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How to Make Pulut Kuning (Malaysian Turmeric Glutinous Rice)

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Originally from Malaysia, Liza currently lives in the U.S. with her husband. She loves cooking, baking, photography, and traveling.

Turmeric glutinous rice, or pulut kuning, is a very popular and tradtional Malay dish. It's usually served with beef or chicken rendang.

Turmeric glutinous rice, or pulut kuning, is a very popular and tradtional Malay dish. It's usually served with beef or chicken rendang.

What Is Pulut Kuning?

Pulut kuning, or steamed turmeric glutinous rice, is one of my favorite traditional Malay dishes. This dish is often served at special occasions like weddings and religious events, and it is often served with beef or chicken rendang.

Coming from a traditional Malay family, my mother has cooked pulut kuning for more than 50 years. The recipe is a bit time-consuming to make, but the results are most certainly worth it.

Why Soak the Rice Overnight?

The first step to making this dish is to wash the rice and soak it overnight with ground turmeric. The main reason we soak the rice overnight is to speed up the steaming process the next day. We also want the rice to absorb the turmeric, which is what gives the dish its characteristic yellow color.

The dish also calls for coconut milk, pandan leaves, and salt. I like to make beef or chicken rendang to serve with the rice.

My Mother's Recipe

This exquisite recipe was my mother's. I got the recipe by watching her cook the dish in her kitchen many years ago. I'm proud to say that pulut kuning is one of my mother's signature dishes, as she often makes it when we all gather at my parents' house. I was lucky to have my mother teach me about Malay cuisine. Now I can share what I've learned with others, some of whom may never have heard of or tried these dishes before. I hope you will try this recipe and love it as much as we do!

Let's take a look at the ingredients.


  • 2 1/2 cup glutinous rice
  • 150 ml coconut milk
  • 10 pandan leaves, washed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric ground
  • Water for soaking


  1. Soak the rice: In a large bowl, combine the rice, water, and ground turmeric. Mix well with a spoon or spatula. Set aside on a counter overnight. (You don't want to use your hand because the turmeric will stain your hands yellow.)
  2. The next day: Drain the water from the rice completely.
  3. Steam the rice: Prepare the food steamer with boiling water. Take the container and lay the pandan leaves flat on the bottom.
  4. Transfer the rice to the container. Steam the rice for 10 minutes.
  5. Open the lid and use a spatula to stir the rice. Close the lid and continue to steam for 5 more minutes.
  6. In the meantime, prepare the coconut milk. In a pitcher, combine the coconut milk and salt. Mix well until the salt dissolves.
  7. Transfer the rice in a large bowl. Add the coconut milk little by little. Mix well and transfer the rice back to the steamer.
  8. Continue to steam for 5 minutes.
  9. Transfer the rice to the bowl. Smooth the rice with a spatula. Cover the bowl with tin foil for 30 minutes. Set aside.
  10. When it's ready to serve, place the turmeric rice on a plate and serve with beef or chicken rendang. Enjoy while it is warm.

Questions & Answers

Question: Is the cup measurement for the rice a baking cup (240ml/8oz) or the cup measurement that comes with the rice cooker?

Answer: Good question. I used the rice cooker cup.

© 2020 Liza