Soft and Chewy Ang Ku Kueh with Purple Yam

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Ang Ku Kueh 紅龜粿 is a traditional snack made of glutinous rice flour with coconut milk with mung bean filling inside.

ang ku kueh
Purple Yam Ang Ku Kueh

Ang Ku Kueh Origin

Ang Ku Kueh, originally red in color is presented during Qing Ming Festival or Hungry Ghost Festival as offerings in Chinese prayers.

Chinese people make Ang Ku Kueh for celebrating a newborn baby on the first month. The kuehs/cake  along with other snacks are distributed to relatives and close friends. This act represents blessing for the newborn and longevity for the elders. (1)

Ang Ku Kueh Names

Another name for Ang Ku Kue is kue thok. It comes from the sound it makes while using the mold. After you shape it, you need to knock the mold to the table making the loud sound ‘thok’. Thus it is called kue thok.

In Indonesia, the name is Kue Ku. Ku comes from the word 龜 which means tortoise.

What Does Ang Ku Kueh Taste Like?

Ang ku kueh tastes like Japanese mochi, only it is a bit oily because it uses coconut milk as the base of the dough.

Inside you will find mung bean filling that taste sweet and moist with coconut milk.

The skin is chewy and moist. It can come in many flavors: original with red coloring, orange coloring, pumpkin, purple yam, or pandan.

Ang Ku Kueh Variations

Many variations are then made  for ang ku kueh. Originally it was red as a festive offerings during Chinese prayers or birth celebrations. Later, there are orange color version and even rainbow colors.

Green color ang ku kueh uses pandan extract.

If you use pumpkin, the color can be beautiful bright yellow.

You can find many other creations with different colors and shapes.

I tried using purple yam for the skin, so the color is purple. And this time I use mooncake mold.

I will share purple yam ang ku kueh recipe here. It is very delicious with the unique purple yam flavor and fragrance.

Ang Ku Kueh Mold

The mold to shape it comes in many shapes. The original shape is tortoise shell shape with carvings.

Back then the mold was created using a wooden block of wood, they carve out the inside to shape like a tortoise shell and write a  Chinese character in it as a  symbol representing luck or happiness.

It is very durable and is usually made with high quality wood.

You need to brush the wooden mold with oil before its first use. Let the oil soak in the wood to avoid the growth of mold.

cake mold
Cake Mold

Nowadays you can even find a tortoise shell cake made of plastic. And the shape comes in many forms like flowers, fruits, and many others.

They are all unique and very attractive.

I got one from Taiwan resembling a chestnut shape.

Purple Yam Ang Ku Kueh Recipe

Skin:

  • 100 g finely steamed purple sweet potato purée
  • 175 g glutinous rice flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 150 ml coconut milk (65 ml + water)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 drops of taro essence

Filling:

  • 100 g peeled green beans soak 2 hours, steamed
  • 50 g sugar
  • 100 ml coconut milk (65 ml + water)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Decoration with yellow dough: 

  • 35 g glutinous rice flour
  • 30 ml water
  • Yellow coloring

How To

  • Soak peeled green beans in water for 2 hours. Drain the water.

ang ku kueh

  • Steam the beans for 20 minutes.
  • Blend steamed green beans, sugar, salt, coconut milk, and vanilla extract using a food processor.
  • Pour into a non-stick pan, cook with low heat.
  • The liquid in the mixture will dry out and you can see it no longer sticky, easy to mold.

ang ku kueh

  • Put in a bowl, let it cool down.
  • Take 15 gr each and round it using your hands. Set aside.

filling

Yellow dough

  • Mix glutinous rice flour, water and coloring together until it becomes a dough. Set aside.

