Kueh Bengka Ubi (I) | KitchenTigress

Kueh Bengka Ubi (I)

Making kueh bengka ubi is incredibly easy. The main ingredients are grated tapioca, eggs, sugar and coconut milk. Just mix everything thoroughly and bake. It's as easy as a box cake, but the results are way more delicious.

Kueh bengka ubi has a wonderful aroma from coconut milk, pandan juice and its caramelized crust. Tapioca gives the cake its yellow colour, and makes it nicely chewy. 

You can prep a kueh bengka ubi in 2 minutes.

First, forget about squeezing coconut milk. If you can find a place that sells grated coconut, that place would also sell fresh coconut milk lovingly squeezed by a machine. If you can't, then you've got nothing to squeeze.

The same place that sells freshly squeezed coconut milk and grated coconut would also sell freshly grated tapioca. Just grab a pack, along with the coconut milk.

Remember to buy the exact amount required for the recipe, so you don't have to waste precious seconds measuring after you get home.

When you're ready to bake, pour the coconut milk and grated tapioca into a mixing bowl, crack the eggs, measure the sugar and water, then mix everything up. How long would that take? 1 minute?

You now have another minute to line a cake tin, pour the batter, scrape the bowl, smooth the top, put the tin in the oven, and shut the door – BANG! Job done!

If you have a couple more minutes, you may want to squash a few pandan leaves in the batter to give it a nice fragrance. Mind you, the cake smells and tastes wonderful even without pandan, because of the coconut milk.

What if you don't have freshly squeezed, unadulterated coconut milk?

Use packaged milk if you have to. We all have to compromise sometimes. If possible, get the chilled type, which is pasteurized. If that's not available, then go for canned or boxed ultra-pasteurized milk.

If you don't have fresh and ready-grated tapioca, frozen may be available, like in the US. Or you may have fresh or frozen tapioca but it's not grated, in which case get your grater out.

I'm munching a piece of kueh bengka ubi as I write this post. It's very fragrant, especially the caramelized top. The chewiness is just right, not too soft nor too hard.

Kueh bengka ubi is uber good!

Click here for tips on making kueh bengka ubi.

Source: Adapted from Cooking for the President
(Recipe for one 23 cm cake)

banana leaf or parchment paper – if using banana leaf, wash, wipe dry and lightly oil shiny side
2 eggs
300 g sugar
⅙ tsp salt
1 kg grated tapioca, at room temperature
4 pandan leaves, rinse and drain
375 ml freshly squeezed coconut milk, at room temperature, undiluted
125 ml water

1. Line 23 x 5 cm square cake tin with banana leaf or parchment paper. Preheat oven to 170°C.

2. Stir eggs, sugar, salt and tapioca till evenly mixed. Knead and wring pandan leaves in mixture till completely crushed. Add coconut milk and water. Mix thoroughly. Discard pandan leaves.

3. Pour batter into cake tin, moving stream of batter around tin as you pour. Smooth the top, stirring liquid that may accumulate around edges so that batter is evenly mixed.

4. Bake for about 1¼ hours, till top is golden brown, edges are crusty and slightly caramelized, and inserted skewer comes out almost clean. Cover edges with foil during last 30 minutes if top doesn't brown evenly. Do not over-bake or cake will be dry.

5. Remove cake from oven. Leave on wire rack till slightly firm, 30-45 minutes. Unmould and leave cake on wire rack till cold, another hour or so. Cut into 4 x 2.5 cm pieces with an oiled knife.

6. Serve at room temperature with Chinese tea as a snack, dessert. Leftovers should be wrapped and refrigerated. Cut and rebake till thoroughly heated and soft, then serve hot or at room temperature.