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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Seri Muka

Mike’s favourite kuih!!!

The best seri muka is made by the Malays. It feels like eating kaya, just that it’s in a more solid form. I have a friend, Siti Zubaidah who told me her mom makes some kick ass good seri muka. And there's no exact recipe. Just agak-agak(estimate). And she told me her mom said, put in some flour, how much... "tak taulah nak cakap, tapi sikit saja." (Dunno how to say, but it's just a little bit). There u see... traditional household cooking.............

As for the Chinese kuih vendors...Theyput in way too much flour or starch, making the custard layer too uncustardy. I got one kuih recipe book written by Malaysian Chinese writers, and it confirms my point. BTW, not refering to nyonyas.... Nyonyas make kuihs like the Malays.

This recipe is adapted from Rohani Jelani’s Kuih Asli Malaysia.

300gm glutinous rice
50ml coconut milk
200ml water
1 tsp salt

150ml eggs (3 medium, grade B or C)
150ml coconut milk
150ml pandan juice
180gm sugar
15gm cornstarch
30gm all purpose flour

1. Soak rice for at least 2 hours. Drain. Put rice into a baking pan suitable for steaming. Mix it with coconut milk and salt. Add in water. Make sure the water is abt 3mm above the rice. If added in the stated amount and it seems slightly more, it’s ok. But not higher than 1cm definitely! If water level’s too low, add more water. Cos it depends on how well u drain the rice.
2. Steam rice on high heat for 20-30 minutes until rice turns translucent. Remove from heat and immediately fluff rice with a fork or chopstick. Place rice into a 8 inch round pan or 7 inch square pan. Level and press rice to compact it. U may either use a flat bottomed glass or a layer cake press. If ur hands are heat resistant, u may use it too!! Haha! But do it over a aluminium sheet or baking paper. Do this while the rice is still hot. Return compacted rice in pan to steamer and steam until custard is ready.
3. Mix all the ingredients in (B) and cook in a heavy saucepan on low heat, stirring slowly all the time to ensure it doesn’t burn until it thickens slightly. Remove from heat.
4. Pour (3) over compacted rice and steam on medium low heat for 25 minutes. Do not use high heat as it will cause the kuih surface to be uneven… suitable for surfing.
5. Cool kuih thoroughly before cutting into pieces.

Or if u can't be bothered to weigh everything using a scale,

You can just play around with this simple formula:

The formula:
Rice : 1cup
Coconut milk: 2 Tbsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Water: Just put enough to be slightly above rice, say about.... 3mm

Eggs: 2 Large, A grade
Liquid (no matter how much the ratio of coconut milk and pandan juice) : 1 cup
Sugar: 1/2 cup
Flour : 1 heaped Tbsp

This is how I agak-agak(estimate) if I'm lazy. It's agak-agak, but accurate. You can increase the amounts by ratio if u want to make more. This ratio of ingredients makes a nicely layered kuih, neither being too much. Just nice. I did this method too, and it's yummy. Works as well.

The above precisely measured recipe is almost 50% more of the agak-agak formula. Up to u to use it by cups or the scale.

Steamed over medium low heat..... so that the surface will be even

The rice is pressed to compact.....


  1. I stumbled upon ur blog from another blogger. I am so glad to find ur website. Full of recipes that I miss so much since staying in US for 6 years. Thanks for the step by step recipes. love it. Your daughters are adorable too ... I am going to deliver my 2nd baby in 2 weeks, reading abt ur 2nd baby delivery without epidural is very encouraging indeed.

  2. Thanks for the compliments.

    All the best with ur 2nd baby. Hope u'll have a safe delivery. It's nerve wrecking waiting to deliver... right? But it's all worth the pain and anxiety when the baby is out. :)

  3. omg... to see this image and recipe at 00:15 in sweden and no mamak stall nearby is pure torture!!

    but.. it got my inspiration buds up and about.. gonna try this on monday :)


  4. hiya,wendy!
    i ve been tried this out.
    dunno wat i did wrong,the green layer was too much eggs-tasted and too soft..

  5. Hasegawa,
    Thanks for trying this out.
    The green layer is suppposed to be soft, like a custard. Slightly firmer than Chawan Mushi. Something like a creme brulee.
    If you prefer this to be harder, try to add another Tbsp of flour.

    If you have tasted this in Malaysia, some vendors add in way too much flour to cut down on eggs, which is not the original method. The traditional taste is soft and eggy.

