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Ang Ku Kueh / Red Tortoise Cake

In this issue, we’re sharing a traditional Chinese pastry – Ang Ku Kueh, also known as Red Tortoise Cake. In the regions of Malaysia and Singapore, it is commonly referred to as “Ang Ku Kueh” in Hokkien dialect. Although this pastry comes in various flavors for the filling, today we’ll be sharing the commonly available mung bean flavor.

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Pastry Skin

Typically, the method for making the pastry involves kneading the dough and then boiling a portion of it. In our approach, we boil a portion of water and pour it into glutinous rice flour to create a semi-cooked state. Both methods aim to enhance the dough’s elasticity, making it less prone to tearing when wrapping the filling. It’s important to note that different brands of flour may have varying water absorption, so adjust accordingly. The dough should feel non-sticky, making it easier to handle when wrapping the filling. Regarding the color of the pastry, I’ve previously used purple sweet potato, but the taste wasn’t pronounced. Opting for natural fruit and vegetable powders yields a similar taste, and it’s more convenient without the need to steam sweet potatoes.

pour boiling water into glutinous rice flour to create a semi-cooked state

Ang Ku Kueh Patterns and Appearance

Attractive pastries often capture people’s attention, and I am no exception. After trying various methods and recipes to maintain a beautiful pattern, I found that they often compromise on taste. Therefore, I purchased a Red Tortoise Cake to taste-test; it was soft and smooth, but the pattern was slightly blurry and less intricate. I believe that creating traditional pastries should focus on bringing out the essence of flavor and texture when consumed. Hence, I strike a balance between appearance and taste. Besides adjusting the water ratio, the steaming time is crucial, ideally kept between 10-15 minutes. Prolonged steaming causes the cake to expand, resulting in a less defined pattern.

Mung Bean Filling

In a previous video on making Hor Ka Sai Mooncakes, I shared a mung bean filling that included butter, giving it a milky aroma. However, when used for Red Tortoise Cakes, it didn’t quite match. Due to my slight bias in making traditional pastries, I specially formulated another mung bean filling without the milky aroma. If you prefer a mung bean filling with a milky taste, it’s worth trying with added butter. The distinctive element in this mung bean filling is the addition of a small amount of fried shallot, enriching the aroma of the mung bean and creating a savory-sweet balance.

Nowadays, Red Tortoise Cakes are not hard to find among traditional pastries. They are commonly used during Chinese traditional festivals for offerings or in full moon gift boxes. The red color and tortoise-shaped appearance symbolize auspiciousness and longevity. If there are leftovers, they can be stored in the refrigerator and steamed to reheat when ready to eat.

Ang Ku Kueh 红龟糕
The red color and tortoise-shaped appearance symbolize auspiciousness and longevity
Fried Ang Ku Kueh 煎红龟糕
Fried Ang Ku Kueh
Ang Ku Kueh 红龟糕

Ang Ku Kueh/Red Tortoise Cake

In the regions of Malaysia and Singapore, it is commonly referred to as "Ang Ku Kueh" in Hokkien dialect. Although this pastry comes in various flavors for the filling, today we'll be sharing the commonly available mung bean flavor.

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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: festival, Traditional
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 16 pieces
Calories: 156kcal

EQUIPMENT

  • Pressure Cooker

INGREDIENTS

Mung Bean Filling

  • 100 g Split Mung Beans
  • 200 g Water
  • 60 g Sugar
  • 0.25 tsp Salt
  • 30 g Corn Oil
  • 1 tbsp Fried Shallots
  • 2 pcs Pandan Leaves

Pastry Skin

  • 200 g Glutinous Rice Flour
  • 60 g Boiling Water
  • 100 g Water
  • 15 g Caster Sugar
  • 30 g Corn Oil
  • 1 tbsp Beetroot Powder


INSTRUCTIONS

Banana Leaf Pastry Mat

  • Use banana leaves to make pastry mats, which must be scalded with hot water before cutting. After cutting, apply a layer of cooking oil on the banana leaves to prevent them from sticking.

Mung Bean Filling

  • Put all the ingredients of [Mung Bean Filling] into the pressure cooker. Then cook for 15-20 minutes. Need to wash the Split mung beans first.
  • After the pressure cooker stops leaking air, first remove the pandan leaves, then use a spatula to press and mix evenly, then sift through a strainer.
  • Divide the filling into 16 portions, each portion is about 21 grams. Remember to cover the divided filling to prevent it from drying out.

Pastry Skin and Finished Product

  • Mix the glutinous rice flour, caster sugar and sifted beetroot powder evenly, pour boiling water over the glutinous rice flour and mix evenly.
  • Then add water and continue to mix evenly. After that add corn oil and knead into a ball.
  • Also divide it into 16 portions, each portion is about 25 grams. Remember to cover any unused dough.
  • Then brush the red tortoise cake mold with cooking oil. Brush a little oil on each piece you print. Also apply some oil to the dough and hands.
  • Flatten the dough into a big sheet, wrap the filling in it, close it up and roll it.
  • Roll it into a long strip, first press it against the word “Shou” in the middle, and then press the entire mold.
  • Knock the mold left and right. When you see that the surrounding parts are detached, you can try to knock it on your hand, put it on a banana leaf and you are done.
  • Wait until the water in the pot boils before putting the steamer on it and steam over high heat for 10 to 15 minutes. After steaming, let it cool and it’s done.
    Ang Ku Kueh 红龟糕

INSTRUCTIONS VIDEO

NOTES

You can use powder or oil to achieve the anti-sticking effect. I choose to use oil because after steaming, there is no need to apply oil again.

NUTRITION

Serving: 1piece | Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 27.8g | Protein: 2.7g | Fat: 3.8g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Sodium: 45mg | Potassium: 78mg | Fiber: 1.9g | Sugar: 5.1g | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @my.lovelyrecipes or tag #mylovelyrecipes!

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Ang Ku Kueh 红龟糕