How to Make Angkoo Kueh

Don’t tell my sifu this, but I’m terribly nervous.

Even if that sifu happens to be none other than the redoubtable Angkoo Queen herself, Madame Pureglutton – you can’t blame me for worrying about this little venture. It’s one thing to eat delicious, home-made angkoo kueh lovingly crafted by the hands of an expert, it’s quite another to attempt to make it yourself.

Please, I pray, don’t let this be a disaster.

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It isn’t as though I am being asked to do very complex tasks. My sifu had already prepared most of the ingredients. To colour the angkoo dough, she had mashed up some sweet potatoes for their rich purple, beetroots for their vibrant pink and pumpkins for their bright, buttery yellow sunshine.

I just needed to pour the right amount of glutinous flour into the bowl, scrape some purple (or pink, or yellow) mash into the flour, add oil and mix the whole thing up until it becomes a decent blob of angkoo dough. If only.

First, the dough was too wet so I had to add more flour. Then it became too dry so I had to add more oil. Then the colour got too diluted, so I had to add more mash. Which, of course, made it too wet again. So: repeat, repeat, repeat. Why does this all seem so familiar?

.

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Then it gets complicated.

(Aye, that first bit? That was the easy bit. Sighs.)

My very kind and thoughtful sifu had also prepared the angkoo fillings ahead of time (probably because she had the prescience to know I’d likely screw this part up spectacularly if left to my own devices). And as with the three colours of dough, there are three types of filling – the quintessential mung bean, sweet ground peanuts (Devil’s favourite, and in fact, the very reason my sifu made this) and some savoury mix of julienned Chinese turnip, carrots and minced meat – all rolled into neat little balls.

Make that not-so-little balls that I now needed to stuff into blobs of angkoo dough. Uhm, how?

Fortunately, Fate intervened at this critical juncture in the lovely form of Babe_KL, my fellow angkoo student. Nothing like some competition to get me crackin’.

Whilst Babe dived into rolling, fondling and churning out one perfectly stuffed angkoo blob after another, not unlike a conveyor belt at some large food factory, I struggled with simply not having the blasted blobs crack, squirt and spill out additional, non-approved baby blobs. I have to admit, with much shame and dishonour, that I tried to cover up the first few cracks with more angkoo dough, that I felt less like a home chef by the end of it and more like a kitchen plasterer.

O woe is me!

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Histrionics aside, I eventually get there. The perfect angkoo blob – a yin/yang partnership of dough and filling, of sweet potato with mung bean, of beetroot and peanut, of pumpkin and all that salty stuff sifu mixed together.

Now comes the fun part. Time for some violence.

Bowl of flour. Wooden angkoo mould. Dust flour over angkoo mould. Squash angkoo blob into mould. Press a piece of banana leaf over squashed blob. Turn mould over. Then BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! that sucker till it comes out!

Uhm, actually just one BAM! (and more of a soft “bamphh”, actually) but it does the trick. One perfect little angkoo kueh, ready for steaming. And of course, nothing quite like eating it while it’s fresh and pipin’ hot.

That, boys and girls, is how you make angkoo kueh. Hooray!

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Copyright © 2011 Kenny Mah Ying Fye. Pictures by Devil CK.

Special thanks to my sifu, Pureglutton the Angkoo Queen.

54 Responses

  1. Jun January 10, 2011 / 7:41 am

    send some over!! it’s one of my fav kuihs! :D

  2. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 8:08 am

    @Jun: Hehe, it won’t taste as good Fedex-ed; more fun to make them on your own, dear. Hence this post. Go on, you’ll love it!

  3. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 8:36 am

    @lotsofcravings: What’s next? Hmm, how about ‘How to Cook Rice Using a Rice Cooker’? No?

    Well, let me get back to you on that, then. *chuckles*

  4. Prodigal Lulu January 10, 2011 / 9:14 am

    whoa, seems tasty. You can rent a space at the market and get some extra coins. By the way, Please reserve some for me… haha

  5. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 9:18 am

    @Prodigal Lulu: “Some extra coins”? Oh, trust me, these delicious babies will go for more than merely some extra coins. Hehe.

