Tapioca Kuih Bengka, also called Kuih Bengka Ubi Kayu or Chiu3 Cu3 Kuih4 (烤木薯糕) is one of the tastiest of the Nyonya kuihs that are common in Penang. It is a type of Kuih Bengka that uses tapioca as the chief ingredient instead of rice flour. This kuih is relatively easy to make.
For delicious Tapioca Kuih Bengka, it is necessary to source for freshly harvested tapioca. Check that the tapioca in the market looks good before buying, for it will make a big difference to the taste. If you buy "not so good" tapioca, you might waste a lot of it if parts of the tuber have gone bad. Also, make sure you buy the longish tapioca with pink skin and white flesh, not the roundish tapioca with yellow flesh. The white flesh tapioca tastes better. The pink skin is only visible after the outer layer has been scraped. As the kuih is only as good as the ingredients you use, the most important thing, before even considering to make this kuih, is to source for the most beautiful and freshest tapioca.
The tapioca should be shaved by hand. Do not include the woody centre of the tuber. Our recipe, as created by my wife, includes white grated coconut. The manually shaved tapioca, together with the grated coconut, gives the kuih a wonderful texture. Some people blend the tapioca, but we would advise against doing that, because blended tapioca loses its texture and feels "over processed".
When the kuih is baked, the crust caramelises to a beautiful golden brown. This is what you want to achieve, and once you have perfected making this kuih yourself, you wouldn't want to eat "store bought" tapioca kuih bengka again!
Once every three months, it is our turn in church to prepare the Morning Refreshments, and Tapioca Kuih Bengka is one of the items that we usually serve, for it is greatly enjoyed by our church members.
Tapioca Kuih Bengka Recipe (27 April, 2013)
2kg tapioca - peeled and cleaned, grated until fine, weight after grating
200g white grated coconut
400ml coconut milk
200g sugar or to taste
a few drops of yellow colouring
pandan leaves - cleaned and knotted
banana leaves - scalded and cleaned
yellow food colourng
Line baking tray with banana leaves. Allow lining to exceed tray as banana leaves shrink when baked.
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Put grated tapioca and white grated coconut in a container. Add yellow colouring, mixed well and put aside.
Heat wok over medium fire. Pour in coconut milk, sugar, and pandan leaves. Cook until sugar dissolves and the santan boils.
Discard pandan leaves.
Add grated tapioca and coconut mixture into the santan mixture. Stir well. Adjust sweetness and colour of kuih according to own preference.
Pour mixture into lined baking tray.
Flattened surface. Cover with a few layers of banana leaves to prevent surface from becoming too brown before baking is completed.
Bake for around 75 minutes until kuih is set. Take out and remove banana leaves from surface. Return baking tray into oven.
Continue baking until surface is golden brown.
Remove and let kuih cool completely, then cut into desired shape.
Grating the tapioca (27 April, 2013)
Kuih Bengka Ubi Kayu before baking (27 April, 2013)
Freshly baked Kuih Bengka Ubi Kayu (27 April, 2013)
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