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!
What Is Kuih Koci Berendam?
Ever since I was a kid, I have loved traditional Malay cakes or snacks—especially those made by my mother. One of my favorites that she made was kuih koci berendam, a steamed sweet coconut-filled dessert with coconut sauce. Like many other traditional Malay snacks, kuih koci berendam is a bit tedious to make, but it's so worth it.
This delicacy consists of glutinous rice flour mixed with sweet coconut filling that is then steamed with coconut sauce in banana leaves. I remember growing up eating this delicious snack with my family—we would have it in the morning for breakfast or in the afternoon as a snack. Sometimes, my mother made it during Ramadan (the ninth month in the Islamic calendar) to provide for the neighbors. I have to confess that my mother made the best kuih koci berendam I ever have tasted.
The texture of kuih koci is a little bit chewy as it is made from glutinous rice flour with water. However, it gets its signature aroma and flavor from the sweet coconut filling and the banana leaf. I enjoy using banana leaves, especially in traditional Malay cuisine. It reminds me of my childhood when I would help my mother in the kitchen. There is plenty of banana usage in traditional Malay dishes, especially for wrapping and layering food. For this recipe, the banana leaf is used for layering the plate (refer to photo below).
Traditional Malay Ingredients
To make authentic kuih koci berendam, you'll need freshly grated coconut, palm sugar, pandan leaf, and banana leaf. If you don't have these ingredients you can find them at your nearest Asian store.
For the dough:
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- 2 cups glutinous rice flour
- 1½ cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the filling:
- 2 cups freshly grated coconut
- 1 whole round dark palm sugar, cut into chunks
- ½ cup water
- 1 pandan leaf or screwpine leaf, tied into a knot
- 1 to 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
For the sauce:
- 2½ cups coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons rice flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
Note: Before steaming the cakes, cut a few fresh banana leaves into a round sheet, wash, and dry them. Then, place them on a round small-sized plate. Brush the banana leaves with cooking oil.
- Make the filling: In a saucepan, combine the palm sugar, water, and tied-knot pandan leaf. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and add the fresh grated coconut and flour. Continue to cook for a few minutes. Then, remove from heat. Let it cool. Shape the mixture into marble-sized balls and set aside.
- Make the dough: In a large bowl, combine the glutinous rice flour, salt, and water. Use your hand to knead the mixture lightly until it is smooth. If the mixture is still hard, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time. Once done, form into the shape of a ball, and set aside.
- Make the sauce: In a pot, combine the coconut milk and rice flour and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir the mixture continuously for about 10 minutes until it thickens. Add salt to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Assemble the cakes: Take a portion of the dough and flatten it on your hand. Place a ball of filling into the middle of the dough and bring the edges together. Roll it in the palm of your hand to get a nice sphere. (Optional: I used a bamboo skewer to make a flower design on top). Repeat until all the dough has been used up. Place the cakes on a plate.
- Add sauce and steam: Gently, pour the coconut sauce on top of the cakes. Repeat until all cakes are half-soaked with coconut sauce. Steam on medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes. Take the plate out from the steamer and transfer it onto a cooling rack. Let it cool completely before eating.
- Serve and enjoy: Enjoy the cakes with coffee or tea.
© 2022 Liza