Thursday, March 25, 2010

Toddy Mee Ku 椰花酒面龟

Mee Ku, 面龟 is a Hokkien word for Tortoise Bun. It is basically a mantou, or plain steamed bun. This recipe is given by my mother’s neighbor cum church friend. I first tasted these when this neighbor, Mr Teh made them for a church fund raising programme. It was so delicious, and my mom said, it was the first thing sold out during the fund raising sale.

These buns were made using toddy. Toddy, 椰花酒 is liquor made from coconut flower sap. The sap is collected via chopped off coconut flower stems. The sap ferments with natural yeast and don’t think that this is mild…. It can make u drunk!!! Toddy taste sweet, but I don’t like to drink it. Some people nickname this as barley drink, just as beer is chrysanthemum tea. :)

Original recipe calls for margarine, but I’m using butter. Mr Teh didn’t give me a precise amount for toddy, but all that I know is, knead it with pure toddy, no water. And this toddy amount is from my experiment.

450gm all purpose flour
90gm sugar
350gm toddy (It’s not 350ml, alcohol is lighter than water, better weigh it, as there might be air bubbles in it, thus making volume measurement inaccurate)
65gm margarine/butter

Mix everything together and knead until dough is soft and smooth. Shape into 10 peanut shaped buns and leave to proof* until double in size. Steam on high heat for 20 minutes.

*Warning::: Proofing time was 8 hours!!!!! I shaped them before I slept, steamed them when I woke up. The oven is a safe place to multilayer proof buns. I tried using hot water in the oven to make a warm environment for proofing, but it killed the natural yeasts!!!! So better be patient and wait. This white fluffy buns are from my 2nd attempt.

You can speed up the proofing by sunning them, cover with a cheesecloth and lay them out under the hot sun. I was told with sunning them, the proofing is 2-4 hours. But I was also told, since toddy is a homemade liquor, the amount of natural yeast in them differs, therefore, nothing is 100% accurate. U have to watch out for your own.

The buns expand further when steamed, just like buns that has double acting baking powder added in. So, don't be fooled by them looking small. Steam them when they look doubled, and when they are steamed, they'll be triple of the "before proofing" size. Give them space to expand in your steamer
You can buy toddy and keep it in the fridge until time to use. Shake the bottle before pouring out as the yeasts tend to settle at the bottom. If u cannot find toddy, but can find "air nira nipah", u can use that too. Air Nira Nipah is the flower sap from another palm and it also ferments the same way as toddy. Once I bought that from a road side stall on the way from Kelantan to Terengganu. I thought that it is a sweet drink, one sip and I puked it all out. It tasted like toddy, alcoholic. U can know that it's really fermenting when u open up the bottle, bubbles rush up and sometimes, out.

Updated few hours later : From the comments, I got to know that "toddy" seems inaccessible to many, I will experiment with fresh coconut juice and wine yeast to make this again. Let's see whether I can get the same fine texture and smell with coconut juice. Regular baking yeast can't this result.

Updated 26/3/10 :

Read these to see where to get your toddy
Brickfields  behind Palm Court condominium
Klang-Teluk Gong  Coconut Flower Seafood Restaurant 03-31341167.
Butterworth Ong Cheng Huat Seafood 04 3314782
Georgetown Stewart Lane
Johor Bahru, Somewhere on the way from JB to Sungai Tiram, and lots in Kluang
Ipoh, somewhere, behind Hume St. or try Buntong area :)
Where ever Gula Melaka is produced, u can get toddy there. Just get the raw sap, that will be toddy in a few hours time.

Where to get Air Nira Nipah (Usually sold by Malay vendors. If it's bubbly the time u open the bottle, it's fermenting and good for meeku, but if it's chilled and there seems to be no activity, leave it at room temperature in a mineral bottle/ coke PET bottle for a few hours. The bottle will get hard with the pressure building from within from the fermentation process and when u open up the cap, whoooozzzz.... bubbles and gases will erupt!!)
Coastal trunks roadsides
       -Kelantan to Terengganu
      -Teluk Intan to Sitiawan
     -Kuala Selangor coastal road all along Sekinchan upwards


Readers, if you happen to know where else, do notify me. Thanks.


  1. Wendy, if I'm not using toddy in this recipe then what should I substitue with? Rice wine?

  2. Very interesting post! I learn something new today. Thank you!

  3. My Little Space,
    I think U can use rice wine if it's still in fermenting stage, means still bubbly and gassy.

    But I suggest u use coconut juice with a little bit of "ragi", the type of yeast cake that is used to make rice wine. Let it ferment until it gets all gassy then use it. The normal yeast works too fast and it's this slow proofing that makes the bun very flavourful and soft.
    Because I was told if I don't have enough toddy, mix in extra coconut juice, but not water.

