Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Kuih Bahulu or is it a flying saucer?

When I was a kid I looked forward to the week before Chinese New Year because that was when my family baked festive goodies. I remember we always baked "love letters" and kuih bahulu which us Hokkiens call "kueh nhng ko". Don't try to pronounce it if you're not at least 60% Hokkien! "Kueh nhng ko" literally means egg cake. Between kuih bahulu and love letters, I prefer the former. Also consuming love letters always made me sick which I later found out to be due to my sensitivity to coconut, a  key ingredient in love letters.

Back then we did not own a oven and we used a cast iron mould cooked over a hot charcoal stove. Making kuih bahulu is hard work if you do it the old way using a brass hand whisk. Can you imagine hand chomping away at the egg and sugar mixture? You need a lot of arm power.

traditional brass hand whisk via
I used to help out during the baking although help is a strong word. The only task my mother could trust me with was using the hand whisk and even then she would criticize how ineffective my efforts were. I was more interested in the glamorous tasks like putting the batter in the mould or removing the baked goods. Sadly I could only watch.

I have never tried baking kuih bahulu before because nowadays you can just walk into a bakery and buy them. But as you know, I have suddenly awakened the baker in me and I have this desire to bake many, many things. Sometimes just to see if I can.

Kuih Bahulu met the brief mostly because my son loves to eat them. He is a very picky eater and doesn't really enjoy eating many things. At the risk of destroying his love for kuih bahulu, I attempted to make a batch for him to enjoy. I watched several youtube videos and read a few blogs and finally followed the recipe on this one. Based on the recipe, assuming the eggs weighed 50g (nett), then it is 1:1 ratio for eggs and sugar. I was interested to see how that might work out.

balloon whisk
my Philips beaters
The most critical part of making Kuih Bahulu is whisking the eggs-sugar mixture. Some recipes call for beating the eggs first before introducing the sugar. I just beat both together. I think the most important detail is to use the right whisk. I used a balloon whisk. On my old mixer, the beaters would have worked too.

after flour was added
I think it took a total of 8 mins on the mixer before the egg/sugar mixture became thick and creamy.  Patience is the key! Once I incorporated the flour, the batter became very thick. Maybe a bit too thick.

Remember the glamorous job of putting the batter in the mould? That was tedious and quite hard as each mould is very small and can't fit much batter. I used 2 aluminum mould which could fit into my oven at the same time.

I wonder why my kuih bahulu did not have a more distinctive impression of the mould.

I feel that I put too much batter that's why I have the flying saucer effect.

It tastes good though and my son had no complaints. Kuih Bahulu is very addictive and one can easily put on a lot of weight eating these! Next time, to address the dryness, I will try a recipe with higher liquid content.


Bethany said...

Seriously, though--isn't love letters a great name for a baked treat?

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