I love making ang ku kueh. It’s not only a delicious and popular local snack, it’s also gluten-free. The use of Monk fruit sweetener and naturally sweeten purple sweet potato paste filling in this recipe makes it refined sugar-free too. There are many ways to play around the shape of the dough and the choice of filling. Since it’s pumpkin season now, I had lots of fun shaping the ang ku kuehs into a pumpkin shape. I really love the rich purple hues from the purple sweet potato paste filling which I made and froze a month ago, it complements the naturally orange coloured skin from fresh pumpkin.
Ang Ku Kueh (in Hokkien), or 红龟粿 in Chinese or red tortoise cakes (literally translated), is a traditional Chinese snack found commonly in Southeast Asia. It is typically shaped like a tortoise, with the top imprinted with auspicious Chinese characters such as 吉祥 (auspicious) or 寿 (longevity) or 福 (fortune). Thus, the snacks are traditionally served during auspicious and joyous events such as birthdays of elderly people, first month celebration of a new born baby, and even the main Chinese religious rituals. The shape is formed by moulds of various prints and sizes. Check out the ang ku kuehs I made previously: red ang ku kueh with peanut paste filling, green ang ku kueh with pandan coconut filling, sapphire blue ang ku kueh with mung bean paste filling.
Tips when making Pumpkin Ang Ku Kueh
- Since fresh pumpkin is used to give the natural orange colour to the dough, it has to be steamed until it’s very soft and blended well into the thick and smooth purée in order to mix well into the dough.
- You can use other types of paste filling such as pandan coconut filling, peanut paste filling, mung bean paste filling or even chestnut paste filling.
- To achieve the soft pliable dough that will not break easily when kneaded, it’s essential that you add hot boiling water to the dough, and not just hot water. By adding hot boiling water, it helps to ‘cook’ the glutinous rice flour that produces a soft and flexible dough.
- I find that a 50/50 ratio for the filling and dough is the perfect balance as the skin is thin enough for the amount of filling.
- It’s important to control the heat during steaming. Simply boil the water on high heat and after placing the ang ku kuehs into the steamer, reduce the heat to medium and leave a little opening to let steam out a little. I wiped off the water condensation on the lid about 2-3 times during steaming to avoid the water dripping onto the kuehs. Excess moisture and high heat will cause the ang ku kuehs to lose its print and shape.
- Cooked ang ku kueh should have translucent skin. After it’s cooked, brush some vegetable oil on it.
How to store Pumpkin Ang Ku Kueh
- Cooked pumpkin ang ku kueh can be kept at room temperature for 1-2 day in an airtight container or in the fridge for 3-4 days. If it’s hardened, just steam on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes.
- If you would like to store cooked ang ku kueh for a longer period, it can also be kept in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. To serve, just steam without thawing on medium heat for about 5-8 minutes.
Check out these Asian snack / kueh recipes
f you are into local snack or kuehs, do check out these recipes, many of these 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 (Red Tortoise Cake 红龟粿)
- 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 Chestnut Paste Filling 甘栗馅金瓜红龟粿
- Dadar Gulung (Kueh Dadar 香兰椰丝卷)
- Ondeh Ondeh
- Sweet Potato Kueh 甜番薯椰丝糕
- Kueh Ubi Kayu 蒸木薯糕 (Steamed Tapioca / Cassava Cake)
- 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)
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Watch how to make pumpkin ang ku kueh on YouTube
Pumpkin Ang Ku Kueh with Purple Sweet Potato Filling 紫薯馅金瓜红龟粿
- 120 g glutinous rice flour
- ⅛ tsp fine salt
- 1 tsp Monk fruit sweetener
- 10 ml vegetable oil
- 40-50 ml hot boiling water
- 70-90 g pumpkin to make 70g of pumpkin purée
- 250 g purple sweet potato paste filling
- 10-15 pcs banana leaves
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil for brushing the kuehs
- 1 tbsp glutinous rice flour for dusting the kuehs and moulds
- 10-15 cloves for decoration
Make the dough (yields 250g dough, makes about 12):
- Peel and cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces. Steam the pumpkin on high heat for 15-20 minutes until softened. Then blend into a thick and smooth purée.70-90 g pumpkin
- Boil about 50ml of water.40-50 ml hot boiling water
- Mix 120g glutinous rice flour with 1/8 tsp fine salt, and 1 tsp Monk fruit sweetener. Stir to combine well.120 g glutinous rice flour, 1/8 tsp fine salt, 1 tsp Monk fruit sweetener
- Add 70g pumpkin purée and 40ml of hot boiling water to the dry ingredients.
- Use a spatula to start mixing and stirring until it forms a crumbly dough. Then add the remaining 10ml hot water and continue to mix. Note: add more hot water if it's too dry.
- When cool enough to handle, use your hand to knead the dough.Note: the dough will be a bit crumbly and dry.
- Gradually add 10ml vegetable oil in 2 parts and continue to knead the dough.10 ml vegetable oil
- Once the dough turns soft, pliable and shiny, it's done.
- Cover and let it rest for 15 minutes. The dough should be soft and will not break when kneaded.
Assembling the Ang Ku Kueh:
- Wash, boil, and dry the banana leaves. Cut out the banana leaves according to the size required, leaving about 1cm space all around. Grease one side of the banana leaves with vegetable oil.10-15 pcs banana leaves
- Roll into balls 20g of purple sweet potato paste filling each, and 20g of the dough each.250 g purple sweet potato paste filling
- Roll the 20g dough into a ball, press a hole in the middle with your thumb to form a ‘bowl’. Place the filling in the middle of the ‘bowl’ and press the edge of the dough to close. Make sure it’s sealed properly to avoid leakage. Then roll into a smooth ball again.
- Dust the dough ball with some glutinous rice flour.Use a scraper or thread to gently press 4 lines on the dough ball to form the pumpkin shape.1 tbsp glutinous rice flour
- Place each ang ku kueh on a greased banana leaf.
Steam the Ang Ku Kueh:
- Boil water in a steamer pot on high heat. Place the ang ku kueh on a steamer tray, leaving about 1-2 inch apart from each piece. Cover with lid, leaving a small opening of about 1cm.
- Steam on medium heat for about 10-13 minutes until skin turns translucent.Note: I steamed my 40g ang ku kueh for about 11.5 minutes on average. I also wiped off the moisture condensation forming on the lid 2-3 times during steaming.
- Brush each ang ku kueh with some vegetable oil. Let the ang ku kueh cool down before serving.1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Decorate the pumpkin ang ku kueh with a clove on top.10-15 cloves
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