Kuih Bangkit (Malaysian Coconut Biscuits)

February 3, 2010


I love Chinese New Year! Being a lover and student of ancient history and religious studies, it remains one of my favourite holidays along with Christmas and Easter. Year after year, I revel in the ritual, the colour and the red packets of money (heh). The heart of CNY isn’t just the strange superstitions (no housework and no washing hair – woohoo!) but it’s in the food… of course!

Traditional kuih bangkit molds


I admit that my family isn’t as intensely celebratory or ritualistic in their Chinese New Year fare. We are actually rather casual about it all with a simple dinner here and there. Heck, I’m still a little clueless about Chinese New Year dishes but I do remember the biscuits!

Cooking the tapioca flour with pandan


I’m not sure whether it’s just a Malaysian/Singaporean thing, but we really love eating sweet biscuits at this time of year. And living in Australia is a huge barrier for those who are homesick for the exquisiteness of pineapple tarts, peanut cookies and one of my favourites, coconut tapioca biscuits or kuih bangkit (aka kueh bangkit).

They don’t look great but they sure tasted good


I’ve never made any of these before but I promised myself I’ll learn this year so I give you my inaugural Chinese New Year effort! Kuih Bangkit are heavenly little morsels of coconut cookies that have the most unusual texture. The perfect kuih bangkit has to be dry and crispy but light as a feather and almost ‘hollow’ sounding when you tap it. And with every bite, the kuih bangkit cookie has to crumble and melt on your tongue into a delectable pile of squeaky coconuttiness. Bliss! But this perfection doesn’t come without trials. Though they’re easy to make, they are a bitch to perfect.

Gorgeous intricate carvings on the wooden molds (my favourite is always the flowery designs)


Kuih Bangkit can be shaped from cookie cutters, however I’m lucky enough to be in possession of the traditional wooden molds that house the most beautiful and intricate carvings. Nowadays passing through such wooden items through Australian customs would be next to impossible so I couldn’t be more thankful to The Mother, who brought it over from Malaysia back in 1991. But for those without it, you can try and source some plastic versions from Asian grocery stores that also stock mooncake molds (Sydneysiders, your best bet is Cabramatta) or Ebay. If not, cookie cutters will still work.

Molding the kuih bangkit


Since this is my first time making it, I went in blind and plucked a random recipe from the air of the interwebs and in this case, Nasi Lemak Lover. And it wasn’t too bad but the texture wasn’t quite right as they were a little hard, crunchy, not melty enough and they cracked a little after they were baked. But at least it didn’t turn out to be toothbreaking bricks.

Knocking out the kuih bangkit out of the molds


As for the taste…it was rather authentic for pre-packaged coconut milk. Kuih Bangkit will never be as good without the milk from freshly grated coconut flesh but it’s my burden to bear living in a country where fresh coconuts and a coconut grater are rare finds indeed.


If you have to use pre-made coconut milk or cream, I highly recommend Kara branded tetrapaks for everything. Other brands just don’t stack up for flavour and don’t even think about using coconut powder mixed with water! If you have the time, maybe you could source some frozen packs of grated coconut flesh from Asian grocers and and squeeze out some fresh coconut milk for yourself? I guarantee you the kuih bangkit will be taken up a whole new delicious stratosphere!

One of the better brands of coconut milk and cream


In any case, this recipe isn’t perfect especially without using fresh coconut but it’ll soothe the cravings nicely for Chinese New Year and I don’t think I did too badly for my first go. I definitely can’t complain since I’ve been deprived of these beautiful things for too long and to eat something that was close to it was pure unadulterated pleasure. My search for the perfect kuih bangkit recipe continues so feel free to leave me your recipes, criticism, tips and recommendations!

Molded and uncooked kuih bangkit

 

