Guest Post on Notabilia: bingka roti kukus pandan

Be it all prettily arranged on the table of a family feast/wedding, or simply packed in small plastic boxes fronting local Malay foodstalls, I always look forward to homemade Malay kuih (traditional delicacies). Sure, the Malay kuih, or kuih-muih in their plural form, are not exactly the healthiest, being almost always laden with guilt-inducing rich santan (coconut cream), heavily sweetened by the golden-brown blocks of gula Melaka (palm sugar), and alluringly fragranced by the many manifestations of daun pandan (screwpine leaves). But there is something most certainly enticing in colourful, single-serving desserts with a rich and chewy intricate texture, meticulously perfected generation after generation.

When I was growing up, I would often watch as my mother summon her kuih prowess and labour off on her own, doing her proverbial ‘thang’, so to speak. There are, however, the lucky times when she would relent to my incessant hovering over her shoulder, and hand me the easier tasks such as the rolling of bread slices (for roti gulung), arranging kuih nagasari pieces into the steamer, and more often than not, residual flour dough from epok-epok for me to make shapes and play with. Whilst my mom is undeniably one of the most selfless persons I know, she has yet to pass on a smidgen of her kuih skills, not because she refuses to, but simply because she belongs to the campak-campak (throw here and there) camp, so constantly deciphering what “a handful of this”, or “a pinch of that”, or “to taste” would translate to in metric was a confuzzling joykiller, to say the least.


Hence, when P of Notabilia, a New Yorker currently based here in Singapore, invited me to share with her a recipe from the Malay culture, I knew it was the most opportune time for me to set aside my culinary differences and venture into the kitchen with my mother. Plunging headlong into the kuih newbie path, I played apprentice to my mother, anxiously armed with my measuring cups and spoons, and proudly survived it all to share a guest post on one of my favourite kuih growing up, bingka roti kukus pandan. What began as a personal self-challenge soon enough morphed into a great bonding session with my mother, picking up tips and tricks, along with the exchange of nostalgic stories. And thanks to this opportunity, I’ve already booked classes with the masterchef herself, to explore and appreciate sweet treats from my culture, and more importantly, to finally be on the making, and not eating, side of the kuih steamer.

Drop by Notabilia for the full [measured out] recipe.

14 thoughts on “Guest Post on Notabilia: bingka roti kukus pandan

  1. the mister

    “You don’t like bread pudding and you don’t really like kuehs but you took one bite of this and said you loike it!”

    Yep, couldn’t have put it better myself 😀

    1. ovenhaven Post author

      You should! I’ve only just realised that perhaps the reason I love bread puddings so much is all thanks to growing up with this Asian version 😛

  2. fattydumpling

    Hello! Hello! I haven’t visited your blog in a while, but now that I’ve visited again, I again admire your foods, writing, and photography ;] I like your conclusion to this post…it’s like you’re now an equal in her cooking sphere.

    I’d really like to try this recipe, pandan-flavoured things are so delicious, but I haven’t made much with it, I’ve always just bought pandan-flavoured things. I just need to figure out where to find pandan leaves…knotted leaves?! You can knot the leaves?! Just realized I have no idea what the leaves look like ;D

    1. ovenhaven Post author

      Hello again! Awww, you’re much too sweet, but in all honesty, I’m way way way behind in cooking, and still have so much to learn. Pandan leaves look like this. We grow our own pandan leaves, but you can try finding a bunch at the supermarket, or perhaps an Asian grocery store. And yes, you can knot them! They’re sturdy yet soft enough to bend and knot 😛

  3. crustabakes

    I would love to watch you mum in all her kuih glory. I bet some of that talents rubbed off on you cause this kuih looks amazingg!

  4. Sherie @ maameemoomoo

    Gorgeous hue dearie!

    I love pandan everything lahhh… and u know i loveeee bread pudding too! So guess? This goes to my to-bake list now! Err.. i also belong to campak campak gang juga! 😛

    1. ovenhaven Post author

      Haha! And since I know you love durian too, you can easily try bingka roti durian too 😉 I sure hope to belong to the campak-campak gang one day, along the likes of my mom & you!

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