Discover Traditional Asian/malay Desserts

One of my favourite hobbies is baking western and making Asian desserts and that is why I get frequent requests to make sweet or savoury goodies for a gathering or a function.

When I was learning about baking and making desserts, I dedicated a day in the week, when I was not working, to learn and to try different recipes. At the end of the year, I would have done 52 different new recipes, and usually at weekends I would drop in on some friends or relatives with these goodies.

It made me really happy to see their gratified faces when they tasted the goodies. The ones that usually get the top votes, are the Asian traditional Malay desserts which are probably still less known amongst foodies in US, Europe or Australia.

If you are a foodie and you can go weak with chocolates and cheesecake, you will want to know about these desserts which we call Malay kuihs. They originate from the deep villages of Indonesia and Malaysia and have now emerged in big cities and served at hotels and restaurants.

While many people enjoy eating them, very few know how to make them and what ingredients go into these delicious and delicate desserts. If you think that chocolate cakes, cheesecakes, moist puddings and fudgy brownies are the ultimate sinful foods, you have been deprived!

Malay kuihs use basic ingredients from flour made from yam or tapioca or beans, and a good measure of palm sugar and coconut - either as grated coconut or milk. These days coconut milk is substituted with cream or fresh milk for dietary reason. The kicker is in combining different flours and create layers of different tastes and colours.

In those days, the old womenfolks were resourceful in creating desserts for the family as afternoon snack and these kuihs also made use of fruits such as bananas, sweet potatoes or jackfruit.

You can get these recipes on the internet but many of the authentic ones are limited and written in Malay language. Allow me to share one favourite recipe of mine called Kuih Ondeh-Ondeh Keledek. Made largely from sweet potato, the ball is stuffed with melted palm sugar and rolled into grated coconut. Deliciously moist when you bite into
the goeey filling.


625g white sweet potatoes (steamed till tender)
3 tbsp thick pandan juice (squeezed from pandan leaf or screwpine leaf)
2 tbsp tapioca flour
2 tbsp wheat flour
125g palm sugar or gula melaka, crushed
2 tsp granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
ΒΌ of a large coconut (to grate without skin)

Method: Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Peel the sweet potatoes and mash well. Then mix the pandan juice and sifted flours. Knead into a smooth dough. Roll dessert spoonfuls of dough and flatten.
Mix together both the granulated sugar and the palm sugar. Place a piece of sugar mixture in the center of the dough ball. Join opposite ends together, press slightly and roll into a ball. Drop into boiling water and cook till they float. Drain. Mix together the grated coconut and salt on a tray or flat plate. Roll in the cooked kuih altogether and pack in the grated coconut till the external is covered.

Serve when it is cooler otherwise the melted hot palm sugar will burn your tongue.

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About The Author, Noraini Maskuri
Get 5 free Malay Desserts Recipes at Noraini Maskuri is the author of 101 Traditional Malay Kuih Recipes. Click on the link to get your very own kuih recipe book. Noraini Maskuri is an advertising professional who is also trained in bakery, a food enthusiast and likes to share her love for east/west cooking and baking. Visit her blog at and download a free chicken cookbook as well.