Kuih Koci Gula Kelapa (Glutinous Rice Cake with Coconut Filling)

Kuih Koci Gula Kelapa (Glutinous Rice Cake with Coconut Filling)

Hello Everyone! Tonight I will be sharing my last recipe from Brunei. As previously mentioned in a post I shared two weeks ago, I came across this Kuih Koci Gula Kelapa from the same website entitled ‘Brunei’s Traditional Sweet Treats You Must Try’.

To be honest, when I was still living in Brunei, this was a kuih that I barely saw sold in the night markets or road-side stalls – or maybe I was too focused on my favourite kuih-kuih that I failed to notice them amongst the pack. Nevertheless, as with most, if not all, kuih-kuih found in Brunei originate from a different country, and the Kuih Koci Gula Kelapa is no stranger to that. As it turns out, it is actually native to Indonesia.

Pronounced koh-chee, this is a snack/dessert made with a mix of white and black glutinous rice flour, stuffed with sweetened coconut and palm sugar filling, wrapped in banana leaves, and then steamed. The deep purple hue of the kuih comes from the black glutinous rice flour. There are also varieties of this kuih that do not require black glutinous rice flour, in fact a majority of it is made with white glutinous rice flour. The black glutinous rice flour is mainly used to colour the kuih.

Kuih Koci Gula Kelapa (Glutinous Rice Cake with Coconut Filling)

In fact, black glutinous rice flour may be quite difficult to source (depending on where you live). You can actually make your own too by grinding black glutinous rice grains. Place them in a coffee grinder or blender and then grind until really fine. Sieve the flour and then grind again. You need to grind several times until you get a really fine flour, so technically it’s a lot of work too. I managed to source mine online from Indonesia.

The Kuih Koci has a mochi-like texture and is sweet in flavour from the coconut filling inside. Though optional, a slightly salty coconut sauce cuts through the sweetness nicely. Other than just adding a dollop of it atop after the kuih has been steamed, you can also spoon the coconut sauce into the banana leaf, place the dough in, and then steam it with the coconut sauce.

Before we dive into tonight’s recipe, please take the time to check out the original where I drew my inspiration from over on What To Cook Today by Marvellina.

Kuih Koci Gula Kelapa (Glutinous Rice Cake with Coconut Filling) Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | MAKES 6 PCS

INGREDIENTS

For the dough

  • 1 & 1/2 cups white glutinous rice flour
  • 1/3 cup black glutinous rice flour
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk

For the coconut filling

  • 2 cups grated coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar*
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar**
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt

*Gula Melaka (palm sugar) is the choice of sweetener used when it comes to traditional kuih like this, but if you can’t seem to source it, you can always substitute it for coconut sugar like I did.

**Also, I ran out of coconut sugar. It’s supposed to be 1 cup of coconut sugar but I only had half a cup left and therefore mixed it together with a quarter cup of white granulated sugar.

For the coconut sauce (optional)

  • 2/3 cup coconut cream
  • 1 tsp all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt, to taste

Wrapping

  • 6 pcs banana leaves (15cm x 20cm)
  • Coconut oil, for brushing

METHOD

  1. Prepare the Banana Leaves: Soak the banana leaves in warm water for 30 minutes. Wipe them dry and brush with coconut oil. Set aside.
  2. Coconut Filling: Meanwhile, add the coconut cream and sugars in a pan over medium heat. Mix until the sugars have melted, then stir in the grated coconut and salt. Mix until well incorporated and then sprinkle the cornstarch over the coconut-sugar mixture. Stir and cook until the mixture thickens. Once done, set aside and let it cool down completely.
  3. Coconut Sauce: Add the coconut cream and a pinch of salt to a small saucepan. Whisk in the all-purpose flour until smooth. Place on the stove and cook over medium heat, whisking continuously until the sauce thickens. Set aside.
  4. Dough: Heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan until it is hot, but not boiling. Add both flours to a large mixing bowl, together with the hot coconut milk. Stir to mix everything, until the dough comes together. It should be pliable and not sticky.
  5. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Flatten the dough with the palm of your hands and place the cool coconut filling in the middle. Wrap around it and roll the dough into a smooth ball. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  6. Wrapping: Take a piece of banana leaf and shape into a cone. Place a dough ball in the cone and gently push it into the leaf. Fold one side over, and then the adjacent side. Then fold the other two sides to make your cone-shaped Kuih Koci.

You may also choose to wrap them into a parcel, or steam them with no wrapping at all! Just place the balls onto a small sheet of banana leaf.

  1. Steaming: Place the wrapped Kuih Koci into a steamer and steam for about 10 -15 minutes.
  2. Serve: Once done, unwrap and serve immediately while hot, topped with the coconut sauce. Enjoy as a light mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack!