Purple dough

  • Steam purple sweet potatoes for 20 minutes or until a stick can be inserted easily. Peel the skin. Mash the purple yam.
  • Put glutinous rice flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Pour in coconut milk. Stir with a spatula.
  • Put in the mashed purple yam. Pour in coconut oil. Knead using hands until the dough is no longer sticky and well mixed.
  • Add taro pasta (optional) to make the color even depper purple. Knead well.

 the dough

  • You can use mooncake mold for this. I use mooncake mold with flower shape. The yellow dough is for the center.

mooncake mold

  • Pinch the yellow dough, shape it into the center part.
  • Weigh purple dough around 30 gr, depending on the size of your mold. Round it and flatten it. Put the filling in the middle and seal it, round the dough, put in the mold. And shape it using the puncher.

how to make tortoise shell cake

  • Continue until all the dough is finished. You may put banana leaves at the base. (optional)

ang ku kueh

  • Steam for 15 minutes.
  • Take out from the steamer and let the cakes cool down.

ang ku kueh

  • Enjoy with a cup of tea!

 Tips

If you buy a wooden mold, brush it with vegetable oil or coconut oil for a few days before its first use.

Plastic mold like I have mentioned above can be brushed with glutinous rice flour.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What are some common mistakes to avoid when making this sticky rice cake?

A: Common mistakes include overworking the dough, which can make it tough and not properly sealing the filling inside the dough.

Q: How do I store leftover Kue Thok, and how long will it last?

A: You can store the leftover in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you want to keep it for a longer period, you can freeze it, and it should last for up to one month.

Q: Can I freeze this cake?

A: Yes, this sticky rice cake can be frozen. Make sure to wrap them individually and store them in a freezer-safe bag or container. You can thaw them at room temperature or steam them from frozen when you’re ready to enjoy them.

Conclusion

Kue Thok is a traditional dessert passed down by so many generations. It is a celebration cake usually to welcome the newborn.

Due to its attractive appearance and delightful taste, it becomes a cherished traditional snack in Asian countries. Follow the instruction mentioned in this article an your family and friends will love this cute dessert for sure!

If you have tried this recipe, please feel free to tag me on my Instagram. I’d be glad to check and leave some comments.

For other recipes with purple yam, you can also check my Purple Yam Steamed Tapioca Cake.

ang ku kueh

ANG KU KUEH (PURPLE YAM STICKY RICE CAKE)

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ang Ku Kueh 紅龜粿 is a traditional snack made of glutinous rice flour with coconut milk with mung bean filling inside.

Ingredients

Skin

  • 100 g finely steamed purple sweet potato purée
  • 175 g glutinous rice flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 150 ml coconut milk (65 ml + water)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 drops of taro essence

Yellow skin

  • 35 g glutinous rice flour
  • 30 ml water
  • Yellow coloring

Filling

  • 100 g peeled green beans soak 2 hours, steamed
  • 50 g sugar
  • 100 ml coconut milk (65 ml + water)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Instructions

    1. Soak peeled green beans in water for 2 hours. Drain the water.
    2. Steam the beans
      for 20 minutes.
    3. Blend steamed green beans, sugar, salt, coconut milk, and vanilla extract using a food processor.
    4. Pour into a non-stick pan, cook with low heat.
    5. The liquid in the mixture will dry out and you can see it becomes a dough.
    6. Put in a bowl, let it cool down.
    7. Take 15 gr each and round it using your hands. Set aside.


Yellow dough

  1. Mix glutinous rice flour, water and coloring together until it becomes a dough. Set aside.

Purple dough

  1. Steam purple sweet potatoes for 20 minutes or until a stick can be inserted easily. Peel the skin. Mash the purple yam.
  2. Put glutinous rice flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Pour in coconut milk. Stir with a spatula.
  3. Put in the mashed purple yam. Pour in coconut oil. Knead using hands until the dough is no longer sticky and well mixed.
  4. Add taro pasta (optional) to make the color even depper purple. Knead well.
  5. You can use mooncake mold for this. I use mooncake mold with flower shape. The yellow dough is for the center.
  6. Pinch the yellow dough, shape it into the center part.
  7. Weigh purple dough around 30 gr. Round it and flatten it. Put the filling in the middle and seal it, round the dough, put in the mold. And shape it using the puncher.
  8. Continue until all the dough is finished. You may put banana leaves at the base. (optional)
  9. Steam for 15 minutes.
  10. Take out from the steamer and let the cakes cool down.
  11. Enjoy!



















Notes

If you buy a wooden mold, brush it with vegetable oil or coconut oil for a few days before its first use.





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