  6. Hi Wendy,

    I just made this and it tasted really good. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I cooked the rice in the rice cooker instead of steaming it and I also put pandan. Have a nice day!

  7. Anonymous,
    Oh, you did the whole thing in the rice cooker?
    Now, that's really super!
    Glad u liked this.

  8. love it, is this a birthday cake for Mike?

  9. Jessica,
    Hahaha, no. I made him a proper cake. Will post it up few days later.

  10. Hi,
    Ur top layer is so smooth! Did u leave the cover all the way while steaming the kuih or did u from time to time wiped the inside cover so that the water droplets do not fall on the top layer? Thanx for posting a beautiful kuih

  11. Anonymous,
    I covered the kuih throughout the steaming process and a few drops of water did drop on it when I lifted the cover. You must remove the cover once you switch of the fire, if not condensation will start to collect on the cover and more water will drop onto the kuih later. The structure of the cover also affects whether water will drip to the sides or at the center.
    How smooth your kuih's surface is depends on the heat of your steamer. Too high and it'll become wavy.

  12. Hi Wendy, beautiful seri muka. I want to try to make one. Is it cornstarch or cornflour should be used? Thx. Andy

  13. Andy,
    If you're from US, then it's cornstarch, not corn flour, not corn meal.

    If you're from this region, then they are the same thing.
    Both names are always mixed up in use, but they are the same thing.

  14. Hi. I'm from the UK but my mum is from Malaysia.

    The other day we were craving this and so, I came across your site a couple of weeks ago and made this. Fortunately, it was successful. I gave some to my mum and she was impressed!!! Thank you for sharing your recipe with us.. You've made us very happy as we have been missing malaysian food.

    Have got some Pandan left so may try the chiffon cake next? Again thanks x

  15. Nicola,
    Great to hear that your mom was impressed with ur kuih.
    Yeah, try the pandan chiffon cake, your mom will be very very happy!

  16. After the glutinous rice has been steamed for 30 minutes and fluff, putting back the rice to the steaming pan, need to steam one more time? How many minutes?

  17. Anonymous,
    As long as you could get the custard ready.
    The 2nd steaming ensures the rice gets compact and stays hot when the custard is poured over.

  18. Dear Wendy

    I made Seri Muka using ur recipe for my pastor and his assistants. Comment: very good and 'lemak'. I followed ur advice on steaming kuih with medium low fire and the custard layer was flat and uniform when done, no waves and uneven surface.

    I put kuih in the fridge and only unmoulded from the pan the next day to ensure that kuih come out one whole piece before cutting.

    Thank you for the recipe.

    Priscilla Poh

  19. Dear Wendy

    My pastor told me today that though Seri Muka was good overall, but he felt that the green custard layer was a little eggy.

    If such is the case, what shud be done to get rid of the egginess. Can I add a drop or two lemon or lime juice or increase the flour to mask the egg taste?

    Thank you and with blessings
    Priscilla Poh

  20. Priscilla,
    Use more pandan leaves to make your pandan juice. If not, add in some pandan paste.
    If you add more flour, the texture will be hard.
    Unless you like it that way.
    A good seri muka should have a layer of kaya like topping, soft, custardy, but yet firm enough to slice.

  21. Thanks Wendy for the tips.

    Priscilla Poh

  22. Hi Wendy, I so glad to find you blog.....such a great recipe that I've been craving, since I move to States. Thank you for sharing and being honest with the ingredients details....I've tried few other Seri muka from other food blogger, follow steps and details and yet it doesn't turnout as the same as the picture they shown.
    Lucky I found you....again Thank you!

  23. AmyLin,
    Sometimes the recipe featured may not be be one you are looking for as different people makes it in different ways.
    As for results, sometimes the same thing that me and my mom make, will differ.
    I hope this is the one you are looking for.

  24. michelle here.

    i love your blog! i enjoyed browsing through and learn the recipes you provided. why didn't i find your blog earlier...but anyway, your blog is among the best around! love all the way from Sabah~!

  25. hi, in yr agak2 recepi ..the ,Flour : 1 heaped Tbsp, how much is the corn and flour ratio? thanks

  26. trix,
    I used just flour for the agak recipe. No corn flour at all

  27. Hi Wendy,

    How do you get your pieces so nicely cut? Do you use plastic knife?

    Thank you.

  28. LL,
    sorry I don't remember, but I do hear plastic knifes do cut nicer. I don't own one, but i seriously don't remember if I used my rigid spatula or not


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