Kuih lapis or kue lapis gives a strong nostalgic vibe to all Malaysians. Growing up, I remember waiting by the door every afternoon, trying hard to listen to the shrill honk of the kuih man. If I was just a second too late, you can bet a million ringgit right now that by the time I managed to catch the kuih man, most of my favourite kuih would have been long gone, especially the kuih lapis.
Nothing brings more joy to a child than the simplicity of the kuih lapis. Its subtle sweetness and fragrant aftertaste as well as the fun we have while peeling away the beautiful pearly white layers from the pink ones.
Those long gone days of waiting for the kuih man has passed and with him, most traditional kuihs are now difficult to find as well. As a chef, I am lucky enough to have the privilege of learning authentic kuih recipes and of course, one of the first kuih recipes learned was the kuih lapis.
To bring back memories of the good old days, I am sharing with you the easiest way of making sinfully delicious kuih lapis that you have ever tasted.
- 2 cups of rice flour
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of sugar
- 3 cups of coconut milk
- 2 cups of water
- 2-4 drops red food colouring
- Rose essence
- One pandan leaf (optional)
- Mix all the flours, sugar, coconut milk and water and blend it. Sieve mixture until the batter is completely smooth.
- Separate the batter into two bowls and in one of the bowls, add 2-3 drops of red food colouring. Mix well. For a more fragrant batter, add a touch of rose essence to the pink batter. As for the white batter, you can opt to add one pandan leaf, tied in the knot.
- Heat water filled in a manual steamer and wait until it boils.
- Brush some oil inside a tin mold. This will prevent the kuih from sticking.
- Pour one cup of batter, alternating between the white and pink batters and steam each layer for 5 minutes. End with the pink batter. For that final cup of pink batter you may opt to add an extra drop of red colouring. Steam for final layer for 15 minutes. Note: Use the same ladle or cup to ensure consistency of the thickness of each layer.
- After the kuih is cooked, take out the tray from the steamer and keep it in the refrigerator. Before slicing, brush your knife with some oil to make the cutting process easier.
Serve with Hot Teh Tarik or Kopi O
The perfect way to enjoy your kuih lapis is with a cup of hot teh tarik or kopi o. Nothing more, nothing less. If this doesn’t make you think of simpler days, I don’t know what will.