For National day this year we needed a project to get us in the Singapore spirit of red & white! We created a homemade Watermelon Kueh… made healthier using brown rice!
What is a ‘Kueh’?
Kueh (also known as kuih/kway/kue) are small desserts found here in the Southeast Asian region. There come in many different types and colours. (Check them out! Google Pics) They are usually steamed, not baked, and most are sweet (although there are some savoury ones too!). There is a lot of cross-cultural history in the recipes – kueh making has been passed down through generations.
What is it made of?
There are so many (super yummy) kuehs out there, but many of them follow similar ideas. Often an egg custard is made…or a colourful agar jelly can be created to make layers. Ingredients like rice or bean flour are important to help the recipes to set. Sticky coconut rice can provide a base, and gula melaka (palm sugar) is a great sweetener. Unlike western desserts, wheat flour is rarely used!
How about our Watermelon Brown Rice kueh?
We wanted a red and white kueh for Singapore National Day – so we decided on watermelon and coconut flavours. One of our traditional favourites is the kueh salat, which is green and white (the green layer is a pandan leaf custard). We based our idea from this recipe: Corner cafe – Kueh Salat Recipe
Things we tried:
- We substituted watermelon juice instead of coconut milk for the custard layer. We juiced it fresh, and then reduced it to concentrate the flavour. (We skipped the green pandan extract, obviously!) The colour and sweetness were still quite light, but it was a nice taste, and it set well!
- We did not use any additional sugar!
- Instead of white sticky rice, we used a short grain brown rice. We still used the pandan leaves when steaming the coconut rice layer, to make it fragrant – like tropical vanilla!
- Because of the (less sticky) brown rice, we added some rice flour to the coconut milk liquid to help the base set. Despite this, our rice layer was still too dry by the end – next time we would add more liquid and rice flour to help the brown rice get stickier!
After it had set, we ate some pieces in a bowl with the leftover fresh watermelon, coconut milk, and gula melaka drizzled on top… (whilst watching the National Day Parade on TV, of course!)… sooo good! We think the combination of creamy custard with sweet chewy coconut rice is simply the best.
No wonder we love kueh.
Happy Singapore National Day!