Corner Café

February 10, 2010

Kue Semprit Sagu Keju / Cassava Cheese Cookies

Filed under: Biscuits & Slices — SeaDragon @ 12:00 am
Tags: , ,

The round ones in front were just by pinching small pieces of dough and roll them into balls – they still looked very good if you don’t want to use piping bag to pipe out the cookies.

Recently, a forum member asked about a type of cookies from Singapore’s Bengawan Solo called Cassava Cheese Cookies at Kitchen Capers forum. I have never heard of these cookies before, so was very curious about them. I was also a bit dubious about the term ‘cassava’ in the name. For me, I always link the term ‘cassava’ with the fresh root of cassava, whereas I would use the term ‘tapioca’ to refer to the extracted starch of cassava. Cassava cookies? I thought the fresh root would be too ‘juicy’ to make cookies! So I thought the name must refer to the tapioca starch and not the fresh root!
After googling the English name, not a single recipe came up. So as usual I suspected that they might be Malay-style cookies, as I have come to the conclusion that Malays are fantastic bakers – they have a wide range of recipes for cakes and biscuits that have yet to be discovered by us of Chinese ethnicity. Thus I tried Malay terms ‘sagu’ (for sago, as ‘tepung sagu’ usually applies to tapioca flour as well – since sago flour and tapioca flour are usually interchangeable) and ‘keju’ (for cheese), and guess what? Quite a number of recipes popped up. Although the curious thing was, most of them were in Indonesian! So they are Indonesian cookies. Although that should not have surprised me one bit, as Indonesians are fond of adding cheese to their cookie pastries. And I also found out from Bengawan Solo website that the company was founded by an Indonesian, so there…
These cookies are very similar to our Kuih Bangkit, except they use margarine and/or butter in place of the coconut cream, and of course the addition of cheese. They are also piped out instead of using Kuih Bangkit moulds, hence the inclusion of ‘semprit’ in their names, and ‘kue’ of course is the Indonesian spelling for ‘kuih’.
I finally decided on one recipe and since I have about 50g of fresh parmesan cheese in my refrigerator, I decided to use it instead of cheddar. I also never ever buy margarine for baking, as I don’t like the ‘burnt plastic’ smell, so I used all butter. Another thing was the coconut milk in the original recipe, I hated opening a big tin of coconut milk just to use a little of it. So I opted for coconut milk powder instead (which at least can be kept for quite a long time in the refrigerator), and use the egg white to replace the liquid content of the coconut milk. I then baked them with these adjustments.
And, boy oh boy, are they additive or what? I love them and couldn’t stop eating them. They did tasted very similar to Kuih Bangkit, crispy on the first bite and then melt-in-the-mouth texture with a cheesy taste. Like eating Kuih Bangkit with those Chinese New Year Cheese Cookies at the same time. Definitely a new discovery for me and a fantastic one too!

Makes approx. 75 small cookies

85g butter, softened
85g caster sugar
1 egg, separated

170g tapioca starch *
2 pandan leaves
50g parmesan cheese, finely grated
15g (about 2 tablespoons) coconut milk powder

* I actually started with just over 170g of starch, after drying in microwave oven and sifting, I ended with just about 155g of dry tapioca starch.
1. Wash and dry the pandan leaves, and then cut into short sections. Put tapioca starch and pandan leaves on a piece of kitchen paper and put into the microwave. Cook on HIGH for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and transfer onto a new piece of kitchen paper. Put back into microwave and cook on HIGH for another minute. Remove the tapioca starch and sift it into a mixing bowl; set aside to cool. Preheat oven to 150°C.
2. In the meantime, cream softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk until well mixed.

Finely grated parmesan cheese

3. Add sifted tapioca starch, finely grated cheese and coconut milk powder to the creamed mixture. Mix well. The dough will be crumbly at this stage.
4. Lightly beat the egg white and add gradually to the crumbly dough until it just clumps into a smooth dough. You may not need all of the egg white; or you may need more.


5. Transfer the dough into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm star nozzle. Pipe out into small flower shapes.