Kuih Bangkit (Malaysian Coconut Biscuits)
Adapted from this recipe. For tips and answers please refer back to the original recipe.
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Ingredients
  1. 260g tapioca flour
  2. 4 screwpine (pandan) leaves, cut into thirds
  3. 1 egg yolk
  4. 85g icing sugar
  5. 70-80ml coconut milk (adjust accordingly)
  6. pinch of salt
  7. Red food colouring and toothpick to decorate
Instructions
  1. 1. Stir fry tapioca flour with pandan leaves in a clean wok or large flat frypan for 75 mins over low flame, until the flour is very light (prepare yourself for a flour-covered kitchen!), slightly yellow tinged and the pandan leaves are crispy. The final weight I had was around 210g. (FYI, you might like to cook a little extra flour on the side and save it for dusting of molds/cookie cutters).
  2. 2. Cool flour over a couple of days. I left it to cool to room temperature, then stored it into an airtight jar and cooled it in the fridge.
  3. 3. Preheat oven to 160°C. Whisk egg yolk until creamy, add in icing sugar and add about 35-40ml of the coconut milk and whisk to combine.
  4. 4. In a mixing bowl, sift in the tapioca flour and add in the egg mixture.
  5. 5. Slowly and gradually add in the balance of the coconut milk into the mixture little by little, mixing by hand until mixture clings together to form a stiff dough that’s smooth, pliable and neither too wet nor dry.
  6. 6. Dust a Bangkit mould lightly with extra cooked flour, take a knub of dough and press into the mold but not too hard or it might stick. With a knife, trim excess dough and level. Angle the mould at 45° to the bench and knock the mold to remove dough. Repeat with remaining dough. Have some toothpicks on hand to scrape out any dough stuck to the crevices of the mold.
  7. Note: I found that my dough wasn’t that sticky so I didn’t really need to dust the mold after the 1st initial dusting.
  8. 7. Bake for for 25 mins or until biscuits are fully cooked through. Cool on wire racks. When cooled, use a toothpick to dot red food colouring onto the centre of the ‘flowers’ and the eyes of the ‘animal’ shapes. Store in an airtight container in a cool and dry place.
Notes
  1. 1. If you don’t have the molds, roll or pat out the dough to a 1 to 1.5 cm thickness and cut shapes out of it. Remember the thicker your shapes, the longer it’ll take to bake.
  2. 2. Set aside extra coconut milk to add in dough when dough turned dry and extra flour for dusting. Alternatively I covered the bowl with a damp (not wet) tea towel to stop the dough from drying out.
  3. 3. Do not try to shorten the cooking time of the flour. We want to get rid of the raw flour taste.
  4. 4. Different ovens behave differently, which’ll affect the baking time of your cookies. So you’ll might need to experiment by baking a couple of cookies first. Test a cookie by biting into it. If it’s not cooked, then return to the oven and then check again after a short period of time. Rotate the tray each time to ensure even cooking. The insides should be fully cooked without any soft, ‘doughy’ bits.
Citrus and Candy http://www.citrusandcandy.com/

 


{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Lise Lotz July 30, 2012 at 21:00

Hi,

The moulds I ordered after seeing this blogpost have just been delivered to me in Copenhagen, Denmark, and I can hardly wait to go ahead and try the recipe! The cookies look amazing and yet fairly simple. When having the mould!

Thanks for the informative pictures and instructions. I’m sure my cookies will be perfect!

Lise
Lise Lotz recently posted..Tarta de Santiago – en pilgrimskage

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Tina April 3, 2012 at 01:50

I have been searching for a cookie recipe that the Vietnamese stores sell…I think this is very similar to that. Going to have to try, cookies loos good. Glad I stumbled upon your blog.

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JJ Lim January 14, 2012 at 14:24

Why is my kueh bangkit turned rubbery and hard. I’ve followed your receipt

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Citrus and Candy January 18, 2012 at 17:45

Please refer back to the original recipe and blog for any tips or answers. Thanks!

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Linda Tang January 30, 2011 at 15:24

Hello,

I've ordered the http://www.bakingfrenzy.com/wooden-kuih-bangkit-m… target=”_blank”> kuih bangkit mould . I am going to try out the recipe in the next few day. Thanks for sharing the recipes and the detail instructions. Your blog is very infomative… even better than a cookbook!

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nicole December 22, 2010 at 03:26

how come it was really really hard and not melt at all as it has to be .is ur recipe???

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citrusandcandy December 22, 2010 at 03:53

Hi Nicole, no it's not my recipe. I got the recipe from the blog Nasi Lemak Lover. Check out her comment above for extra tips. The secret is using freshly squeezed coconut milk. It'll never be as good using tinned or boxed milk. But I'll keep trying and experimenting to get it right :)

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Vejinn September 16, 2010 at 16:41

Try adding more egg yolk

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degarfs February 19, 2010 at 06:20

does anyone knows where to get the mold in australia? i hv tried search in ebay but no luck

also, i have tried 2 batches and failed. why is my bangkit not soft and does not really melt?

