Ang ku kueh or red tortoise cakes are shaped to look like tortoise shells with the Chinese character “shou” or “longevity” imprinted in the centre. They are often used as temple offerings particularly during Hungry Ghost and Ching Ming Festivals (early April). It is also presented as an auspicious gift during a baby’s full month celebration.
A well-made kueh is soft and pleasantly chewy, with a smooth, delicate skin made of glutinous rice flour. Popular fillings can range from traditional sweet mung bean and peanut to yam and coconut. “For homemade ang ku kueh, the trickiest part is judging how much water to incorporate into the dough for the skin, as this depends partly on the rice flour and other starches used, the ambient humidity, and so on. The goal is a smooth and malleable dough that will retain the details of the ang ku kueh mould,” shares Christopher Tan, cookbook author, cooking instructor, and executive committee member of Slow Food Singapore.
To have a bite of this sweet favourite, alongside a taste of yesteryear, here are three places that still sells hand-crafted ang ku kueh in Singapore:
This story first appeared on The Peak, 2016.
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