6. Bake for about 18-20 minutes; the cookies should remain light golden in colour, so don’t let the cookies get too brown. (I did over-bake some of mine slightly.)


Taste: Melt-in-the-mouth cheese cookies
Consume: Best within 1-2 weeks
Storage: Store in airtight containers
Recipe Reference(s): Biskut Sagu Keju from Recipie Today


  1. I like these little gems a lot. You make a very good rendition of these cookies.

    Comment by Tuty — February 10, 2010 @ 5:00 am | Reply

  2. SD, I finally tried out this cookie in a fair. there were three stalls selling it and all yield different taste. The one I like best is light and has this cheesy taste to it and with something that I can’t describe, like some tiny uncooked grains.

    I am going to try it out tonight based on a different recipe.

    Hopefully it yield the same as I have tasted. 🙂

    Comment by Edith — February 11, 2010 @ 8:04 pm | Reply

    • edith, the tiny uncooked grains that you are talking about could be polenta or semolina?

      Comment by Tina — February 11, 2010 @ 10:53 pm | Reply

      • Tina, you might be right, they could have incorporated them in the cookies.

        Comment by SeaDragon — February 16, 2010 @ 5:52 pm | Reply

    • Edith,
      So the cookies are quite popular with different stalls selling them. Looking forward to see your results.

      Comment by SeaDragon — February 16, 2010 @ 5:51 pm | Reply

  3. Mmmm, these look tasty, like the other things on this blog! I’ve only eaten cassava steamed with a bit of sugar sprinkled on top. That, by itself, is yummy, but as a cookie…new paths to baking has opened up ;O

    Comment by fattydumpling — February 12, 2010 @ 4:52 am | Reply

  4. Hi SD,
    Wow these cookies looks really good. Can imagine how it taste with your description…think I will make these cookies next CNY. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. 😉 BTW, is tapioca flour same as tapioca starch? I can use the tapioca flour in place of the latter? Thanks.

    Comment by HoneyBeeSweets — February 12, 2010 @ 5:24 pm | Reply

    • Thanks. Yes, tapioca flour = tapioca starch.

      Comment by SeaDragon — February 16, 2010 @ 5:55 pm | Reply

  5. SD, I done a batch and I too ended with less flour after frying. I went on to dry fry the difference. The recipe that I tried is nice but still not the same as the one that I tested in a fair. Will try yours soon coz it is a nice cookie recipe.

    Comment by Edith — February 13, 2010 @ 4:32 pm | Reply

    • Oops, this comment of yours went straight into the spam bin, just rescue it from there. Yep, many versions out there, so maybe just keep looking hopefully you will find the right recipe 🙂

      Comment by SeaDragon — February 18, 2010 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

  6. Hi SD,
    If I do not have a microwave, any other method that I could use. Please advise. Thank you.

    Comment by Michelle — February 16, 2010 @ 1:27 pm | Reply

    • No problem, just dry-fry the flour in a wok which is the traditional method, just that frying in a wok is quite tricky as the dry flour tends to ‘fly’ all over the kitchen.

      Comment by SeaDragon — February 16, 2010 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

  7. Helllo SD,

    I am keen to try this recipe but before I start, I have a few questions. Do I have to let the dry-fried flour rest for couple of days before using? How much coconut cream/milk to use if I can’t get coconut powder?



    Comment by Evelyn — March 13, 2010 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

    • No, no need to let the flour rest for a couple of days, I used it as soon as the flour has cooled down. I know usually when making Kuih Bangkit that you need to rest the flour, but I never knew the reason why you have to do that?

      If you want to use coconut cream (best not to use coconut milk), then omit the egg white and add the coconut cream just enough so the dough forms into a clump. I can’t tell you how much to use as I have not tried it myself. Good luck!

      Comment by SeaDragon — March 13, 2010 @ 5:04 pm | Reply

      • Hi SD,

        Thanks for the prompt reply. =)

        Comment by Evelyn — March 13, 2010 @ 10:19 pm | Reply

  8. Thanks for sharing. Where can we get coconut milk powder?

    Comment by Vicky — February 3, 2012 @ 6:01 pm | Reply

    • Most Asian supermarkets or grocery stores should have it.