Kuih Koci Gula Kelapa (Glutinous Rice Cake with Coconut Filling)

Note: Steamed Kuih Koci can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Otherwise, you may freeze the uncooked kuih koci for later consumption. Steam, frozen for, 15-18 minutes.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Hello Everyone! We’re pushing on with more Bruneian favourites, and this month wouldn’t be complete without tackling the famous Nasi Katok, which in English literally means ‘knock rice’. It is a simple combination of white rice, sambal (a condiment made out of blended chillies and other spices), and a piece of fried chicken, traditionally served wrapped in a piece of waxed brown paper. A variety of secondary ingredients including but not limited to shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar, lime juice, vinegar, and anchovies can also be served together with the fried chicken.

Nasi Katok is as quintessentially a Bruneian version of fast food, with many vendors running around the clock 24 hours a day selling this classic favourite. The roots of the term originated from the act of katok (knocking), on the window of this small flat in the country’s capital, to buy nasi (rice); the unofficial first Nasi Katok establishment since the 1980s. Naturally, the name stuck and today the dish is among the best national dishes.

Nasi Katok is one of Brunei’s most affordable staples that is priced at only BND$1.00. That’s right, one dollar for a piece of fried chicken, sambal, and steamed white rice. Over the decades the Nasi Katok has evolved into many versions – my favourite being the fusion of chicken and buttermilk.

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Bruneians love their buttermilk chicken, so when word got out that there was a place in Brunei that combines two of the country’s most loved foods, it caused a sensation! As of the majority of the dishes found in Brunei, the origins of buttermilk chicken is actually a Malaysian dish known as Lai Yao Kei 奶油鸡, or Malaysian Butter Chicken. It is about a million miles away from what most of us imagine when we think of Butter Chicken (and I’m talking about the Indian variety).

Other than chicken being the main source of protein for the dish, other meat varieties such as pork, fish, and prawns can be found too. I decided to keep mine pescatarian friendly for this recipe and so I used salmon belly for this dish. The buttermilk sauce is infused with the aroma of fresh curry leaves, and spiked with the heat from fresh chillies. It is actually very simple to make and comes together in just minutes. Though you’d think the butter would be the star of the show here, it is actually the evaporated milk that steals the limelight!

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 30 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

For the salmon

  • 6 pcs salmon belly strip, scaled and cleaned
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 pcs calamansi, juiced
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • All-purpose flour

For the buttermilk sauce

  • 1 can (300ml) evaporated milk
  • 1 bunch (8-10 pcs) curry leaves
  • 2 pcs red bird’s eye chillies, chopped
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp white granulated sugar
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the sambal

  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 small red onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 medium-sized brown onion, quartered
  • 1 long green chilli, chopped
  • 1/2 + 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp blended red chillies
  • 1 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cooking oil

METHOD

  1. Salmon Belly: Add all the ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and mix well. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Lightly coat the salmon belly strips in flour and shallow fry until golden brown and crispy. Fry in batches if needed and once done, set aside. You can fry the salmon bellies just before serving so that they are hot and remain crispy.
  3. Sambal: Add the onions, garlic, green chilli, and half a cup of water into a food processor or blender. Blend until the ingredients are finely chopped.
  4. Add about 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Add the onion mixture and cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the blended red chillies and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt, add the sugar, and the remaining half cup of water. Give it a good mix and continue to cook until thickened. Once done, set aside.
  6. Buttermilk Sauce: Melt the butter to a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the red chillies together with the curry leaves and cook to infuse the flavours and aromas into the butter. Set aside a few curry leaves and chillies for decoration later.
  7. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the evaporated milk. Add the sugar and season with a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust to your liking. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes altogether.

At this point, you can either add the fried salmon bellies to the sauce and simmer for a couple of minutes before serving, or top the bellies with the sauce. It’s completely up to you.

  1. Serve with rice and vegetables of choice, together with sambal. Enjoy!

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Nasi Katok with Buttermilk Salmon

Before I end tonight’s post, there’s something I want to share with everyone. So about two weeks ago I came across a post on Instagram regarding the price of Nasi Katok – should it be increased from BND$1.00 to BND$1.50? From a survey of almost 2000 people, 58% said that it should stay at BND$1.00. Small business owners usually sell Nasi Katok just to get through the day; it was never about profit for some. In fact, vendors would only make a profit of 20 cents per serving of Nasi Katok sold. In my honest opinion, if it’s just for a 50 cents price increase to help small businesses, I wouldn’t mind paying extra especially if I’m getting more in return. Think about it, you’re getting a serving of rice, a decent-sized piece of chicken and a spicy relish to bring it altogether. I think we can spare a little more out of our pockets to help them out.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Ambuyat (Sticky Sago)

Ambuyat (Sticky Sago)

Hello Everyone and cheers to 2021! Wishing you and your families a safe, healthy, and prosperous New Year! May the upcoming year be a time for healing, recovery, and reconnection.

For the loyal followers of Amcarmen’s Kitchen, you’ll know that a new year means a new theme on the blog. And so to kick off 2021, we’ll be sharing dishes inspired by the Flavours of Southeast Asian Cuisine! If you have an Instagram account, make sure you’re following me over on @amcarmenskitchen as I will be launching a challenge related to the theme to get everyone’s creative juices flowing for the upcoming year ahead.

