Sunday, June 9, 2013

Putu Piring - Malaysian Steamed Palm Sugar Rice Cake

I heart putu piring. Seriously, that is like the best Malay dessert out there among the millions of desserts they have come up with. A note, however, this is not one of the easiest dessert to make. For a start, getting the right texture of the flour is extremely important before you start steaming the kueh. If the flour is too dry, you will get a ton of birds feed, get what I mean. If the flour turns out too wet, you will get a clump of really hard mass of rice flour with palm sugar. Definitely not good eats.

If you happen to chance upon one of the vendors selling this type of dessert in Malaysia, they make it look really easy. Don't be fooled by them. Making this dessert is a lot harder than what they make it looks like. However, with patience and practice, you will get there.

Why must you attempt to make this dessert at home? Well, if you live in an area where there is an expert selling it, I'd say forget about making this dessert. You will be better off buying it from them. If you don't have one close to where you live, well, there is nothing left to do but to try your darndest to make this kueh then.

Putu Piring
(Makes about 15 pieces)

250g rice flour (I prefer the Thai's Erawan brand)
4 pieces of pandan leaves, cut into 4-inch section
160ml - 180ml hot water
1/4 tsp salt

For the Filling
150g of grated palm sugar

For the Topping
100g of grated coconut
2 pandan leaves, cut into 4-inch section
A pinch of salt

15 (3x3) banana leaves squares


1. In a pan, toast the flour with pandan leaves over medium heat. Stir flour around the pan to avoid burning. The flour is ready when the pandan leaves in the mix becomes dry. Set aside to cool.

2. Prepare the topping. Have a steamer ready with boiling water. Add salt and pandan leaves to the grated coconut. Stir to combine. Steam for 5 mins. Set aside to cool.

3. Grate the palm sugar. Set aside to be used later.

4. Once the flour has cooled off, sieve the flour into a clean bowl.

5. Combine hot water with salt. If you have a spray bottle, put it to good use here. Carefully, add water into the flour mixture. If you are using a spray bottle, mist the flour while tossing it around to moisten. Continue to add water into the flour until you can no longer find dry flour at the bottom of the mix. (Note: You will see clumps of flour forming. This is a good sign.)

6. Next, you will need to sieve the flour again. Using a spatula, press the clumps of flour through a fine sieve. The resulting flour should come out looking like coarse breadcrumbs or very fine pearls of uncooked sago.
7. In a steamer, bring a large amount of water to a boil.

8. In a putu piring mold or a homemade converted mold, put about a tablespoon of flour onto the mold. Resist the temptation to press the flour into the mold.

9. Top with palm sugar.

10. Pile on enough flour to cover the sugar and gently push away excess.
11. Wrap a cheesecloth over the flour mix, and gently invert the cloth onto a steamer tray.
12. Steam for about 3 mins.
13. Remove the kueh from the steamer. Top with grated coconut and a piece of banana leaf.

14. Gently, invert the kueh onto a plate. Carefully, peel the cheesecloth off the kueh.
15. Putu piring all ready to serve.


  1. Hi Reese,

    This is one of my fav food when I was growing up in Singapore. Glad to know that I can make this at home. Love to try this recipe! Thanks! :D


  2. Thank You so much. I spent half an hour going over some food blogs with not precise recipes. Love this.

  3. I love this too. I also want to know if the rice flour should be fine.

    1. The rice flour will be somewhat crumbly once you have hydrate it. The important thing is to sift it, or break the big clumps of wet flour before making the Kueh.

      Good Luck!