Corner Café

March 30, 2008

Kuih Kosui (tray version)

Filed under: Kuih-Muih — SeaDragon @ 7:38 pm
Tags: , ,
Kuih_Kosui 02

A popular Nyonya palm sugar kuih from Malaysia and Singapore. It is also spelt as Kuih Koswee, or in Malay known as Kuih Kaswi or Kuih Kaswee. This kuih is usually steamed in small Chinese teacups, but it can also be steamed in a larger pan and then cut into bite-size morsels for serving.

Makes approx. 12 bite-size morsels

50g tapioca starch
30g rice flour
125ml water
1/4 teaspoon alkaline water (lye water)
1/8 teaspoon salt

75g palm sugar (gula melaka), roughly chopped
45g white granulated sugar
170ml water
3 pandan leaves, torn 3-4 times along leaf veins & knotted together

100g freshly grated coconut, or frozen grated coconut
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Prepare a 15cm round steaming tray or baking pan and grease lightly with cooking oil.
2. To prepare (C), mix together grated coconut and salt. Steam over high heat for about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. To prepare (A), put tapioca starch and rice flour in a mixing bowl. Slowly add water, stirring at the same time to mix well. Stir in salt and alkaline water. Set aside.
4. To prepare (B), put all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a slow boil over moderate heat, stirring continuously to dissolve the sugars, about 5 minutes.
5. Pour hot sugar syrup slowly into the flour mixture. Stirring continuously to mix evenly into a thin batter. Strain to remove pandan leaves.
6. Place prepared pan into the steamer and steam until hot.
7. Pour the batter into the hot pan in the steamer and stir until the bottom of the batter starts to set, about 2-3 minutes. Stop stirring and cover the steamer. Steam over high heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until set.
Kuih_Kosui 01
8. Remove pan from the steamer and let the kuih cool in the pan completely. Then remove the kuih from the pan and cut into bite-size morsels (square or diamond shapes) with a plastic knife.
9. Roll the kuih in the coconut mixture, or scatter coconut mixture over the cut pieces of kuih and serve.
Kuih_Kosui 05

Texture: Wobbly bouncy soft & chewy
Consume: Best within 24 hours
Storage: Covered, at room temperature, or chill in the refrigerator in hot whether
Recipe References: ‘Kueh Ko Swee’ by Mrs Leong Yee Soo, & ‘Kuih Kosui’ by Florence Tan


  1. Kuih Kosui is FROM MALAYSIA ONLY. Singapore has denounced their Malay heritage. As such, your introduction is inaccurate. Please correct.


    Love & kisses from your friendly neighbourhood anonymous Anonimic.

    Comment by Anonimic — October 13, 2009 @ 7:32 pm | Reply

    • I don’t understand your logic, food heritage or culture don’t just disappear because of politics! Ironically, I would have thought Kuih Kosui is Nyonya rather than pure Malay kuih. And the recipe I adapted from is from a Singaporean cookbook!

      Comment by SeaDragon — October 24, 2009 @ 7:23 am | Reply

  2. I totally agree with you, SeaDragon. I don’t think that politics have anything to do with food. Anonimic, how can you say Singapore has denounced their Malay heritage? (I’m Malaysian too if you think I don’t know/understand what happened in history)I’m sure they are still Malays living in Singapore right now! If you really think that “Kuih Kosui is FROM MALAYSIA ONLY. Singapore has denounced their Malay heritage” then it’s utterly absurd. It’s like you’re saying that if you’re Malay but not Malaysian then you’ve denounced your own cultures. Ridiculous. And yes, SeaDragon, you’re right. Kuih Kosui is a NYONYA KUIH. It does not come from the Malays at all.

    p/s Dear Anonimic, “Please correct”.

    Comment by gtdy — September 14, 2010 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

  3. This kuih is a Peranakan/Nyonya (Strait Chinese) creation and the recipe has been passed down by mothers to daughters, according to my 98 years old great grandmother. Note: it was prepared using Chinese teacups in the past. Sometimes, it is mistaken for Kuih Cawan (Kuih Lompang) which is also a Nyonya Kuih variety, except it is usually made to be smaller and softer and does not have a significant whirl in the middle.

