl. But no bubbles or "honeycomb" in my final product. I am really discouraged. Do you think I should try another recipe? I tried one with instant yeast and that one didn't work our either. Maybe it's not meant to be. I just have to get them from the chinese restaurant in town. Anyway thank you so much for your wonderful blog and trying to help me.

Jason

WendyinKK @ Table for 2..... or more September 29, 2013 at 4:57 PM  

Jason,
I think it has to do with the yeast.
Previously I had another reader who wrote to me from Hawaii.
The prob was the yeast. It came in a big pack with many pieces. He said, he changed the brand of yeast and it was ok from then.

jason,  October 10, 2013 at 1:11 PM  

Hey Wendy, I'm still bothered about not being able to prepare this dish, and I just can't give it up. would it be possible to email me directly so i can ask all the questions that I have? my email is jasonhyc@hawaii.rr.com

thank you,
jason

WendyinKK October 10, 2013 at 10:10 PM  

Jason,
Why not u contact me via FB?
I rarely check email

annette ah you July 28, 2014 at 8:52 AM  

I made these yea they came out great however, how do I make it sweeter? If I adjust the sugar will it affect the recipe?

WendyinKK August 2, 2014 at 12:51 PM  

anette,
it's ok to add more sugar.

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