Rainbow Kueh Lapis – Steamed 9 Layer Kueh

Singapore’s National Day falls on 9th August. We are 46 this year and I thought it appropriate to celebrate the month of August with a little Heritage treat that we all grew up with.

The colourful steamed 9 layer kueh is one that we are all familiar with. I grew up enjoying this treat, mostly for breakfast. Hands up, those who would eat this by peeling it off layer by layer….for kids, this kueh offers a chance to play with food and savour them at the same time. As adults, as much as we are tempted to fiddle with the layers, social decorum in the grown-up world has taught us to eat it with more ‘grace’ and ‘propriety’.

There are many variations to the recipe. Most use a mixture of Tapioca flour, Rice flour, Mung Bean Flour and Sago flour. I had attended Valerie Kong’s Kueh Class last weekend at Shermay’s Cooking School. Her recipe is extremely simple and uses only Tapioca flour and Rice flour. The result is a very soft and tender kueh with delicious fragrance from freshly squeezed coconut milk.
For those who are interested in her class, I believe she is still conducting one more class this month.

I am not publishing her recipe but would gladly refer you to another recipe which I have found in my cookbook collection- Patricia Lee’s Delicious Nyonya Kuehs and Desserts. Will definitely try this out to compare.


Recipe (From Patricia Lee’s Delicious Nyonya Kuehs and Desserts) 

480g         Tapioca flour
150g         Sago flour
35g           Mung Bean flour
50g           Rice flour
720ml       Thick coconut milk
650g         Sugar
1liter         Water
3-4            Pandan Leaves, knotted
Pinch        Salt
Food colouring (red and green)

Method : 
1. Boil sugar with pandan leaves in 1 liter of water until sugar melts. Strain the syrup and dilute with water to make to 1.5 liters

2. Mix all the flour and salt together. Pour coconut milk a little at a time and mix till smooth. Set aside.
3. Pour the syrup from (1) into the flour mixture. Stir constantly till well blended.
4. Divide mixture into 3 portions. Leave one portion uncoloured. Mix each of the other 2 portions with red and green colouring.
5. Grease a 9″ square baking tin with a little oil. Place the in in a steamer and steam until hot. Pour in the uncoloured mixture (90g) and steam for about 6-8 mins.  Repeat another layer with the uncoloured mixture.
6. Repeat step (5) with other coloured batter until all batter is used up. Top layer must be red. Leave the cake to cool at room temeprature for 7-8 hours before cutting.