Kueh Kosui Recipe: Soft And Springy Without Alkaline Water

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Kuih kosui is a delightful Malaysian steamed layer cake, known for its vibrant green hue and soft, bouncy texture. Traditionally made with extract of the screwpine flower (pandan) and lye water for its signature color, this recipe offers a simpler approach that omits the lye water while maintaining the essence of this classic kuih.


Blessed Homemaker: Kuih Kosui
Blessed Homemaker: Kuih Kosui

2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp pandan extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 pandan leaves, tied into a knot (for steaming)

  • Directions:

    1. Prepare the batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar until well combined.
    2. Gradually whisk in the water and coconut milk, ensuring there are no lumps.
    3. Stir in the pandan extract and salt.
    4. Slowly drizzle in the vegetable oil while continuously whisking to create a smooth and slightly oily batter.
    5. Strain the batter: Pour the batter through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any lumps. This step ensures a silky smooth texture in the final kuih.

    Steaming the Kuih Kosui:

    1. Grease the molds: Lightly grease a steamer tray or individual molds with vegetable oil.
    2. Bring water to a boil: In a pot, bring enough water to a boil for steaming.
    3. Pour the batter: Divide the batter evenly among the greased molds.
    4. Steam the kuih: Place the steamer tray or molds into the pot with boiling water. Ensure the steamer sits above the boiling water without touching it.
    5. Gently steam: Reduce heat to medium-low and steam the kuih for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
    6. Rest and cool: Remove the kuih from the steamer and allow them to cool slightly before unmolding.


    Use a steamer lined with banana leaves for a more traditional touch.

  • For a richer flavor, substitute ½ cup of the water with fresh pandan leaf juice.
  • Experiment with different food coloring for vibrant variations.

  • Nutrition Facts (per serving):

    Calories: 200 kcal

  • Fat: 10 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 25 g
  • Sugar: 20 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Sodium: 150 mg

  • Please note: This is an approximate nutritional value based on the ingredients used. Actual values may vary depending on specific brands and ingredients.


    Kuih kosui, with its vibrant green hue and delightful bounce, is a delicious and visually appealing treat. This recipe offers a convenient and accessible way to prepare this traditional kuih at home, omitting the use of lye water for a simpler approach. So, fire up your steamer and enjoy the delightful taste of homemade kuih kosui!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. Can I substitute the pandan extract with something else?

    Yes, you can substitute pandan extract with 1 tablespoon of pandan leaves blended with a little water and strained. However, the flavor will be slightly less intense.

    2. My kuih kosui turned out too dense. What went wrong?

    Overmixing the batter can lead to a denser texture. Ensure you only mix the batter until the ingredients are just combined.

    3. How long can I store leftover kuih kosui?

    Store leftover kuih kosui in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently by steaming for a few minutes to restore its soft texture.

    4. Can I freeze kuih kosui?

    Yes, kuih kosui freezes well. Allow the kuih to cool completely, then place them in an airtight container or freezer bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

    5. What are some variations I can try with this recipe?

    Add ½ cup of grated young coconut to the batter for a delightful textural contrast.

  • Swirl in a tablespoon of cocoa powder into the batter for a chocolate twist.
  • Top the cooled kuih with a drizzle of melted gula Melaka (palm sugar) for an extra touch of sweetness.