  4. Oh, I just realised I've misunderstood about Toddy... All along, I had thought Toddy is ice cream soda...Interesting recipe and the bun does look good.

  5. Shirley,
    It's ok. It's not a well known ingredient especially among the urbanites :)
    Hard to get where commercial coconut tress don't grow.

  6. I've not heard nor seen this before.

  7. That sounds really interesting. my aunt used to make us french toast with mee ku. i think your version would make it even better:)

  8. Blessed Homemaker,
    It's usually one of the things the Hokkiens (those that I know of) use for Taoist or ancestral worships.
    Maybe it's not those made with toddy, but normal yeast. It's a mantou anyway.
    Well if it's toddy that u've never heard or seen before, as I replied Shirley above, it's not common for urbanites. If u want to try out the yumminess of coconut flower wine bun, try out the method I suggested to My Little Space(1st comment)to substitute with fresh coconut juice and 酒饼

  9. Jade,
    Yeah, I've heard that people use stale (I don't mean mouldy) Mee Ku to fry with eggs.
    But these finish up too fast before it gets old enough to hit the pan.

  10. when i see the title... i feel walao ere.. wendy so bad and kill kura kura and make kura kura dishes.

    after open and see... err.... a lot of cute cute bun. send one for me to try la...

  11. Voon,
    These buns were made few months back in Nov.
    I'll be in deep trouble if they lasted this long.
    Next time la, or u make it urself lor.

  12. Hi Wendy,

    Could you tell me where you got the toddy from?
    I live in KL. I was wondering if i can get toddy from those indian grocery shop?
    Would love to try this recipe out..till i can get hold of some toddy that is.
    Thanks for the recipe btw.


  13. In fact, I don't know where to get toddy..hehehe..But your buns look good.

  14. Sonia and SL,
    I've updated the post with links on where to get toddy in klang valley.

  15. i cannot promise to make it... i am busy fly around ... not time la...

    you full time housewife ke? look very free to make a lot of cake and so on...

  16. It is almost impossible to find information on mee ku on the Internet! I love Mee ku, but I can't find it in Singapore. My family only gets our stock when we go back to Taiping for Chinese New Year annually :(

    Wow, but Toddy Mee Ku... I wonder what it tastes like...

  17. Orbiter,
    Yeah... it's almost non existent. Or maybe it's in another romanization.

    Toddy meeku has a nice crumb, compared to yeast raised ones.
    Actually mee ku is just plain buns, but made sweeter than usual buns with fillings.

  18. Wendy,
    How please am I to come across your recipe coz we alway buy dozens of toddy mi ku back to KL whenever we visit Teluk Intan, my hubby's hometown.It is very nice, so much different from those yeast-raised mi ku.
    Thanks again for sharing this recipe.

  19. I found your blog by chance and i love reading your posts! I didn't even know that there is such a thing call Toddy! I have learnt something today! So interesting! Thank you for sharing! :)

  20. To me, this look like a plain mantou. Looks must be deceiving!

    Was wondering, Kampar can find ah? My mom is from there too :P

  21. hellochloe,
    Hokkiens call it meeku, we in Kampar generally call it kosong pau, hahaha. This shape is generally made by the Hokkiens to look like a peanut.

  22. LOL oic, rupa-rupanya is kosong pau. Still, must be something, since it's so laku. I just came back from Kampar, did not encounter any peanut shape kosong pau, but had some very 'fresh' off the steamer paus at our usual haunt :)

  23. chloe,
    It's not sold commercially in Kampar, but homemade by a Hokkien family for a fund raising event in church

  24. Hi Wendy,
    Enjoy reading your blog ^.^ Thanks for sharing.
    If to get toddy in Taiping, try look for a fenced up green colour house at Jalan Chung Thye Phin (before the crossroad to Maybank). It only open for business in the afternoon. If ask around..I think it's more commonly known as 'ya tuak' there.

  25. I can’t get the good result by using toddy. I try before by using toddy n yeast. It’s quiet successful. I think maybe the problems of toddy that not real

  26. Christine,
    Toddy is fickle to use, especially if it's very fresh. The fresher it is, the less power it has. Toddy that has been left to ferment in a warm place will be stronger. Chilled toddy somehow will lose power, because of the natural yeast getting weak. But toddy shops will rarely keep them at room temperature because they won't want it to turn too strong for drinking.

  27. I tried it but the dough was extremely wet. Could not form the buns at all. Is the weights correct.

  28. Is it possible to make Mee Ku with coconut water instead of Toddy?
    If yes, can I have the recipe?


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