Most Malay and Peranakan-style kueh are notoriously difficult to make, but there is one kueh that’s particularly forgiving to the cook. Kueh bingka ubi (‘bingka ubi’ means tapioca in Malay), is made by both the Malays and Nonyas, and is almost ridiculously easy to make. It requires little more than assembling the ingredients, stirring it all up in a bowl, and pouring into a baking tin. In the case of this pandan-imbued version, the reward is kueh that has a rich, chewy mochi-like bite and a heady pandan aroma.
The most difficult parts of the recipe are finding grated tapioca and making the pandan juice. Your best bets for grated tapioca are the vegetable stores at wet markets — usually the ones that sell fresh grated coconut. If you can’t find it, then you’ll have to grate it yourself.
The good news is raw tapioca keeps well in the fridge, so you can break up the work: grate the tapioca one day, keep it in the fridge, then make the kueh the next day. The same goes for the pandan juice. It’s best to use fresh pandan juice rather than artificial extract — the flavour of the fresh stuff is simply superior and it lends a pretty jade hue to the kueh.
As for the coconut milk, we found little difference between using the freshly squeezed or pasteurised stuff. So save yourself the elbow grease and use good coconut milk from a packet, which can be found in the refrigerator section of the supermarket.
Lastly, kueh bingka doesn’t keep well, so should you find yourself with leftovers, store it in the fridge for up to two days, but bring to room temperature or warm it up before eating.
Pandan Kueh Bingka Ubi
Makes a 23cm - 25cm square kueh
2 eggs (60g - 65g each)
280g sugar a small pinch of salt
1 tsp corn flour
1kg grated raw tapioca/cassava
60 ml fresh pandan juice*
375 ml coconut milk
65 ml water
1 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
Line the base of a 23cm - 25cm square cake tin with parchment paper.
Pre-heat oven to 190°C.
In a large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, salt, corn flour and tapioca with a wooden spoon until combined.
Pour the pandan juice, coconut milk, water and melted butter into the tapioca mixture. Stir till well-combined.
Pour the batter into the cake tin and give it a stir if you see liquid pooling around the edges. It means you haven’t mixed the batter well enough.
Bake for about 75 minutes, or until the surface is golden and crusty and a sharp knife inserted to the centre of the kueh emerges clean.
Remove from the oven and leave the kueh in its tin, placed on a cooling rack, for about 30 to 45 minutes.
Run a sharp knife around the sides of the kueh and unmould from the tin. Leave the kueh on the wire rack until completely cool, about 1.5 hours.
Best eaten on the day it’s made. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to two days. The kueh will harden when cold, so heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds to bring it to room temperature.
*To make pandan juice, cut 20 pandan leaves into 2cm pieces and place in a blender with 150ml water. Blitz for about 1 min, then strain the pandan pulp through a muslin cloth or fine strainer. If using strainer, use the back of a spoon to press down on the pandan pulp to get every last drop of juice. Discard pulp and use the juice accordingly. Can be made three days ahead and stored in the fridge, covered.