{Recipe} Kuih Seri Muka

Seri Muka literally translates to ‘pretty face’ in Malay. In Kuching, we usually call it Kuih Salat. This bilayered delicacy is Nyonya cuisine at its best. The top layer is a pandan-coloured and -flavoured custard whilst the bottom is made up of compacted and steamed glutinous rice. Coconut milk and pandan makes up the key flavours of this delight while the texture is one of soft and sticky goodness.

To introduce and share the best of Malaysian culture with the colleagues at the hospital where I completed my placement, I brought along a plate of Kuih Salat. Familiar with the Austarlian palate and some of their issues with any texture that did not come from the usual five food groups, I could only cross my fingers and hope this goes well. After my initial glitch of trying to cut the piping hot kueh straight from the steamer, hence the jagged appearance, the rest was smooth-sailing – into their stomachs with happy smiles. Whew. They loved it! It also helped that I reduced the amount of sugar – watching everyone’s waistlines.

Kuih Salat/ Kuih Serimuka

Modified from My Kitchen, Lily’s Wai Sek Hong & Sea Salt with Food


Makes 1 8″ square pan

Glutinous rice layer (bottom)

350g glutinous rice, soaked overnight and drained

250ml coconut milk

1tsp salt

Pandan custard layer (top)

120ml pandan juice (blend 10 pandan leaves with 120ml water) OR add 1tsp green colouring with pandan essence to 120ml coconut milk

5Tb corn flour

3Tb plain flour

3 large eggs

200ml coconut milk

70g sugar

Mix all ingredients for glutinous rice layer. Steam for 30 minutes or until cooked in tray. Fluff rice and using a piece of aluminium foil, compact the glutinous rice into the bottom of the tray. Return to steam for a further 10 minutes.

Combine pandan juice/ coconut milk mixed with colouring and essence with flours and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, coconut milk and sugar. Add pandan-flour mixture into egg mixture. Mix well and strain into a clean metal bowl.

Prepare a pot with boiling water. Place metal bowl over water and start whisking until mixture thickens. This requires around 10-15 minutes. Pour thickened mixture over the bottom layer. Steam for 20-30 minutes under low heat until the top layer is cooked.

Set aside to cool completely before slicing into rhombus shapes (you know, like diamonds).