      Comment by SeaDragon — February 4, 2012 @ 5:16 pm | Reply

  9. […] finally came across this recipe which adapted the recipe from some indonesian cooking […]

    Pingback by Cheesy Sago Cookies (Biskut Sagu Keju) « the kitchen escapade — February 13, 2012 @ 2:30 am | Reply

  10. These look great!

    Comment by Phoebe — January 20, 2013 @ 7:15 pm | Reply

  11. These cookies are absolutely yummy! But I had such a hard time squeezing them out of the star nozzle! Could it be that my dough was too hard? Your advise is most needed as I want to make more!

    Comment by Pei Yee — January 17, 2014 @ 10:33 pm | Reply

    • Yes, it is a firm dough like the Dragon Cookies, so it is a difficult dough to pipe. I find it best to pipe all the dough out as soon as possible, it will be a bit easier while the butter in the dough is still soft. However, instead of piping, you can use the Kuih Bangkit mould to make them, or use cookie cutter, or just pinch out small pieces and round into balls, then flatten.

      Comment by SeaDragon — January 18, 2014 @ 8:47 pm | Reply

      • Perhaps cookie press will make the job of “squeezing” the dough a bit easier. I personally don’t own a cookie press, but I thought that it may work.
        If the dough is a bit too hard, you can add a teaspoon of coconut milk but you may run the risk of having the cookies spreading out when they are baked. What do you think SD?

        Comment by Tuty — January 19, 2014 @ 12:50 pm | Reply

        • Yes, a cookie press will probably make it easier to pipe, but not many people own one. Adding a bit more liquid may work, just make sure not too much like you have guessed, making the cookies spread out and lose its shape and also the texture.

          Comment by SeaDragon — January 19, 2014 @ 4:10 pm | Reply

          • Thank you so much for ur advices. Will definitely give it a try again. ^-^

            Comment by pei yee — January 19, 2014 @ 4:51 pm | Reply

  12. Hi SD, I tried making this yest, the texture was like outside crispy n soft on the inside while it just cool down but after keeping it in a container it seem softer this morning. Is that normal?

    Comment by Swat — December 30, 2014 @ 12:07 pm | Reply

  13. Hi SD, I tried baking this and I tasted great right after cooling down but the texture soften slightly the next day . Can it be like my cookies is too big n didn’t bake long enough ?

    Comment by Swat — December 30, 2014 @ 12:36 pm | Reply

    • Yes, they will soften very slightly the next day, but the texture should still be melt-in-the-mouth. If they became ‘soft’, then the reasons could be yes, the cookies too big and did not bake long enough, or they were not stored properly ie. should be stored in airtight container.

      Comment by SeaDragon — December 30, 2014 @ 5:12 pm | Reply

  14. Hi SD,
    Are we supposed to yield 170gr of tapioca flour after drying or just follow your recipe with over 170gr and use whatever the amount after drying?


    Comment by Linda — January 27, 2015 @ 3:22 pm | Reply

    • Follow the recipe, measure 170g tapioca flour and then drying it. I have indicated about 155g after drying.

      Comment by SeaDragon — January 27, 2015 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

  15. Hi can I use milk powder instead of coconut milk powder?

    Comment by cel — February 4, 2015 @ 11:37 pm | Reply

    • I don’t see why not, but you will get a less fragrant cookies.

      Comment by SeaDragon — February 5, 2015 @ 6:00 pm | Reply

  16. Hi. I hv tried out the receipe. But my cookies turned out tasted just like cookie and its a bit sweet. I wanted it to be like the kueh bankit “powdery” melt in your mouth type. Is it because i added a little too much of egg white? Please advise.

    Comment by trixie — March 23, 2015 @ 6:45 pm | Reply

  17. […] source: Corner Café (with slight […]

    Pingback by Cassava Cookies - Bear Naked Food — January 22, 2016 @ 9:03 am | Reply

  18. […]  Full Recipe; Click Here […]

    Pingback by Easy Yummy Cookies | Racstoday — July 1, 2016 @ 3:05 pm | Reply

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