Kuih Cara Berlauk (Savoury Bites)

It’s been a while since I made kuih (also spelled kueh; or kuih-muih, in Malay), which refers to a broad range of bite-sized traditional snacks and desserts found in Malaysia and Singapore.  The thing is, I’m out of pandan leaves, which is required in most kuih recipes, but I’ve been too lazy to go across town to the nearest Asian supermarket that I know sells them.

Instead, I was flipping through my The Way of Kueh book, to see if there was anything I could possibly make with the ingredients I had on hand.  Kuih Cara Berlauk caught my eye, not only because it’s a savoury kuih, which I especially like, but also because it utilizes basic pantry ingredients, all of which I already had.

And, I also have the proper pan to make them!  As you can see from the photos, the pan is sort of similar to a madeleine pan, but with deeper depressions.  I also have another pan with flower-shaped moulds, used for Kuih Bahulu, which I could’ve also used for these kuih.  I bought both of these pans in Malaysia.  But you could just as easily make these pretty kuih in a mini muffin pan!

Kuih Cara Berlauk consists of minced (ground) meat in a pancake-type batter, topped with red chillies, green onions and Chinese celery leaves, and garnished with crispy fried shallots.

Beef is more commonly used, although I went with chicken.  I didn’t have Chinese celery leaves so I just substituted with cilantro.  I also added 1/4 teaspoon more turmeric powder.  Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly, and it turned out really well!  The meat is especially delicious.  I think it would make a fantastic stir-fry to go with rice, or another tasty filling option for my stuffed Roti Jala!  I did find that the cooked batter was a little on the bland side, so I’ve increased the amount of salt in my recipe to 1 teaspoon from the original 2/3 teaspoon.  I also adapted the recipe for cooking in the oven instead of the stovetop.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to get your feedback, so share your comments below.  Don’t forget to take a photo, tag it @divinelydelish on Instagram and hashtag it #divinelydelish 🙂

(Adapted from The Way of Kueh)

KUIH CARA BERLAUK (makes 32-36 pieces)

Ingredients:

Filling:

200g minced beef or chicken
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon chilli powder
2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ginger, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon oil
110g onions, diced
1 small red or green chilli, finely chopped
2 teaspoons curry leaves, finely chopped

Batter:

200g cake flour
3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
350g coconut milk
125g water
1 teaspoon salt
115g (2 extra large) eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon oil
1/16 teaspoon baking soda

Toppings:

sliced red chillies
green onions
Chinese celery leaves (or cilantro)

3 tablespoons oil, for frying
crispy fried shallots, for garnish

Instructions:

1. In a bowl, combine the meat, curry and chilli powders, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper. Mix well. Cover and let marinate in the fridge for 4 to 8 hours.

2. Sift cake flour and turmeric powder into a bowl.

3. In another bowl, whisk coconut milk, water, salt, eggs and oil until smooth.

4. Slowly pour coconut milk mixture into flour, while continuing to stir with a whisk. Mix until batter is evenly blended. Strain batter, pushing any lumps through the sieve. Cover and let rest for 1 hour at cool room temperature.

5. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and fry, stirring until softened and starting to brown.

6. Add chilli and curry leaves, fry for 30 seconds.

7. Add meat and fry, breaking it up, until aromatic and lightly browned, but not dry. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

8. Place oven rack at bottom of oven. Preheat oven to 400F (204C).

9. Lightly brush kuih pan with oil, then place in oven for a few minutes.

10. Whisk baking soda into batter.

11. Take pan out of oven, fill about 80% full, then place back in oven for 1 minute.

12. Take pan out, spoon a little filling into each hollow, then put some toppings on and lightly press them into the batter. Loosely cover with a piece of foil paper, and place back in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until kuih are fully set and the bottoms are pale golden. Use a skewer to remove the kuih.

13. After each batch, lightly brush pan with oil and heat in the oven for a few minutes again before repeating the procedure.

14. Garnish with crispy fried shallots. Best served warm.

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