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NasiLemakLover February 12, 2010 at 14:00

Hi, noticed that you did not add in Sago flour and you must also use freshly squeeze coconut milk, and from the photo, your dough is a bit hard, this is like the 1st time I did, actually you can add more coconut milk if you feel the dough is hard. Anyway, this is a good trying and good post.

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degarfs February 19, 2010 at 06:33

hi there, how can my bangkit be soft and melting? i made 2 batches and failed. is there something i did wrong?

and how can i find this mold in australia as i couldnt find them in ebay

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Yas @ h.d.e. February 7, 2010 at 11:13

Ahh this is so great! Love knowing traditions from other cultures! and beautifully done!

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:31

Thank you Yas! Have you ever tried them before?

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@vanillandlemon February 6, 2010 at 16:01

your kuih bangkit looks sooo exquisite! i dont really like kuih bangkit but the prettiness of it just makes me wanna try making some:)

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:31

Thanks so much! :)

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zurin February 6, 2010 at 15:06

beautiful…..last nite I baked some tapioca flour in teh oven and in 3 days time ill be making these!! my favourite cookies!!!! …they are realy unique in taste n texture that u cannot find in any other cookie………really special arent they? yours look so pretty!

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:28

They are very special! I love Malaysian cookies! I hope you are enjoying them as I speak :D

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Fiona February 5, 2010 at 08:16

Oh wow I was just looking up that brand of coconut milk. I love the moulds!

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:28

Thank you! :)

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wizzythestick February 5, 2010 at 00:17

Tapioca starch. Check! Freshly grated coconut milk. Check! Cute fancy moulds? Noooooooo:-(. These are gorgeous. I wish I had some. Can I use a cookie press?

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:27

It's not the end of the world – you can still make cookies out of the dough :)

I'm pretty sure that this cookie dough is sturdy enough to use a cookie press. I've read before that people have used it for kuih bangkit. Let me know how it turns out if you try it.

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penny aka jeroxie February 4, 2010 at 12:21

damnit. no moulds but I have mini mooncake moulds. wonder if that would work?

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:26

I don't see why not as long as the mini mooncake molds were small. Otherwise the cooking time would have to be adjusted. :)

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shaz February 4, 2010 at 11:51

Oh so envious of your moulds- my mum was too scared to bring them over the last time she visited in case they got confiscated! My kuih bangkit attempt cracked too..I can't be bothered to make more now, will try again next year. Gorgeous pics as usual!

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:25

Thanks Shaz! I'm just lucky that back in '91 when my mom brought the molds over, the rules were very lenient :)

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@IronChefShellie February 4, 2010 at 09:35

YUM~ I remember the first time mum tried to make these they were so chalky! She has since perfected her recipe!

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:24

Hehe would your mom care to share the recipe? Privately of course! :P

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Conor @ HoldtheBeef February 3, 2010 at 10:32

These molds deserve pride of place in the kitchen, they're gorgeous! Love the look and sounds of the biscuits too, hopefully I'll get to try some myself this Chinese New Year. I'm actually looking forward to my first ever proper Chinese New Year feast… I'm excited!!

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:25

Oh cool, so what are your CNY plans? And thank you so much!

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Su-yin February 3, 2010 at 10:12

I haven't had kuih bangkit in a long time as well – your post has brought back happy memories of it though!

I think you did great on your first attempt, I've heard that they're really hard to perfect so well done you on taking the plunge! :)

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:24

Thank you so much! Now the aim is to perfect it :)

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foodie-central February 3, 2010 at 09:06

Oh yum! I can't wait to go back to Malaysia for CNY to have some! Love the wooden molds too.

I've seen freshly grated coconut at Paddy's Market in Flemington the last time I was there which was like a few years ago. Might be worth checking out!

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:22

Oh you're lucky! And thanks for the tip!

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Katherine February 3, 2010 at 03:35

The molds are so cool. I'm not Chinese but we kinda celebrate it because my uncle is Chinese. Love the red packets eheheh. I have to look for kuih bankits so I can taste them. I'm sure yours are delish.

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:21

hehe red packets? Always a winner!

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ThePastryChefAtHome February 3, 2010 at 02:48

I need to make these for two reasons:

1. I tasted a pandan ice cream months ago and almost died of happiness…leading me to believe that pandan is magically delicious.

2. Those molds are the cutest kitchen tool ever! Must get some…

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:20

I hope you enjoy them and yes, pandan is very magical!