    Comment by Fisher — October 20, 2010 @ 3:50 pm | Reply

    • Fisher,
      Thanks so much for clarifying. I always suspect that Kuih Kosui was originally made using teacups but never was sure if I was correct or not 🙂

      Comment by SeaDragon — October 23, 2010 @ 7:56 am | Reply

  4. Singapore is a huge melting pot. No one or at least most do not know the old history of it. Malaysia is also a huge melting pot. We are all inter mingled somehow.Cultures and traditions are man made but am greatly thankful for the cultures and traditions. If not for them, it would not have yielded such beautiful food, music,dance and cladding. Food and cultures evolve when human beings migrate. That is how nomadic men evolved to the current modern day human beings. Politics is a hot topic and politicians tend to use culture, race and more to segregate people. They use that to brain wash the weak minded.

    Singapore was once part of Malaysia and South East Asia was once part of another great empire that is lost and unknown now. Let’s embrace the beauty of what came out of the nomadic men and the fusion of them. I love the food in South East Asia. ❤ all the kueh.

    Comment by gotsomefunkgetcrunk — December 2, 2010 @ 4:46 pm | Reply

  5. ya lah ya lah. to the people up north white rice is also malaysian right?! chilli crab is also malaysian right?! hainanese chicken rice is also malaysian right?! and water is also malaysian right??? damn irritating, especially when people don’t have enough intellect to even differentiate between nationality and ethnicity.

    Comment by denise @ quickies on the dinner table — July 26, 2011 @ 10:57 pm | Reply

  6. sorry seadragon – i meant to say i really like your blog and have been a silent follower for a while but the first comment just really rubbed me the wrong way 😛

    Comment by denise @ quickies on the dinner table — July 26, 2011 @ 11:00 pm | Reply

    • Haha, no worries, I know, but that first comment was so long ago I’ve completely forgotten about it anyway.

      Comment by SeaDragon — July 30, 2011 @ 11:51 am | Reply

  7. can someone expalin to me the different bewteen using sago flour instead of tapioca flour. i also noticed some other recipe that usese more rice flour than tapioca flour. any different in terms of texture?

    Comment by bonchichi — August 12, 2011 @ 1:42 pm | Reply

    • There should not be much difference in sago flour or tapioca flour. The thing is, sago flour is almost impossible to buy outside of South East Asia, so we can only use tapioca flour.

      For the kuih, tapioca flour is used to adjust the chewiness (springy) texture. The more rice flour is used , the kuih will be softer.

      Comment by SeaDragon — August 14, 2011 @ 4:24 pm | Reply

  8. Thank you Sea Dragon for your lovely reply. i tried the recipe on Saturday. it was good, but yesterday when we took it out to eat, it was hard, even though we left it at room temperature for almost three hours. 😦 wondering if i have done something wrong?

    Comment by Bonchichi — August 15, 2011 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

    • I don’t think you did anything wrong, I did specify the kuih should be eaten on the same day it was made as this kuih is not suitable for storing overnight. Although I did say put in the fridge in hot weather (say over 30 degrees weather because of the coconut), that should only be for a couple of hours if you made them in advance.

      Comment by SeaDragon — August 20, 2011 @ 5:47 pm | Reply

  9. Hee hee, I tried another batch last Saturday. this time i didn’t put into the fridge at all. it was soft and nice, but not so chewy and springy….

    Comment by Bonchichi — August 22, 2011 @ 1:01 pm | Reply

  10. I tried to make this but not your recipe. The outcome was horrid (Haha…) i used moulds and it was so sticky so I guess I should need to oil it first.
    Then the upper layer and centre were extremely soft but base was alright. Why is this so? I used rice & sago flour. If I use an electric steamer, is 100 degree acceptable? Kindly advise. Thank you.

    Comment by Joanne Tan — May 14, 2012 @ 5:52 pm | Reply

    • Sounds like you did not cook the batter enough before you steam them. Rice flour and starch have a tendency to sink after you mix them with cold water and separate. So you need to cook the batter first before steaming. HTH.

      Comment by SeaDragon — May 14, 2012 @ 7:00 pm | Reply

      • Hi again! I tried your recipe today. Top was soft but base was hard. Is it necessary to add alkaline water? What is the purpose of this ingredient? Tks.

        Comment by Joanne Tan — May 17, 2012 @ 12:00 am | Reply

        • Hmm, how long did you cook the batter? No, alkaline water is optional, it is to give the kuih a little bit more bouncy tetxure.

          Comment by SeaDragon — May 17, 2012 @ 6:34 pm | Reply

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