  6. J the chocoholic January 10, 2011 / 9:23 am

    Madame Pureglutton is a kitchen goddess but my problem with her is that she makes it look so easy to do! (When it really isn’t… *referring specifically to the How To make Bak Chang session*)
    :)

  7. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 9:26 am

    @J the chocoholic: Very true – she does make it look so easy, but after trying my own hands at it, uhm, not so… haha.

    And I remember the How to Make Bak Chang session – it was certainly more fun to look and take pictures than having to actually do it, that’s for sure!

    *runs away from sifu’s swishing rotan*

  8. ilene ong January 10, 2011 / 9:46 am

    Ooo….looks good! Care sharing the recipe? BTW, how did you get the centre to color differently?

  9. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 9:52 am

    @ilene ong: Haha, the recipe’s actually in the post itself, if you read it and ignore the bits where I am rambling.

    I’ll ask Pureglutton and see if she has a recipe with actual measurements though (I think that’s what you’re asking for) and the post it here.

    The trick to get the centre to be a different colour is to add a small bit of dough of a different colour to the centre of the mould itself, then press the main blob into the mould as usual. (Hope my sifu doesn’t kill me for divulging this Sacred Secret of the Ang Koo…)

  10. jemima January 10, 2011 / 10:12 am

    *makes a note that Kenny has to make me some angkoos besides saving a dance with me*

  11. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 10:20 am

    @jemima: Okay, let’s add that to the list. I’ll wager you’ll enjoy the angkoos more than the dance though, hehe.

  12. boo_licious January 10, 2011 / 10:22 am

    Wow, a personal lesson from the Angkoo Queen, you have been blessed Kenny. I do love that pout pix with the angkoo.

    Don’t worry, I can imagine I’ll just be as bad at it as I’m horrible at making anything with finesse unlike the domestic goddesses babekl and Pure Glutton.

  13. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 11:02 am

    @boo_licious: Haha, that pout pix was probably me going, “After all that trouble, and all I get is THIS?”

    Now we know all the effort that goes into the delicious treats we often enjoy without a second thought. Truly hats off to all these domestic goddesses!

  14. Leo (thule) January 10, 2011 / 11:09 am

    good thing is that you took initiative to make angkoos.. me??? too lazy even to buy the ingredients :P I’d rather let my wife make some for me instead

  15. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 11:31 am

    @Leo (thule): Oh, it’s not too much trouble when my sifu had already prepared all the ingredients for us.

    And it was good practice rolling those balls… uhm, I mean for the tong yuen that I made after that, also rolling balls ma. Ahem.

  16. asstha January 10, 2011 / 11:55 am

    weeeeee… I wan recipe tooooooooooooo… then mayb lets do a baking session together… (baking alone is not fun…)

  17. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 11:58 am

    @asstha: Everyone Loves Making Angkoo Kueh! That could be the title of my sifu‘s new cooking show on Astro, ya? Hehe.

    Madame Pureglutton’s a tad busy this manic Monday morning, so I’m guessing the earliest we’d get a recipe is tonight. Hold on to your horses, my beloved friends and readers!

  18. ciki January 10, 2011 / 12:32 pm

    BAM BAM BAM.. that’s like how u do most things right? Just sayin. MWUAHAHAHAHHAAHA !!!!!

  19. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 12:34 pm

    @ciki: Heh. Heh. Heh. I think that speaks more volumes about YOUR experience, dear, than mine. *chuckles*

  20. Sean January 10, 2011 / 12:57 pm

    oh man, so laborious wan. just wake me up from my nap when they’re ready to eat. but *slaps forehead!* those intricate patterns on the ang koo kueh are made through a mold ar. i always thought they were painstakingly handcrafted, one by one, notch by notch, line by line :D

  21. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 1:17 pm

    @Sean: You’re joking, right? Hand-crafted angkoo kueh? My sifu would need at least 20 more students to produce even half the number of angkoo kueh if we carved the patterns by hand, one line at a time.

    My guess is that you really did just wake up from a nap… *guffaws*

  22. Sean January 10, 2011 / 2:23 pm

    u mean pureglutton doesn’t run a sweatshop filled with chinese children and cambodian women, all toiling from dawn to dusk and straining their eyes to make those ang koo kueh patterns individually? (and a separate sweatshop to make tau yew bak) imagine how different your life would be now if u had been sold into slavery as a kid and inducted into pureglutton’s service :D

  23. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 3:20 pm

    @Sean: Heh. The first thing that came to mind after reading your comment was that you might wanna give up journalism and food blogging and take up a career as a novelist… cos you’re certainly not lacking in the imagination department!

