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Monday, March 28, 2011

Kuih Talam

                      Wao when I think those of us from the older generation who grew up at a time when Kuih Talam was something that was a signature kuih which was, more than likely, always on our menu for tea; back then Kuih Talam was at its height as practically everyone loved to eat this aromatic, light kuih and if you were to buy it then, it was dirt cheap.  Most of our grandmothers or mothers either knew how to make it themselves or bought it from a favourite stall vendor.  These days ppl do not have that much time to make this themselves as the rationale, "We don't have the luxury of the time or better still, ai yah why make lah when we can just simply buy it from our favourite shop?" and you really can't  blame them as they are spoilt for choice and the working enviroment now compared to our time is a totally different ball game; back then our prinsip was to work hard and everything will fall into place; money, promotions.  Now it is work smart

                       Making Kuih Talam yourself is something that needs a little practice but the unmeasurable joy it gives when you get it right, nobody can rob you of that feeling of insane happiness that beats store bought things [without prejudice] at most times, hands down, in terms of taste, freshness and the satisfaction of knowing what exactly is in it and the thought that you can personalise it by reducing slightly the salt and sugar to suit your own taste buds not to mention health reasons too as too much of something esp salt and sugar never did anyone much good and as we are not Chefs/Bakers by profession we cant, at our own whim and fancy, reduce them too much at once as they may be needed for structure esp sugar when making cakes thus the need to gradually reduce same.

                              Kuih Talam

              Ingredients for Bottom Layer

             (A)  300 gm                Sugar
                     150 gm                Rice Flour [brand I like to use is, "3 Elephant"]
                       50 gm                Green Pea Flour/Lek Tao Hoon

             (B)   800 ml                Pandan juice [to be blended 
                                                                          FROM 175 gm of 
                                                                          Pandan leaves plus 
                                                                          780 ml Water]

                     1/2 teasp            Akaline water


           Ingredients for TOP LAYER

            90 gm                 Rice Flour [brand, "3 Elephant"]
            30 gm                 TAPIOCA flour
            1 1/4 teasp         Salt
           200                       Fresh Santan MIX with 460 ml Water

               Method for BOTTOM Layer
  1. ALWAYS Start first by measuring the ingredients for Bottom & Top Layer then separate them by putting them away in 2 separate trays & marking them.
  2. Blend pandan leaves with a little of the water mentioned above till very fine.  Mix the blended leaves with the balance of the water & squeeze the resides with the aid of two fine hole sievers one on top of each other :) 
  3. Put a pair of chopsticks about 7" apart in a steamer then Start by first boiling water in a steamer large enough to contain a 9" x 9" x 3" square tin.
  4. If water has been boiled and you have not got everything ready yet, reduce fire and let it simmer & 5 Minutes BEFORE you need to steam the kuih, INCREASE the fire to medium.
  5. Put sugar, rice flour, green pea flour in a saucepan.  Use a whisk & stir it once to incorporate same.  [Ok now increase your fire to medium fire].
  6. Put the Akaline water to the 800 ml Pandan juice, use a hand whisk & stir it once to incorporate the Akaline water to the pandan juice & pour it GRADUALLY to the saucepan & stir it short while.
  7. Place saucepan on medium fire & use the whisk to stir CONSTANTLY short while  till you can see that there is a Little starchy & transparent formation, straight away pour this mixture into the 9" x 9" x 3" square tin [NO need to grease this tin].
  8. Place the tin ON TOP of the chopsticks. Wipe the droplets off the cover of the steamer, Cover the steamer & steam the bottom green layer for 30 minutes.
  9. After 30 minutes open the cover & wipe droplets Again, cover steamer, reduce heat & steam for another 30 minutes. SIX Minutes before the Second 30 minutes is up, prepare the TOP LAYER so that you can pour this over the Bottom Green layer once the 2nd 30 minutes is up.
                     Method for TOP LAYER
  1. Put Rice Flour, Tapioca Flour & Salt in a pot. Use a whisk & mix it once to incorporate everything.
  2. Then add in the 660 ml Santan and Water solution GRADUALLY & use a whisk then gradually add the rest of the liquid solution.
  3. Put pot on LOW fire & STIR WITH A WOODEN Spoon short while about 2 - 3 minutes and the Consistency should be LIKE Evaporate Milk.
  4. Once the second 30 minutes is up, Quickly remove the cover [you dont want the water droplets to fall in the bottom layer], POUR the santan layer Gradually & gently over the green layer [this santan layer, the consistency should be like Evaporated Milk, and easy to spread].
  5. Wipe the cover for droplets & Steam on LOW heat for 10 - 15 minutes.  When it is ready, remove from steamer & let it set for 4 - 5 hours before cutting.


                 (a)  I have learnt this from many Sifu but personally, I feel that this is The BEST.  There are so many recipes in books and the net and one thing that is different is the timing here for steaming the Bottom Green Layer; most of them teach you to steam it for a shorter period and most recipes do not use so much pandan leaves.  Here we use 175 gm Pandan leaves.
                 (b)  I have taught this to my Best friend, an avid Baker herself, when she came down for the holidays from the United States many years ago and she was ever so grateful for it and endorse that this, to her, was also the best;
                  (c)  Timing here is Very Important & Crucial;
                  (d)  You should remove the cover with a quick flick of the hand and wipe the droplets off the cover as water droplets will "spoil" the appearance;
                  (e)  As the steaming here is quite long in total, TAKE CARE that your water level does not drop.  Me, I always have a kettle of EXTRA water boiling just in case;
                  (f)  The fire also Should not be too High otherwise you may have the level of the kuih like valley and ridges.  With the correct fire level, your kuih would be level.  If you should fail once, NEVER give up; Try and try again;
                   (g)  Finally when we go for classes, some times the recipes are quite brief and I am always ready with a clipboard, clip recipe on it and then write down all the tips that the Sifus throw our way and then coming back, retyping the recipes with my notes side by side when they are fresh in my mind and though you may find most recipes in my blog are long and in depth as I work Best in my kitchen, baking or cooking, when my recipes are in depth as old mind like mine can easily forget when no extra notes are taken during class But more importantly even years later when you want to make something which you have not done in a while, all the important things are there or what things to take note, to guide me along and going for classes and buying books are two completely different things.  Then things like actually seeing what the Sifus do for example using a whisk first and later changing to a wooden spoon are things most likely, without prejudice again, not in books and then again going for another class, unrelated to this Kuih Talam, and seeing the Sifu using 2 fine hole sievers and placing them one on top of the other and then straining the residue out and repeating again, these are definitely things that I pick up and applying them and then sharing with you the tips; these are things that bring me so much Joy, it is as though I am teaching in virtual space and hoping that ppl would learn from my own experience.

                         God bless you.  Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia


Anita said...

I am goin to try your kuih talam sometime next week :)

Ophelia said...

Awesome do let me know your comments. God bless.