Remember last week I attempted to make kue putu? I tried to mimic what the traditional sellers seem to do (they cook the cakes as people order, because kue putu are best eaten warm), to no avail. The rice granules didn't cook properly even after 45 minutes of steaming. Problem was, the dough was too dry.
Then I tried to cheat, creating something that taste quite like kue putu but with a totally different method and ingredients. Which was quite good, but didn't taste exactly like kue putu. And I chose not to settle with it.
I went to my copies of grandma's recipe journals, looking for clues, and there it was! Step 1: steam the flour for approximately 15 minutes. It did the trick.
Kue Putu (Steamed Rice Cake with Palm Sugar Filling)
for the cakes:
100 gr rice flour
1/8 tsp salt
30 ml boiling water
40 ml water (room temperature)
pandan paste (optional)
25 gr palm sugar, broken into 12 pieces
palm sugar sauce:
50 gr palm sugar
1 Tbsp water
shredded coconut + a pinch of salt, to serve
to make the cakes:
1. In a bowl, steam rice flour for 15-20 minutes. Turn steamer off but keep the flour in the steamer to cool down, approximately 30-60 minutes. Just until it is cool enough to handle, actually.
2. Take flour out from steamer. Add salt and pour boiling water. Mix with a spoon until it becomes lumpy. Add the rest of water and pandan paste (if using). Knead the dough until it becomes pliable.
3. Force dough through a sieve to get (granular? wet sand-y?) something like the picture below (not sure how to describe, sorry folks).
4. Line bolu kukus cups with mini cupcake paper liners. Add 1 tsp of dough into each mould. Add 1 piece of palm sugar in the center of each. Top with 1 tsp of dough, or more to completely cover the palm sugar piece.
5. Smooth the cake tops and steam for 15 minutes on high heat. About every 5 minutes, open steamer and sprinkle the cakes with some water (this is optional, but quite suggested to make sure you don't get any uncooked dry dough in the cakes). If they don't fit altogether in the steamer, it's okay - these cakes can wait. You can steam them in batches.
6. While the cakes are steaming, toss shredded coconut with salt and spread on a plate. When the cakes are ready, take out from steamer and peel the paper liner while warm (they stick to the cake when cooled). Roll in shredded coconut.
to make palm sugar sauce:
1. Grate or dice the palm sugar. Add 1 Tbsp of water and microwave for 10 seconds. Smooth out remaining lumps with a spoon. Add more water if you find the sauce too thick to your liking. Don't worry if it looks a bit runny, it will thicken a bit upon cooling.
Serve the cakes with abundant salted shredded coconut (if you really want it to be how the street sellers do it in Indonesia, steam or moisten the shredded coconut a bit so it looks like freshly grated), and drizzles of palm sugar sauce. Worry about waistline later, this is new year celebration after all.
That being said, happy new year everyone! Wish you all a very awesome year ahead, a life as sweet as palm sugar sauce and adventures as savoury as coconuts!