    Anyway my sifu wouldn’t run a sweatshop (or sweatshops, even) – not hygienic lah to prepare food with all that perspiration. *chuckles*

  24. Sean January 10, 2011 / 3:39 pm

    eh, but isn’t sweat the secret ingredient that supposedly makes roti canai so yummy? pureglutton might not wanna tell you this, but for all we know, the reason why her ang koo kueh is soooo good is because it’s really 90 percent dough, 5 percent inspiration and 5 percent perspiration! (whose perspiration, i’m not sure) :D

  25. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 3:44 pm

    @Sean: I’m gonna sit back and happily watch on as my sifu runs after you with a very sharp parang.

    (I know it’s sharp cos as her faithful and dedicated student, I’d have taken care to sharpen it, heh.)

    Did I tell you Madame Pureglutton is especially gifted with her knifework? If you thought she was talented with her bare hands, wait till you see her handle her blades! Hehe.

  26. Sean January 10, 2011 / 4:01 pm

    pah. those knifes might only be so sharp as to slice through angkoos. which means not that sharp, since my teeth could also cut through such doughy morsels :D

    anyways, putting sweat into angkoos is no big deal mah. after all, i didn’t suggest that pureglutton secretly inserts blood into her red eggs, boogers into her tau yew bak to make it ‘comfort foodish,’ or toenail clippings into her siu yuk to give it more crunch :D

  27. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 4:32 pm

    @Sean: Well, you are free to try your luck with those knives and my sifu. In fact, DO try your luck. Hehe.

    And oh, you’re totally into digging yourself a deeper hole, aren’t you? Unlike you, I don’t have the imagination to even make a guess as to what Pureglutton would do to you after your libellous assertions…

  28. ck lam January 10, 2011 / 4:52 pm

    Wow…good to see you in the kitchen and doing great with those lovely angkooooos :)

  29. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 4:55 pm

    @ck lam: Thanks, dear! I have to say my sifu and Babe were doing a much better job than me… but I got there eventually.

    *beams proudly*

  30. mimid3vils January 10, 2011 / 5:08 pm

    not good enough? At least it look good enough, haha ^^

  31. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 5:10 pm

    @mimid3vils: Actually it was the look that wasn’t good enough – my finished angkoos were flatter and the colours less even than sifu and Babe’s. The taste was perfect though. Yay.

  32. keropokman January 10, 2011 / 5:14 pm

    * pretending to be from Rantau Abang *

    hey hey mister!

    I see that you are a fan of me and my bros and sis.

    So glad you are making red turtle kuehs and not making guilin gao from our shells.

    oh, the pink looks so nice! share with you something? pink, that’s the ‘in; colour now deep down under the sea. When we do our medi, pedi and shelli (Yes, the women amongst us colour our shells too!) the most requested colour is pink!

  33. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 5:16 pm

    @keropokman: *GUFFAWS*

    This may be a first. I literally have no response to your comment, bro. Oh boy.

  34. Sean January 10, 2011 / 5:39 pm

    *tries to imagine a screaming pureglutton pursuing me with a parang* ahhh, i can see the newspaper headline now. ‘woman runs amok with knife after friends challenge her cooking’ :D

    anyways, silence means assent, right. and since pureglutton hasn’t surfaced to deny my suggestions, and i haven’t received any notice of a libel lawsuit, you might want to think twice next time before you munch on her angkoo *whistles while i work* :D

  35. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 6:46 pm

    @Sean: Oh that would be some headline. Somehow I doubt you be the one writing it since you’re likely to be in pieces post-parang…

    (By the way, Devil wants me to add that Madame Pureglutton may well use her legendary angkoo mould to teach you a lesson instead of an ordinary parang.)

    And silence just means she’s busy today lah. She’ll respond to these allegations soon enough. Run, Sean, run. (But you can’t hide… not from the Angkoo Queen, you can’t.)

