'Kuih Seri Muka' is one of the more famous 'kuih' (sweet snack) in Malaysia. This Malaysian layered cake had been requested many times by our viewers. The recipe is pretty simple but I decided to label the difficulty level of this recipe as "average" as there are a few steps which could make or break the perfection of 'Kuih Seri Muka'. First of all, let's get to the basic. The word "seri" means glow or radiance and "muka" means face. 'Kuih' generally has fancy names. It does makes me wonder how the name, 'glowing/radiant face' comes about. Weird as it may sound but have trust in the big group of viewers who had requested the recipe. They know how amazingly delicious this 'kuih' is. If you too have any recipe request, click Request to submit yours.
This cake or 'kuih' is made up of two layers. The bottom layer is made from coconut milk flavoured steamed glutinous rice. The top green layer is made up of sweet pandan flavoured custard cooked with coconut milk which makes the custard tastes creamy. Both of these layers make this 'kuih' stands out among the myraid of 'kuih' available in Malaysia. Pandan extract gives natural colouring to the 'kuih'. Within the 'Peranakan' community, 'Kuih Seri Muka' is made slightly different as the glutinous rice is coloured using butterfly pea flower. This is an option if you want the 'kuih' to be more vibrant. Soak about 15 dried butterfly pea flower in warm water for 15 minutes and then use the coloured water to soak 1/3 of the glutinous rice. This process is very similar to the recipe I had for Pulut Tai Tai.
During the initial experiment, I had several issues trying to come up with the perfect 'Kuih Seri Muka'. The layers did not stick together and became a complete disaster! The pandan custard was overcooked which made the pandan custard layer clumpy and uneven. Honestly, I was so disappointed then. However, it was still edible but 'Kuih Seri Muka' has to live up to its name by 'glowing' and not look unpresentable! Therefore, I will share the tips with you here on how to make this beautiful 'kuih' for your enjoyment.
When compacting the glutinous rice to create the bottom layer, do ensure that enough pressure is applied to prevent it from falling apart when it is cut. Once the rice is compacted, concentrate on getting the second layer right. Cook the custard mixture at low heat. Patience is the key here. I learnt the hard way. So, do not repeat my mistake or you will end up in disappointment. As mentioned in the video, you have to avoid having water droplets fall onto the surface of the 'Kuih Seri Muka' in order to achieve a smooth surface. Wrap the cover of the pan with a clean kitchen towel or cover the tray with aluminium foil during the steaming process.That would prevent an uneven surface. To check if the 'kuih' is cooked, poke a toothpick into the custard layer. If it comes off clean, then the kuih is ready.
Allow the 'Kuih Seri Muka' to cool to room temperature before cutting. Clean knife with a wet kitchen towel or use a plastic knife for a smooth cut. This 'kuih' can be kept for up to 24 hours if not refrigerated. Refrigerating it makes cutting easier. However, it will harden the layer of glutinous rice. Wrap the tray with cling wrap to prevent the glutinous rice from drying up. To sum this up, patience and caution is exercised in every step. I can assure you then that you will be beaming with pride at the perfect outcome of the 'Kuih Seri Muka'. All said and done, do not forget to share a photo of the 'kuih' on this site. We look forward to seeing it.