Kuih Bangkit is one of the classic Chinese New Year cookies (others are Kuih Kapit @ Love Letter and Pineapple Tarts) loved by Malaysians. What’s loved about this traditional Nyonya cookie is the aromatic smell that welcomes you the moment you bite into the crispy outer later and then got jolted into a world of melt in your mouth excitement. Oh yeah!
To be frank with you I’m not a big fan of Kuih Bangkit but my sister is such a HUGE fan of this cookie. So much a fan that she stubbornly picked up a cookie that has fallen on the floor and intend to bake it. Horror! Thank God I was able to coaxed her and finally got rid of that 1 piece of ‘dirty’ cookie. Haha
The recipe calls for arrowroot flour (lu-lu hoon) however we couldn’t find it anywhere (not that we look hard enough anyway haha) so we substitute it with sago flour (advice from grandma).
The preparation of ingredient begin a day earlier. Over low fire, you need to fry cornflour, arrowroot flour (in our case sago flour) and pandan leaves in a wok until the flour is light and it doesn’t stick to the side of the wok. This should take about 30 minutes. Transfer the flour to a container and leave to cool overnight.
A day later…
Now add enough flour and knead the combination for about 5 minutes to form a pliable dough (means soft and flexible). We also didn’t use all the flour. This is the tricky part. You gotta ‘agak-agak’ (guesstimate).
Now knock the mould gently on the table to dislodge the cookies.
Arrange the cookies on a baking tray (remember to line it with baking paper) and bake for 10-20 minutes in 150OC. For us, we bake ’em for 25 minutes as we prefer a crisper and brownish outside.
Optional: Add red dot (from red food dye) using toothpick (I used fork haha) on Kuih Bangkit with flower designs.
Cool them and store in air-tight containers.
Additional notes & tips:
1. A fascinating fact: During kneading, you can feel the dough become hot. Just some chemistry effect!
2. When you have a ‘wet’ dough, you will find difficulties to dislodge cookies from the mould. Add some flour and re-knead. When you have a ‘hard’ dough, you will find the dislodged cookies in crumbly state. Add some coconut milk and re-knead. All this shouldn’t be a problem if you follow the method above.
3. Remember to cover the rest of the dough with a damp cloth while you’re busy moulding kuih bangkit as the dough will harden up. In our case we took a handful of the dough (uncover) for moulding and cover the rest.
4. If the dough does harden up, add a little coconut milk and re-knead the dough.
5. Make sure you dust the mould with enough flour. The first or second time is usually the hardest to dislodge the cookies from the mould. After that it’s easy.
6. Because this is the first time we’re making the cookies, we tried baking a few pieces in the oven to adjust the cooking time.
Kuih Bangkit – Chinese New Year Cookies
Adapted from Nyonya Flavors
Yields 140 pieces
600g arrowroot flour (lu-lu hoon)
1-2 pandan leaves, cut into 3cm lengths
3 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
250ml thick coconut milk, extracted from 1 grated coconut
1. Over low fire, fry the cornflour, arrowroot flour and pandan leaves in a wok until the flour is light and doesn’t stick to side of the wok. This takes about 30 minutes. Leave flour to cool overnight.
2. Whisk egg yolks and caster sugar until very thick and add 250ml of coconut milk slowly (you may not need to use all the milk). Then add flour (you may not need to use all the flour) and knead to form a soft pliable dough. Takes about 5 minutes.
3. Dust a wooden kuih bangkit mould with the remaining flour. Place dough and press into each of the designs on the mould. Trim off the extra dough with a spatula. Knock the mould gently against the table to remove the cookies.
4. Place kuih bangkit on lined baking trays. Bake at 150OC (350OF) for 10-20 minutes. If you prefer pale white kuih bangkit, bake for 15 minutes. If you prefer aromatic and crisp cookies, then bake it until just turning brown. Let it cool on wire rack before storing in air-tight containers.