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Steph February 3, 2010 at 02:45

So much love! You did the red dots and everything. I need to go find those moulds. Swap you a batch of these for a batch of kaya sometime??

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:20

Deal! I think the next time I'm in Malaysia I'm going to hunt down all the molds I can!

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Sara February 3, 2010 at 02:39

Oh Karen, they are just the most gorgeous things! Well done, they look beautiful, the carved molds really do make them look so wonderful, you lucky duck!

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:19

Oh thank you so much!

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Mrs Ergül February 3, 2010 at 02:26

I have always liked kueh bangkit and attempted it last year for CNY. Unfortunately, they failed miserably! I was astounded when you said they are easy to make cuz they definitely aren't in my books! Please share with us a better recipe when you chance upon it, for I will be waiting! I have gone through too much distress last year to bear any more. So, I'm counting on you. Please…… ;)

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:18

I think the recipe itself is quite easy but to get it right is tough. Maybe you could try this recipe? It's not 100% but it's nearly right! And of course, I'll experiment and hopefully I can find one that's perfect :)

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Jacq February 3, 2010 at 02:19

These look great Karen! I've never had kuih bangkit before but the texture you describe sounds lovely. I love the shapes and the wooden moulds – so pretty!

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:16

Oh you haven't? Well I'll def have to save you a batch of these so you could try :)

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Rasa Malaysia February 3, 2010 at 00:19

Bravo, you are learning your Malaysian roots and traditions more and more each day. Your kuih bangkit looks absolutely gorgeous. My contributor is making some too and I will also share the recipe on my site. :)

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:16

Thanks so much Bee! Am definitely having fun learning more abt Malaysian baking :)

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the raw noodle February 2, 2010 at 21:33

ooh, I think I have had these. Are they the ones that melt in your mouth? I also like kuih kapit (the love letters). I love how they sell them in milo tins in Malaysia. My sister and I would eat the whole tin in one day!

Beautiful pictures by the way.

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:15

Yep, they melt into gooey coconutty goodness :) Oh I love kuih kapits too! But I don't have the molds to make them.

Thank you so much!

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Trisha February 2, 2010 at 19:41

You're right – those are intriciate wooden carvings and I'm just really amazed at how beautiful these biscuits are! And thanks for the coconut milk advice – I always buy the tin ones but now know the better alternative! :)

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:13

You're very welcome! :D

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billy@ATFT February 2, 2010 at 18:23

they look fab Karen for first attempt! U know how i feel about kuih bangkit.., but I'll swap u one! LOL traditionally u also can add a little bit of coloring to make pink and baby green variety… :)

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:13

Oh yes, I remember seeing green ones before but they were coloured with pandan paste. Must try them too. Thanks Billy – next time we should all get together to gorge on freshly baked cookies!

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joey@FoodiePop February 2, 2010 at 17:40

I love those cool molds! Love the photos too, and the cookies do look good to me! :)

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:12

Thanks so much! :D

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Claudia February 2, 2010 at 17:35

Hi,

beautiful cookies. Now I am totally in love with those gorgeous Chinese molds. Those cookies are identical to the most traditional Brazilian cookie called “sequilhos de coco” which are made exactly the same way except for the addition of pandan to the mix.

If you want to try the Brazilian way just make it by adding unmixed/regular tapioca starch with the other ingredients, exactly the same way, mold with the Chinese molds too and bake for the same time. I love them…

Happy new year for you!

Claudia

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:11

Hi Claudia! Thanks for the tip and the info! I didn't know that there was Brazilian version of this and now I'm curious to try it out. Is there a recipe that you could recommend?

Happy new year to you too :D

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Tangled Noodle February 2, 2010 at 16:46

Those molds are exquisite! Although I can't say I've had kuih bangkit specifically, these cookies look similar to ones that I love from the Philippines (don't know the name, I just eat 'em!).

A few questions: why do you cool the flour over a couple of days? Is it because any residual heat may affect the dough or is it to get the flavor to deepen (from the pandan)? And do you keep the pandan leaves in the flour as it cools? Thanks!

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citrusandcandy February 9, 2010 at 14:10

*guilty* to be honest I don't know why the flour is cooled over a few days. It was just in the recipe and I thought best to follow it just in case. Umm but good question!

But logically speaking, it shouldn't need that long, especially if it's refrigerated. The pandan gets all crispy so bits tend to break off. I thought it was best to sift out the pandan before storage to make it easier later on.

But bottom line, it tastes damn fine :)

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