  36. Precious Pea January 10, 2011 / 8:15 pm

    Wahh…am so impressed!! When making again? Am coming back in mid Feb you know *hint hint*

  37. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 8:18 pm

    @Precious Pea: Ooh! You’re coming home for CNY? Let’s meet up! It’s been ages… and who knows? Some tortoise-shaped kueh may well appear mysteriously… *winks winks*

  38. lena January 10, 2011 / 10:02 pm

    wow, you’re making angkoos?!..for a moment i thought i went to the wrong site. Very pretty. Your ‘sifu’ must be so proud of you..you taking cooking classes? must check out your sifu’s site after this. Can her recipe of this be shared? *thumbs up* for you!

  39. Kenny Mah January 10, 2011 / 10:07 pm

    @lena: My sifu‘s really got her hands full today but I’m sure she’ll be more than happy to share her angkoo recipe with you and the rest.

    For me, all recipes tend to be adapted by my trial-and-error philosophy by the end of the day anyway, hehe. (Sorry, sifu!)

  40. Pureglutton January 10, 2011 / 11:00 pm

    *Guffaw* Gosh, I can’t decide whether your post or the comments here are funnier :P Ahh… at last, my manic workday is over and I can come here & say my piece, hehe.

    Such an endearing post, my dear. U made the whole session sound so fun but u ARE right – it was tremendous fun, wasn’t it? Love that pouty pic of u, LOL!

    Recipe? Sure, that can be shared. Do i email u that & u post it or how? Would be quite lengthy for me to reproduce it here in yr “Comment” box, hehe! U r absolutely right, recipes should be adapted & improved as u go along – i do that all the time, haha!

    And i refuse to get involved in that ridiculous debate between u & Sean about parangs & sweatshops – u two are so teruk! :P

    TQ for this lovely post, Kenny dear :-))

  41. Sean January 11, 2011 / 12:01 am

    bah, i’m not afraid. am sure you all won’t stand idly by while she commits homicide. after all, no judge or jury would acquit her of such a dastardly deed. she can’t plead just cause or temporary insanity :D

  42. Kenny Mah January 11, 2011 / 8:34 am

    @Pureglutton: Hooray! Sifu has come to defend her skills and her masterpiece! Now that Sean fler will tremble to his toes, he will.

    Pouty? Who, me? I think mostly I was just moaning on and on about why my angkoo blobs didn’t turn out half as nice as yours and Babe’s. But I got there in the end – it was so much fun!

    Recipe: Oh trust me, you can leave it here as a comment, or you can email it to me and I’ll add it to the post itself. Or you can post it on your blog and I’ll link to your recipe post. Whichever works for you, sifu.

    And it’s not me – it’s all Sean’s fault, really! He started on them sweatshops, not me… *pouts*

  43. Kenny Mah January 11, 2011 / 8:37 am

    @Sean: You’d be correct. I would certainly not stand by idly while she chops you up into a hundred pieces. I’ll cheer my sifu on, of course.

    Such skill! Such finesse! And so much blood! (Must be all the cockles he consumes…)

  44. babe_kl January 11, 2011 / 9:25 am

    LOL it’s always more interesting to read the comments here. btw you did good too eventually after some practising :D lemme dig out the video and see if it’s good to be posted up :p

  45. Kenny Mah January 11, 2011 / 12:59 pm

    @babe_kl: Oh no! You have a VIDEO of me making the angkoo kueh? Please don’t post it – it’d be too embarrassing!

    *panics*

  46. Sean January 11, 2011 / 1:30 pm

    gasp! you said the c-word!!! :P

  47. Kenny Mah January 11, 2011 / 3:52 pm

    @Sean: What C-word? *blur blur*

  48. tigerfish January 12, 2011 / 3:57 am

    Pink koo kueh! At least you got there. I never even want to start with anything to do with flour and measurements :O

  49. Kenny Mah January 12, 2011 / 8:39 am

    @tigerfish: Haha, I’m not entirely convinced I’d do well with measurements myself. It’s all “agak-agak” and trial-and-error.

  50. babe_kl January 12, 2011 / 10:45 am

    you’re lucky i didn’t manage to capture you lol, check my latest post!

  51. Kenny Mah January 12, 2011 / 10:57 am

    @babe_kl: Oh you didn’t? I thank my lucky stars! Hehe.

    (Will check out your post soon! Should be fantastic, as usual.)

  52. Shelley January 15, 2011 / 10:43 am

    Gorgeous! Love the colours. So pretty! :)

  53. Kenny Mah January 15, 2011 / 11:42 am

    @Shelley: They are, aren’t they? And so much fun to make, too!

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