Koci, Goci, Kochi, Mendut, Lapek Bugis? I Am Confused–Pandan Kuih Koci (锥形香兰椰丝糯米滋)



I have the habit of checking Wikipedia for a definition of a cuisine because from the definition, one would know what is expected from the recipe and whether a recipe stated is acceptable or not. It may not be 100% correct but my experience shows that most of the time, it is a good reference point for recipes that I am going to blog.


I was very shocked to see a short definition of Kuih Koci in Wikipedia, English version. It was written:

“Kochi (also known as Passover cake in English) is a Malaysian dumpling (kuih) made from ground unpolished glutinous rice. For the Eurasians in Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore, this snack is often sold at funerals. The black colour of the unpolished rice symbolises death, while the sweet filling represents resurrection.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kochi_(kuih))


I never knew that this cake have such an implicit meaning.. and I don’t recall ever read it elsewhere. But in the Wikipedia, Bahasa Malaysia version, it was written in details that :

Kuih koci merupakan sejenis kuih tradisional yang popular di Malaysia, Indonesia, dan Singapura. Kuih ini diperbuat dari tepung pulut dan mempunyai inti kelapa manis bercampur gula nisan (Gula Melaka) di dalamnya. Di Malaysia ia popular terutama di kawasan Pantai Timur iaitu di Kelantan dan Terengganu. Ia kemudiannya disalut dengan santan sebelum dibalut dengan daun pisang dan dihidangkan. Kuih koci ini agak lembut dan dibuat nyanyian “Ada sejenis kuih tiga segi…. Di luar tepung di dalamnya inti… Makanan orang tiada bergigi…” (Source: http://ms.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuih_koci)


Literally translated as:

“Kuih Koci is a type of traditional kuih which is popular in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. This kuih is made from glutinous rice flour and have sweet coconut fillings mixed with palm sugar. In Malaysia, it is especially popular in East Cost of Malaysia in the States of Kelantan and Trengganu. It is then coated with coconut milk wrapped in banana leaves before being served. This kuih is very soft and there is a song that talked about the kuih ; “There is a kind of triangular shaped kuih…. Outside is flour inside have fillings … A type of food for people whom have lose their teeth “


When I posted the pictures of kuih koci in an Indonesia food group asking the name of this particular kuih in Indonesia, the response was overwhelming, more than 100 comments at least.. The names that was used in this kuih was: koci, koci koci, goci, lapek bugis, mendut and if it was served with coconut milk, it was called  Puteri Mandi. Some claimed that it is their traditional cuisine uniquely in Indonesia…


Hmmm, I was confused… Is it not all regional cuisines are interrelated ?… If readers studied the ingredients of this cake carefully, you will note that there are very similar with red tortoise cake or angku kuih, Japanese mochi, Hainanese Yi bua…It is just some sweet fillings wrapped by some glutinous rice dough and prepared in different shape or with different colour and served differently. Such variations is logical due to localization of regional ingredients and I presumed that Thai, Philippines and Vietnamese will also have similar type of cakes since glutinous rice flour is commonly found in these countries.. Even the name koci, mochi or Chinese called glutionous rice cake 糯米滋 (nuomichi) are all end with the syllable “ci” or “chi”… Are they related??


Not a difficult kuih to prepare. For the shape, you can either use the shape in this illustration and a search of the internet will show you numerous other shapes available..



Recipe adapted from: Kuih Koci Recipe, Penang Nyonya Kuih 

Servings: About 10 Medium sized Kuih Koci



  • 250 grams of grated coconut
  • 200 grams of palm sugar
  • 60 grams or ml of thick coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of corn starch (with one tablespoon of water)
  • Pinches of salt
  • Some knotted pandan leaves (not in picture)



  • 150g glutinous rice flour
  • 50g tapioca flour
  • 180 grams or ml thin coconut milk (santan)
  • Pinches of salt
  • Drops of pandan paste (optional)




  • In a pan, melt the palm sugar with the coconut milk and pandan leaves, add salt and bring to boil. Once boiled, add the grated coconut milk, stir until well mixed. Add the corn starch and stir until the fillings start to dry up.  Set aside for cooling before wrapping.


This is a rather moist filling. If you prefer drier filling, omit the coconut milk, squeeze dry the grated coconut, melt the palm sugar and add the squeezed grated coconut.  You will get a rather dry coconut filling for the kuih. The colour of the filling will also be darker but it will also depends on the grade of gula Melaka used. Some are darker and some are lighter.


  • Scald the banana leaves in some hot water.. Cut the banana leaves into a rectangle of about 3” x 4” or sizes that you are comfortable with the wrapping. Grease the banana leaves with some cooking oil. Set aside.

  • Heat the thin coconut milk and a pandan paste in the microwave for one minute until it is hot. If you do not have a microwave, you can do so over the stove. The main aim is to have some warm to hot coconut milk.

  • Put the glutinous rice flour, tapioca flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Use a pair of the chopstick to stir the flour until well mixed. Gradually add the hot coconut milk .


  • Initially, use the chopstick to continue to stir until some crumbs. Once your hand can handle the hot to warm dough, use hand to knead until a pliable dough. Take a dough (in this illustration, I used about 35 grams), shape round, use hand to flatten it and put a spoonful of coconut filling on top of the dough. If the dough are too wet, add glutinous rice flour tablespoon by tablespoon and if too dry, add water teaspoon by teaspoon.


  • Seal the edges of the dough and slightly shape into a cone shape. Take a banana leave, shape into a cone, put the dough inside the banana leaves. Seal the bottom of the cone but pressing the banana leaves towards the dough. Put in the steamer tray and steam under high heat for about 10-15 minutes. Best served as a snack  with or without thick coconut milk.



This is a nice, tasty aromatic kuih and I am still confused about the origin of the kuih..I will leave it to the readers to decide.. Is it Eurasian? Nonya? Malay? or influenced by Chinese Yee Bua or Japanese Mochi? In my humble opinion, all regional cuisines are all intertwined and that is how food history evolved…


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


(updated as at 15 October 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.