We’re opening the new year with a Southeast Asian country very close to my heart; a country that I was born in and raised for 26 years of my life before moving back to my motherland a few years ago. A country none other than the Abode of Peace, Negara Brunei Darussalam.

Negara Brunei Darussalam - Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque

Brunei is a country located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, the country is completely surrounded by the insular Malaysian state of Sarawak. It is separated into two parts by the Sarawak district of Limbang. Brunei is the only sovereign state completely on the island of Borneo; the remainder of the island’s territory is divided between the nations of Malaysia and Indonesia.

Bruneian cuisine is similar to, and heavily influenced by the cuisine of neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. Additional influences from other countries such as India, China, Thailand, and Japan are also evident. As common in the region, staple dishes from Brunei are often spicy, and are eaten with either rice or noodles. Due to the predominance of the Islamic religion, the food is halal and pork is avoided. Alcohol is also banned in Brunei.

Because of the heavy influence of other cultures in Bruneian cuisine, it’s genuinely difficult to find dishes that are purely of Bruneian origin. Nevertheless, the recipe that I will be sharing today is known as the national dish of Brunei.

Ambuyat (Sticky Sago)

Ambuyat is a type of starch derived from the trunk of a sago palm and cooked as a delicacy in the country of Brunei. It is consumed with a two-pronged bamboo utensil known as chandas. Ambuyat is eaten with a variety of side dishes such as grilled prawns, fish, and an assortment of tropical sauces and vegetables. As the sago starch may be difficult to find outside of Brunei, it can be substituted with potato, tapioca, or cassava starch.

Before we dive into the recipe, there’s one more thing that I need to touch on. A popular tropical sauce dip that is always paired with Ambuyat is known as tempoyak, or in English, fermented durian. Now, if fresh durian is said to smell like putrid flesh, overripe armpits, and fermented gym socks, can you imagine what it smells like fermented? All I can say was that my kitchen was rancid. Imagine the smell of fermented durian, shrimp paste, and dried shrimp altogether…

Negara Brunei Darussalam - Fresh Durian

Nevertheless, it’s actually quite tasty for those with an acquired taste for durian. I’m probably 50-50 on this, and honestly leaning more towards the hate in this love-hate relationship. I never liked durian in the first place, but for the purpose of experimenting and experiencing the flavours of Brunei, I did it for the blog!

Fermented Durian Sauce (Tempoyak)

The flavour of tempoyak varies a lot and can be mildly sweet and sour or extremely pungent and a bit rank. You can alter the flavour by allowing the durian to ferment for different lengths of time and adding different amounts of salt. Less salt makes the tempoyak more sour, while more salt both makes the tempoyak more, well, salty, and allows it to keep for 3-6 months without being refrigerated.

Ambuyat (Sticky Sago) & Tempoyak Ingredients

PREP TIME 30 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

For the ambuyat

  • 3 cups cassava starch*
  • 2 & 1/2 cups water

For the tempoyak sauce

  • 50g fermented durian (tempoyak)**
  • 1 red bird’s eye chilli
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimp
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • Pinch of salt

*Preferably use sago starch if available, otherwise substitute with potato or tapioca starch.

**How you make your tempoyak is up to you. The most basic ratio to get you started is for every cup of fresh deseeded and mashed durian, add 1 tablespoon of salt. Mix well and seal in an air-tight container and keep at room temperature. It can be consumed after 2 days, or allowed to ferment for as long as 2 weeks, depending on your preference.

METHOD

  1. Tempoyak Sauce: Add the dried shrimp to a mortar together with the red chilli and pound using the pestle until well combined. Add the shrimp paste and mix using a spoon. Season with a touch of salt, to taste.
  2. Pour a little bit of hot water into the mixture and then add the durian. Mix until well combined and adjust the flavours to your liking. Once done, transfer to a small bowl and set aside until ready to serve.
  3. Ambuyat: Combine the tapioca starch with a half cup of room temperature water, in a medium-sized heat-proof bowl, and set aside for a few minutes.
  4. Heat the remaining 2 cups of water, either in a kettle or on the stove. Slowly pour the hot, boiling water into the bowl with the starch while whisking continuously with a wooden spoon. The starch will appear sticky in texture. Continue to whisk the ambuyat until it is firm and starchy.
  5. Serve with the tempoyak sauce and various side dishes and enjoy!

Ambuyat (Sticky Sago)

The side dishes that we paired our ambuyat with are fish curry, fried fish, garlic butter prawns, sautéed kangkung (water spinach) in garlic and oyster sauce, sambal eggplant, and fresh vegetables. We decided to keep ours pescatarian, but you can serve it with other choices of meat as well, whatever tickles your fancy.

Ambuyat (Sticky Sago) Side Dishes

Note: Prepare all your sauces and side dishes before preparing the ambuyat.

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com