Kuih koci is a bite-sized rice dumpling with a chewy mochi-like skin made of glutinous rice flour, and a filling of inti kelapa (shredded coconut sweetened with gula melaka, or palm sugar). It’s one of the many traditional snacks/desserts, or kuih (kuih-muih, in Malay) that can be found in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Since I like all kinds of mochi, it’s no surprise that kuih koci is one of my favourite kuih!
Kuih koci come in different colours, such as deep purple (made with black glutinous rice flour), green (from pandan juice) or blue (from butterfly pea flowers).
Once the kuih koci skin is filled with the shredded coconut and sealed, it’s placed in the middle of a small rectangular piece of banana leaf, which is then folded over on the long edge from both sides, and then the short edges are tucked underneath. Or, the style I personally prefer is to wrap it into a cone.
I had just purchased some butterfly pea flower powder, which saved me from having to soak the fresh flowers in water in order to extract the colour. I just added in the powder and got this lovely blue-hued kuih koci.
These kuih are so yummy and addictive! I didn’t make the coconut filling too sweet, which is how my family and I like it. However, because it’s not overly sweet, you may find yourself popping one piece after another into your mouth!
If you can’t get enough of chewy mochi snacks, make sure to also check out Pumpkin Mochi and Pumpkin Mochi Ice Cream, and if you like gula melaka-sweetened coconut, do give these yummy Coconut Swirl Buns a try!
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KUIH KOCI (Yield: 18-20 pieces)
Coconut filling (makes about 415g):
300g freshly grated coconut
150g gula melaka, chopped into small pieces
3 pandan leaves, cut into 3″ sections
75 ml water
1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp water
1/8 teaspoon salt
Mochi skin (makes about 480g):
225g glutinous rice flour
25g tapioca flour
7g (~1/2 Tbsp) sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp butterfly pea flower powder (or other natural colour powder)
120 ml coconut milk
100 ml water
1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
18-20 pieces banana leaves, 6″x 8″ (15 x 20 cm)
1. Make the coconut filling first by combining gula melaka, pandan leaves and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil while stirring to dissolve the gula melaka.
2. Add grated coconut and salt. Mix and cook until water has evaporated, about 5 minutes (mixture will still be moist).
3. Add cornstarch mixture. Stir for about 2-3 minutes to cook out the starch.
4. Transfer to a bowl, discard pandan leaves and set aside to cool (Optional: you may want to place it in the refrigerator to cool further, which makes it easier to form into balls).
5. Blanch banana leaves in boiling water for about 30 seconds, until softened. Remove, wipe the leaves clean with a wet cloth and dry with paper towels. Then use a brush to lightly oil the surface of each leaf.
6. Place glutinous rice flour, tapioca flour, sugar, salt and butterfly pea flower powder into a large bowl.
7. Heat coconut milk over low heat in a small pot until just boiling, then pour into the bowl. Use a rubber spatula to combine into a crumbly mixture.
8. Add water, stir to mix, then using your hand, knead into a soft, pliable dough. (Instead of adding the 100 ml of water all at once, I suggest adding in about 50 ml first, then slowly add in the rest, while kneading. If it’s already the right texture, you may not need all the water; if it’s too dry, add a little bit more water, a teaspoon at a time).
9. Add oil and knead to incorporate it into the dough.
10. Divide the dough into 25g pieces and roll into balls. Place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap.
11. Roll the coconut filling into 20g balls.
12. Take a piece of dough, flatten it with your hands, place a ball of coconut filling inside, seal it well and roll into a ball.
13. Fold a banana leaf into a cone shape (oiled surface inside), place the filled ball of dough inside, gently press it down. Fold in the shortest side, then fold over from the left side, followed by the right side. Finally, fold over the last (and longest) side, and tuck the end into the pocket at the bottom. Place on a plate or tray.
14. Repeat steps 12 and 13 for the rest of the kuih.
15. Prepare a steamer pot with water, bring to a boil. Then turn heat down to medium low.
16. Place kuih in steamer rack, spaced at least 1″ apart. Set over boiling water and steam for about 15 minutes.
17. Remove kuih to a plate and let cool before eating.
Notes: The coconut filling can be prepared a day or two in advance, stored in a tightly sealed container and kept in the refrigerator until ready to use. Kuih koci is best enjoyed fresh, at room temperature, the day it’s made. However, if you have leftovers, they can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. Once cold, the skin on the kuih hardens, so they will need to be heated up. You can steam them for a few minutes on low heat, or microwave for about 45 seconds – just until the skin is soft again. Do not remove the banana leaves until you’ve heated them up and are ready to eat them.
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