I have prepared these a few days ago and I am rushing out the recipe tonight though I am very tired. My rationale is very simple, some readers may need a huat kuih recipe before Chinese New Year.
Huat Kuih means prosperous cake and in my childhood time, all the huat kuihs are rice based, meaning either you ground your own normal rice or used the rice flour. However, in west Malaysia and Singapore there is another version that uses self raising flour. Personally I prefer the rice flour huat kuih which is more spongy and have a unique rice aroma. Having said that, rice flour huat kuih are more difficult to “smile” as compared to the self raising flour version. The uniqueness of this recipe is it uses both rice flour and self raising flour in equal portion. It therefore yields huat kuih that are rice flavoured and spongier than self raising flour.
This huat kuih is very trendy in Taiwan possibly in the last 2 years. Unsure who is the one who created the name wuxing for these huat kuih, what is needed is huat kuih of 5 colours for praying. If you are unsure of what is wuxing, it the the basic 5 elements (metal, earth, fire, wood and water) in our daily lives (金木水火土） that either will complement or reject our daily doings. I am not in a position to explain more about these feng shui type of terminology and if you are interested in understand these 5 important elements in our daily lives, you can refer to Wiki’s definition: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_Xing.
They believed that it is auspicious to have 5 coloured huat kuih during praying but as far as I am concerned, there is no harm to try these combo if you need huat kuih for praying. Having said that, there is no definition on the colour of huat kuih that corresponds to these important 5 elements. It seems that every one is using its own colour and therefore, you are free to choose your own colour.
As for the colouring, of course you can use permitted food colouring but in this illustration, I have used all natural colour alternatives except the blue colour. I know blue peas flower will work well in steamed cake especially when it is with white batter. Since I do not have any blue peas flower, i have use a small drop of Wilton colouring for the effect. My intention is to show readers you can use blue pea flower for the colouring. My suggested natural colouring alternatives are:
- White – original
- Black – Charcoal powder, black sesame powder
- Red – Red yeast rice powder or beet root juice (add lemon)
- Green – Matcha powder or pandan juice or spinach juices
- Blue – Blue pea flower
- Chocolate – chocolate powder, coffee paste
- Yellow – custard powder or pumpkin puree or sweet potatoes puree
- Orange – carrot puree
- Purple – Purple sweet potatoes powder
If you looked at some recipes, you will be “amazed” by the quantity of baking powder used. For the same recipe, people used up to almost 12 grams of baking powder. While I do not condemn the use of baking powder, but for that quantity, i doubt it is edible since it can become bitter.. may be that is me and I will drop this type of recipe. With rice flour, since it is much more difficult to smile, therefore, yeast is added as a raising agent too. In addition, it also help to provide some yeast flavour that complement with the rice flavour.
Whatever type of natural colouring you used, priority will be given to powder form. If you are using puree form or juices form, you may need to add in a teaspoon of flour to improve the batter consistency. Mind you, huat kuih is very sensitive to the flour to liquid ratio, a small changes will result huat kuih that refused to smile. On the other hand, for powdery alternatives such as black sesame powder, it can become too dry if too much powder is added. Therefore, may be a teaspoon of water will need to be added to improve the consistency.
Because of this step of adding natural colouring, my experience shows that not all will smile equally. Some are more “reserved” yet some are very “happy”.. The only explanation i can offer is the consistency of the batter. Therefore, it is imperative that you took the consistency into the preparation.
WHAT IS RQUIRED
Servings: about 6 muffins size huat kuih
- 100 grams of rice flour
- 100 grams of self raising flour
- 100 grams of castor sugar
- 175 grams of lukewarm water
- 5 grams of instant yeast
- Some natural colouring as suggested above.
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- In a big mixing bowl, put the yeast, rice flour, sugar and self raising flour. Stir until well mixed, pour the lukewarm water gradually, stir until it forms a thick batter. Set aside and let it proof for at least 45minutes to one hour.
- Get ready 5 bowls with 5 types of natural colouring. Priority should be given to powder form, followed by puree and juices form. For juices, please ensure it is less than one tablespoon. What you saw in the picture are: custard powder, red yeast rice powder, black sesame seeds, matcha powder and coffee powder.
- After proofing, bring a pot of water to boil .
- Divide the batter into 5-6 equal portions (6 portions if you wanted the original white colour). Stir until well mixed. Remember if the batter is too water because you use juices form, add a bit of flour such that the consistency is the same as the white batter.
- Transfer it to some cupcake cups or muffin tins and fill the cups with the batter until at least 95% full. Steam under high heat in the steamer for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre come out clean.
Personally, I prefer these huat kuihs than any huat kuih that uses wholly self raising flour. To me, huat kuih must be rice flavoured as I have been eating rice huat kuih since a very young age. If you want something new this year, you can give this recipe a try. Please remember that the batter cannot be too watery after you add in the puree and juices. If there is a need add a bit of self raising flour. If it is too dry, you can add half a spoon of water The consistency shall the same as the original white colour batter. Good luck and happy new year.
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