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This lovely Pulut Tai Tai kueh is one of my family’s favourite local snack. It’s very simple and easy to make–basically just cook the glutinous rice with coconut and pandan leaves, give it a beautiful shade of blue using the natural butterfly pea flowers, then serve with pandan kaya or Hainanese kaya, an aromatic coconut jam. Whenever my family gathers together to enjoy my cooking, it gives me tremendous joy and satisfaction. I’m sure many of you would agree!
What is Pulut Tai Tai
Pulut means glutinous rice or sticky rice in Bahasa Malayu language. Pulut Tai Tai, which means rice of the rice housewife, is also called Pulut Tekan, which means pressed rice. It is said that in the earlier times, this snack was typically served to the rich housewives, or tai tai (太太), thus the name.
I love the combination of the mildly salted rich and gluey glutinous rice served with the sweet aromatic coconut flavoured jam. It’s perfect with our local teh-si (hot tea with evaporated milk) or kopi-si (hot coffee with evaporate milk).
Many of these Nyonya snacks or Nyonya kuehs have their origins from Malacca in Malaysia. Nyonya kueh is a bite-sized sweet or savoury snack which is a distinctive part of the Peranakan cuisine. The Peranakans are descendants of the Chinese immigrants who went to the Malay Peninsula, particularly Malacca, and married the locals. Their culinary approach was greatly influenced not only by the local Malay cuisines but also by the Portuguese when they conquered Malacca in the 16th century. I particularly love Nyonya desserts. These beautiful desserts are naturally coloured. Its distinctive tastes come from local aromatic ingredients such as pandan leaves, coconut palm sugar, coconut, banana leaves, glutinous rice flour and rice flour.
Tips on making the pulut tai tai
- I soaked the glutinous rice for an hour only. I find there is no difference if I soak it overnight or only for just an hour.
- The butterfly blue pea flower tea does not add any distinctive flavours to the rice, it’s mainly for decorative and colouring purpose.
- The coconut milk should be slightly thin and running. If it’s too thick, add some water to dilute it. The amount of coconut milk should just cover the rice nicely.
- Wash and soak the banana leaves in hot water for about 10 minutes to sanitise it properly.
- To make the glutinous rice more compact, press it tightly into the cake tin with a spatula. I find it not much difference whether I placed any heavy objects over it to compress. As long as you compress it well into the cake tin, cover and leave it over a couple of hours for the flavour to develop, the compression will come out fine.
- You can use store bought kaya or homemade kaya. You can check out my homemade pandan kaya made within 25 minutes or 10-minute hainanese kaya, both are made in less than 30 minutes.
How to store pulut tai tai
The pulut tai tai is best consumed on the same day of making or within 2 days, if kept at room temperature in an air tight container.
If there is any leftover, you can chill it in the fridge for up to 5 days, the glutinous rice will turn hard. You can warm the pulut tai tai in the microwave or steamer to soften it before consuming.
If you like kuehs, check out these recipes
Most of these kueh recipes are gluten-free, eggs-free and made with Monk fruit or Stevia sweetener, making them a healthier snack version from the original recipe:
- Ang Ku Kueh with Mung Bean Paste Filling (Red Tortoise Cake 绿豆蓉红龟粿)
- Pandan Coconut Ang Ku Kueh (Red Tortoise Cake 香兰椰丝红龟粿)
- Pumpkin Ang Ku Kueh with Purple Sweet Potato Filling 紫薯馅金瓜红龟粿
- Kueh Ubi Kayu 蒸木薯糕 (Steamed Tapioca / Cassava Kueh)
- Sweet Potato Kueh 甜番薯椰丝糕
- Kaya Puff Pastry (Kaya Kok / 咖椰角)
- Sesame Ball (Air Fryer Chinese Jian Dui 气炸锅煎堆)
- Soon Kueh 笋粿 (Bamboo Shoots Dumplings)
- Ang Ku Kueh (Red Tortoise Cake 红龟粿)
- Dadar Gulung (Kueh Dadar 香兰椰丝卷)
- Ondeh Ondeh
Watch how to make Pulut Tai Tai on YouTube
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Pulut Tai Tai 蓝花咖椰糯米糕
- Boil 200 ml water and add to 2 g dried butterfly pea flowers. Let it steep for 10 minutes, covered. Then drain off the flowers and set the blue tea aside. Note: if using fresh butterfly pea flowers, wash flowers well, add boiling water and let it steep for 15 min or until the water turns dark blue. Drain off the flowers to get the blue tea.200 ml water, 2 g dried butterfly pea flowers
- Prepare coconut milk by mixing 300 g coconut milk, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tbsp stevia sweetener. The mixture should be thin and running. Add more water if it's too thick.Note: if using coconut cream which is thicker, add water to thin it down.300 g coconut milk, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tbsp stevia sweetener
- Cut banana leaves according to the sides and the base of the cake tin. Note: I’m using a 6-inch cake tin with removable base.
- Wash the banana leaves and soak in boiling water for 10 min. Remove the leaves and pat them dry.
- Line the base and side of the cake tin with the banana leaves.
- Rinse 300 g glutinous rice with tap water until water runs clear. This takes 2-3 washes.300 g glutinous rice
- Soak the rice for 1 hour. After 1 hour, drain off the water from the rice.Note: you can also soak overnight but I find no difference.
- Boil water in a steamer pot over medium-high heat. Once the water boils, place the glutinous rice into the steaming pot and cover.
- Steam the rice for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, turn off heat. Fluff the rice with a fork.
- Add the coconut milk mixture to the rice until the rice is just covered. Drizzle blue butterfly pea flower tea all over.
- Tie into knot 2 long pandan leaves and place on top of the rice. Cover and steam on medium-high heat for another 15 minutes.2 long pandan leaves
- Turn off heat and remove the pandan leaves.
- Use a spatula to press the rice into lined cake tin. Make the rice as compact as possible.
- Cover the rice with a banana leave. Let it cool for 3-4 hours or overnight. Optional to add more weight (such as mortar or heavy pots) on top of the rice to compress it. Note: I cooled it overnight in the kitchen covered.
- Fill a piping bag with 200 g kaya. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour before use.200 g kaya
- Remove the pulut tai tai from the cake tin.
- Cut the pulut tai tai into desired shape.
- Decorate by piping it with kaya.
- Enjoy the pulut tai tai.