When I prepared this Nonya Kueh, I was unsure about its name. After my preparation, I started to Google for the name, I typed in the name “nonya Kuih” and perform an image search. I saw one image that looked quite similar to the kuih that I have prepared, tracing back to the source, it was labelled as “Pulut Tai Tai” – literally translated as “Mrs’ Glutinous Rice Cake”.
After my picture taking, I posted in a few Groups, that is when the confusion comes it. Some called it Pulut Tekan literally translated as “Pressed Glutinous Rice Cake”. In the Peranakan Facebook Group, some members said that it was called Pulut Tekan for the Melaka Peranakan community and the Penang Peranakan said that it should be called Pulut Tai Tai….Then another member said that in Singapore, the Peranakan called it “Pulut Tata or Tatal”…..
Hmmmm, it is really too many names that it confused me… But for this post, I will stick to the special name of Pulut Tai Tai. Until now, I am still unsure how the name Pulut Tai Tai arises, and if any readers know about the origin, I would be appreciate if you can share with me.
This is a cake prepared from glutinous rice and served with the sweet and aromatic screw pine coconut jam. Traditionally, the glutinous rice was steamed and pressed until as compact as possible. It was served with a scoop of kaya (screw pine coconut jam).
With the advent of modern kitchen technology, I have used rice cooker to cook the glutinous rice and this had cut short the preparation time tremendously. As for the kaya, I have resorted to outsource from the stores for this illustration. However, if you want to know how to make the coconut jam, I do have a simple, quick and easy recipe here: Coconut Pandanus Jam/Pandan Kaya (香兰加耶酱）
This cake is still not perfect as far as I am concerned. It is still not as compact as what I desired. As for the colour of blue pea flower, I would hope to have a darker blue shade. However, as I can only get a small handful of about 20 flowers from the neighbourhood of which I have reserved 5 for my picture taking.. therefore effectively, I only used 15 flowers. However, in order to get a nice darker share, at least 30 flowers are required.
Don’t doubt about the colouring of this kuih, it is natural colouring from the famous blue pea flower or “bunga telang” as in Bahasa Malaysia. Juices from this flower were extracted and used in the preparation of many Peranakan cuisines. As per Wikipedia:
“Clitoria ternatea, common names including butterfly-pea, blue-pea, and cordofan-pea, is a plant species belonging to the Fabaceae family. The flowers of this vine have the shape of human female genitals, hence the Latin name of the genus “Clitoria“, from “clitoris“. (Synonyms: Clitoris principissae.). In Southeast Asia the flowers are used to colour food. In Malay cooking, an aqueous extract is used to colour glutinous rice for kuih ketan (also known as pulut tai tai in Peranakan/Nyonya cooking) and in nyonya chang. In Kelantan it is used to colour white rice for Nasi Kerabu..” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clitoria_ternatea)
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: Prepared about a tray of 6”x6” square tray of Pulut Tai Tai
2 cups of glutinous rice
100 ml of coconut milk (dilute with water until it becomes 2 cups of diluted coconut milk)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of screw pine coconut jam or Kaya
30 blue pea flowers or bunga telang
6 leaves of screw pine or Pandanus
STEPS OF PREPARATION
Line a 6” square baking tray with waterproof baking paper or cellophane sheet or lightly grease the tin with cooking oil.
Wash the glutinous rice, add in 2 cups of diluted coconut milk (from 100 ml of thick concentrated coconut milk), add pinches of salt, the Pandanus leaves and cook in the rice cooker under the “sticky rice” function. If your rice cooker do not have such function, just use normal rice function and cook for 1 cycle. In this case, your steaming time at the later stage will have to be slightly longer.
While the rice cooking, pound the blue pea flower in a mortar. Add in 2-3 tablespoon of water to extract the juice. Of course, you can use any way possible to extract the flower colouring.
Just before the glutinous rice is cooked, pour the pea flower extract to one part of the rice. Let it continue to cook until the cycle is over. Once over, let it rest in the rice cooker for another 10-15 minutes. It is okay that the blue flower extract is not cook here as the main role is for colouring part of the rice. It will be cooked in the next step of simple steaming. This is the cut short method. You can always use the extract to colour one cup of the uncooked rice and cook separately for the white colour and blue colour of rice. If this is the case, you will need to cook 2 cycles.
Take out the rice from the rice cooker, divide into two portions – the white and the blue portion. Put the white portion of the rice on the bottom, press hard and until as compact as possible. You can press using your hand or a spoon or any gadgets available. Transfer the blue coloured rice on top of the white coloured rice. Press as hard, as compact and as level as possible. Steam in a steamer for another 5-10 minutes. The purpose of this step is for further binding.
After steaming, cool completely and cut into your desire sizes. Put some kaya (screw pine coconut jam) on top of the rice cake before serving. Best serve as a snack for teatime.
This is a simple easy peasy recipe for you to try out.. Nothing to shout about.
Though simple, I am sure most of your family members or your guests will be impressed by what you have done.
Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.
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