Diversity of Traditional Malaysian Desserts

Who doesn’t love desserts? The sweetness and savoury make it more delicious to eat after having a main course or just in a peaceful evening with family and friends. Here in Malaysia, the desserts are known as kuih and you can easily find some of them along the streets that ready to eat. The texture of kuih are mostly soft, colourful, sweet and some are even crunchy and savoury-spicy flavour. There are a few method to make each type of desserts from steaming, baking, roasting and also deep-frying that give a reason why it has own unique taste and texture. The basic ingredients of kuih are made from flour, sugar, egg, and natural colouring. 

Let’s see a few of these kuih that are so diverse and unique on its own.

1. Seri Muka

Usually, this dish can be found in two colours, green and white. The green part is from the pandan that not just gives the colour but also the taste of Seri Muka. The white part is actually a granulated rice or known as pulut with the combination of coconut milk to make the bottom of the kuih kinda sticky texture. It is actually sweet and best to have it is during tea time.

2. Kuih Buah Rotan 

This small ball dish is also called kuih redan. It is made from granulated rice flour and egg. After it is shaped round, it will be coated with sesame seeds before it is fried. Kuih buah rotan mostly can be found in Terengganu. The reason for this name is because of the round shape, scaly, and gold-ish colour like rattan fruit. It doesn’t have any filling, a bit hard and crunchy kind of texture.

3. Kuih Lapis

In Hokkien, they call it kau chan, a nine layers dish. This is among the favourite kuih for children because of its pink and white stripes that make it fun to eat each of the layers one by one by peeling it. The texture is smooth, kinda jelly-like and the best part is actually sweet . The ingredients are wheat flour, rice flour, cornflour, coconut milk, and sugar.

4. Rempah Udang

This is Peranakan traditional kuih. It is made from granulated rice and filled with fish or dried shrimp paste which is already wrapped in pandan leaves or banana leaves. In Malay, this was called pulut panggang or pulut lepa on the East Coast of Malaysia. The taste is savoury and smokey and the texture kinda like gummy, best to eat while it is still hot!

5. Tepung Puli

It is once a popular dessert in Melaka. It is shape round with roll technique. Usually, this kuih can be found during festive like Hari Raya. This is also a rare one because it is hard to find anywhere in the city. Some people say that they have no chance to learn because of the hard technique. The texture is sticky but the sweet taste makes it this kuih has its own charm.

6. Tepung Gomak

Hei Raja Kapur, kenapa muka kau macam Tepung Gomak?” That is a funny line from Seniman Bujang Lapok, a masterpiece movie from P Ramlee. But, what is actually Tepung Gomak? It is one type of flour that can be formed into a dessert with a sweet filling and thick on the outside. The main filling will be shredded coconut that is mixed with brown sugar to create a sweet flavour. It is also a rare piece that maybe we can only find in East Coast Malaysia..

7. Kuih Serabai

This is a popular dessert in Northern Malaysia and suitable to eat during breakfast that actually looks like a pancake. The texture is soft and light but not all the desserts are sweet. If you eat it raw, it will taste nothing and kinda bland. That’s why people eat it by dipping it with sweet coconut sauce to give sweetness in this kuih.

8. Jala Mas

This is a popular dessert in the East Coast of Malaysia like Kelantan & Terengganu. It is made from parsed egg yolk that is boiled in sugar syrup. That’s why the colour looked yellowish and gold-ish. Based on the history, this is a special dish served to the king that resembles the sign of royalty. It is very sweet and usually can be found during special ceremonies like weddings that will be served to the bride & groom. In other words, there is no chance to find it in the market.


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