Penyaram, Pinjaram or Kue Cucur Gula Merah (UFO Kuih, Mexican Hats)



This is a niche recipe, basically it is a recipe that is well liked by East Malaysians and Indonesians. In fact, some tourist bought this kuih as a souvenir when the visited Sarawak.


Apparently, there are a number of name to this special deep fried cake. Sarawakian called it penyaram , Sabahan called it pinjaram and some called it Cucur Jawa or Cucur Gula Merah.. Nicknames include Kuih UFO or Mexican Hats.


As per Wikipedia, 

“Pinjaram or also known as Penyaram or Kuih UFO is a traditional kuih for the Bajau as well for the Bruneian Malay people in Brunei  and in the states of Sabah in East Malaysia.”

The recipe is rather simple, basically comprises rice flour, palm sugar and some water. Though the steps look easy and ingredients look simple, the deep frying process can be a challenge. For the initial half of the recipe, I did not successfully get the shape..Only after trial and error, I managed to get the so called UFO shape with half of the leftover batter. Therefore, heat control and shape of wok appeared to be of paramount important in this recipe and I have purposely bought a small wok for this purpose..


The theoretical shape and texture shall be : Round shape , crispy by the sides which is slightly higher. In the middle, it has a small hill of which the inside is full of airy holes and resulted in the chewy texture. It should be brownish in colour, sweet and full of palm sugar aroma.  In this illustration, the centre part appeared to be rather “hilly” and those sold were not as hilly as this.



Servings: About 10-12 Penyaram depends on size


  • 125 grams of plain flour
  • 125 grams of rice flour
  • 250 grams gula apong or gula Melaka or gula merah
  • 250 ml of water



PicMonkey Collage1

  • Melt the palm sugar and water in a pot. In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, sift in the rice flour and plain flour. Add the warm syrup and use a spatula to mix until it form a batter. Transfer to the stand mixer, gradually increase the speed to maximum and beat the batter for at least 20 minutes, Your eyes may not be able to spot the difference, if you use your hand to feel,  you can feel that the batter will become thicker due to the formation of some gluten and air being introduced. Once done, let it rest for at least 1/2 hour.

PicMonkey Collage

  • Heat up a pot of hot oil using high heat, pour about 1/8 cups or 2-3 tablespoons of the batter into the hot oil at the centre of the small wok.  Wait until the cake floats upwards and turns brownish. Please ensure that the sides has properly curl upwards before flipping.  Use a satay stick to pick on the middle to take out the kuih. Drain in kitchen towel before serving.


  • It is advisable to get a small wok with a diameter of about 8 inches. Without such a wok, the shape may turn out to funny.




This recipe provides a chewy and spongy texture of kuih penyaram which I am looking for. Unlike other recipes that need to rest a few hours or overnight, I have decided to use the method of beating the batter. The texture is good though the shape still need to have more practise. I hope this recipe will help readers who are locating for this recipe..


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.



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