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How to Make Steamed Pandan Cake (Kuih Kaswi)

Author:

Every year, I travel back to my beautiful home country of Malaysia to be with my family. I wish to share my experience with readers!

Kuih kaswi is one of my favorite traditional Malay delicacies.

Kuih kaswi is one of my favorite traditional Malay delicacies.

What Is Kuih Kaswi?

Kuih kaswi pandan is one of the most famous desserts in Malaysia. This steamed dessert is made from all-purpose flour, tapioca flour, white sugar, alkaline water, coconut milk, and pandan juice. The pandan juice gives the cake its characteristic green color. Before serving, the cake is traditionally decorated with freshly grated coconut. It is delicious and perfect for teatime. There is another variation that uses palm sugar (gula melaka) that is equally delicious.

Simple Ingredients

To make kuih kaswi, you need a few simple ingredients. Whenever I'm making a traditional Malay recipe, I always use authentic ingredients. For example, to make this particular treat you'll need freshly grated coconut and pandan leaves. If you don't have these ingredients you can easily find them at your nearest Asian store.

Let's see the full ingredients.

Ingredients

For the pandan juice:

  • 10 to 15 pandan leaves, cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup water for blending

For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon alkaline water or lye water
  • 4 cups water

For the topping:

  • 1 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Note: The recipe makes 2 round steamed cakes.

Directions

  1. Make the pandan juice: Take the pandan leaf strips and place them in a blender. Pour in some water (enough to rise up about two-thirds of the way) and blend until fine. Use a strainer and press out the juice into a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a blender, combine the all-purpose flour, tapioca flour, water, and sugar. Give a quick stir with a spatula. Blend until the ingredients are well combined.
  3. Add the coconut milk, pandan juice, and alkaline water or lye water to the mixture and blend for a few minutes to combine. Set aside.
  4. In a pan, bring water to a boil. (If you have a steamer you're welcome to use it.)
  5. Pour the batter into a greased round or square pan. Transfer the batter into the pan and cover with a lid. Steam for 40 minutes over medium-high heat.
  6. Transfer the cake onto a wire rack. Let it cool completely before slicing.
  7. In a bowl, mix the freshly grated coconut and salt. Steam the mixture for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  8. Slice the cake with a knife into a square shape. Roll them into the grated coconut and make sure they all covered.
  9. Transfer the cake to a serving plate.
  10. Serve immediately with coffee or tea.

Photo Guide

In a blender, combine the all-purpose flour, tapioca flour, water, and sugar.

In a blender, combine the all-purpose flour, tapioca flour, water, and sugar.

Give a quick stir with a spatula. Blend until the ingredients are well combined.

Give a quick stir with a spatula. Blend until the ingredients are well combined.

Add the coconut milk into the mixture.

Add the coconut milk into the mixture.

Add the pandan juice into the mixture.

Add the pandan juice into the mixture.

Bring water in a pan to a boil.

Bring water in a pan to a boil.

Pour the batter into a greased round or square pan.

Pour the batter into a greased round or square pan.

Transfer the batter into the pan and cover with a lid. Steam for 40 minutes over medium-high heat.

Transfer the batter into the pan and cover with a lid. Steam for 40 minutes over medium-high heat.

Transfer the cake onto a wire rack. Let it cool completely before slicing.

Transfer the cake onto a wire rack. Let it cool completely before slicing.

Slice the cake with a knife into a square shape.

Slice the cake with a knife into a square shape.

Roll them into the grated coconut and make sure they are all covered.

Roll them into the grated coconut and make sure they are all covered.

Serve kuih kaswi on a serving plate. Enjoy them with coffee or tea.

Serve kuih kaswi on a serving plate. Enjoy them with coffee or tea.

© 2020 Liza

Comments

Liza (author) from USA on July 27, 2020:

Hi Peggy, you're welcome. When I first moved to the US, one of the first things I look for is the Asian store. I know I can't survive without having genuine ingredients in my kitchen, especially when I want to cook Malaysian food. Thank goodness, the Asian store near my house has an actual and similar ingredient.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 27, 2020:

Thanks for the tip in the comment section about where to find the pandan leaves in the freezer section. It surely gives this cake a beautiful color. Thanks for sharing your recipe with us.

Liza (author) from USA on July 27, 2020:

Hi Linda, the cake's signature comes from the pandan juice and the freshly grated coconut. It was a great combination. By the way, if you are stopping by at the Asian store, please find the pandan leaves in the freezer section. Perhaps, they keep them the same as the Asian store here in the US.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 26, 2020:

The green color of the cake is lovely. I have never seen pandan leaves where I live, but there is an Asian grocery store near my home that sells a wide variety of foods. Next time I visit it, I'm going to see if they have any of the leaves.

Danny from India on July 26, 2020:

Welcome, Liza. And thanks for sharing this amazing recipe with us. It's really wonderful.

Liza (author) from USA on July 26, 2020:

Hi Danny, I love a dessert made from pandan juice. It's not just attractive but, I love the taste of it. I have heard about a halwa. I remember when I was young, I used to eat it. My aunty made it. However, she has passed away. Thank you for commenting on the article, Danny.

Liza (author) from USA on July 26, 2020:

Hi Liz, steamed pandan cake is a traditional Malay cake. I learned to make it from my mother. There is another version of the same cake using palm sugar instead of pandan juice. They both equally delicious!

Liza (author) from USA on July 26, 2020:

Hi Ankita, you're welcome. The steamed pandan cake is one of my favorite Malay cakes. I learned to make it from my mother. Thank you for dropping by :)

Danny from India on July 26, 2020:

This dessert is very tempting. The green color makes it all the more attractive. In India, a green halwa similar to this dish is common at weddings and ceremonies.

Thanks for enlightening us about this dish, Liza.

Liz Westwood from UK on July 26, 2020:

This looks like an interesting recipe. I haven't come across pandan juice before, but I'm wondering if I could substitute another juice instead.

Ankita B on July 25, 2020:

The cake looks delicious. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe.