Shaped like a red turtle, this traditional Chinese pastry is often found wearing a vibrant red as a symbol of good luck and auspiciousness. Sink your teeth into its soft and chewy skin which is made of glutinous rice flour and you’ll enjoy a flavor explosion of a sweet and silky smooth filling made of mung beans! Yummy!!
This seemingly difficult pastry may seem like an intimidating task but rest assured, only a few simple ingredients are required! It is definitely not as difficult as it seems! Instead of using traditional edible red dye, here’s the plot twist…home baker Grace Liew uses natural dyes out of mashed fruit and root vegetables to colour the ang ku kuehs! Yes, you heard it! (Or read it), no more artificial chemicals yet it still retains its vibrant colour. In fact, we’ll be sharing with you how we use a range of natural food dyes to achieve a rainbow effect so continue scrolling to find out!
Let’s start off by talking about this all-natural colouring. Our home cook leverages the amazing colours of food to achieve these natural dyes (and they do not lose out to edible food dyes!).
To yield magenta, mash 150g of dragon fruit.
To yield yellow, steam and mash 150g of pumpkin.
To yield purple, steam and mash 150g of purple sweet potato.
To yield green, replace water with 160g of pandan juice extract (Simply blend 15-18 pandan leaves with 200ml of water and measure out 160g of the liquid).
To make the luscious filling, firstly, wash the beans until the water turns clear. Soak the beans for a few hours, overnight if possible, and drain well. (Patience is a virtue here!) Steam them over high heat for 25 minutes and blend it finely.
Next, add in brown sugar, salt and oil and blend until smooth. All that’s left is to shape the fillings into 2cm balls and set them aside! Here’s a tip for you: You can adjust the sugar level to your preference.
To make the dough, combine the glutinous rice flour, mash, sugar, corn flour, oil and water in a mixing bowl.
For the pandan dough, there is no mash added! Simply swap out the 160g of water with 160g of pandan juice extract.
Knead the mixture until smooth, pliable and non-sticky. Add a little water if the dough is too dry. Another pro tip here! Avoid making the kueh in an air-conditioned environment as the cold and wind will make the dough dryer and harder to manipulate.
To make the ang ku kueh, take about 3cm ball of dough, flatten it and wrap the filling inside. Roll the kueh into a ball.
Dust a little glutinous rice flour into the mould and press the kueh firmly into the mould.
Invert the kueh onto a piece of banana leaf that is oiled on both sides. You can lay a cloth over the countertop and place a wooden chopping board over the cloth and hit the ang ku kueh mould on the chopping board to get the kueh out without hurting your hand.
Do ensure that all detail cervices on the ang ku kueh mould are covered with flour so the ang ku kueh will come out easily. But brush off the excess flour or there may be a white sheen on the finished kueh!
Finally, on to the final step! Steaming the ang ku kueh! Place each kueh into the steamer and brush the surface with some oil.
Steam over medium heat for 10-12 minutes and it’s done! Do not oversteam the kuehs or they will lose their shape and the dragon fruit ang ku kueh will turn a redder colour instead of magenta. Finally, don’t forget to let it cool before serving!
What are you waiting for? Quickly get into your kitchen and start making this recipe now so you can enjoy them as a high tea snack!
You can grab a copy of the full recipe below.