Light, airy, and fragrant Kuih Bangkit (Tapioca Cookies) are a Chinese New Year favorite in…
These petite Kuih Bangkit Sago and Tapioca Flours have a lighter texture while still holding its shape. It has a nice crunch and great flavor.
For a long time, people were not interested in making traditional Nyonya delicacies because they can be difficult and time consuming to make. As such, many family treasured recipes are lost because the old matriarchs who committed them to memory passed away without writing them down and passing it on to the next generation. However, with more and more food blogs trying to document these recipes, it appears that there is a popular resurgence of traditional cookies such as Kuih Bangkit. This in itself is a good thing but it does mean that we sometimes have to recreate the recipe from scratch and by trial and error.
Using Different Flours
Ever since making a batch of Kuih Bangkit in 2015, I have been on a quest to improve the texture of these delicate cookies. I have tried using rice flour, coconut flour, corn flour, and combinations thereof but they have been unsatisfactory. While they look promising, the flavor is not right.
I had read about people using sago flour but where can I get sago flour right here in the US Heartland? I searched the internet hoping that someone will sell the flour on-line to no avail. Finally, I gave up and waited until it was time for me to visit my parents in Kuala Lumpur. I hauled back several bags of this precious sago flour so that I can experiment with it. I tried using just sago flour and a combination of sago and tapioca flour with only tapioca flour as my benchmark. Despite my best efforts, I could not get it right. It was frustrating and I had to give it up.
Using Only Sago Flour
As explained in my updated original Kuih Bangkit post, using purely sago flour yields unsatisfactory results. You will notice that most people using just sago flour shape their cookies using cookie cutters. This is because the cookies puff up and spread out too much. In other words, it will not retain its molded shape if you are using the traditional Kuih Bangkit mold.
Furthermore, the cookies tend to delaminate as they are very, very light. You can say it has the melt-in-the-mouth texture if that is what you are looking for but the crunch is not there. The flavor is okay but not great. In my opinion, tapioca flour gives Kuih Bangkit its characteristic flavor and crunch.
Kuih Bangkit Sago and Tapioca Flours
This year, I decided to give the sago flour a final try. I had previously tested a combination of 50% sago flour and 50% tapioca flour and did not like the outcome. This time I decided to go with 75% sago flour and 25% tapioca flour. Bingo, I think I got it this time! I also made a batch using only tapioca flour.
During the baking, the cookies did spread a little but not too much. As you can see from the pictures, they were able to hold their shape which is what I wanted to achieve. Otherwise, it would be pointless to use those beautiful Kuih Bangkit molds. The texture is still fragile but with less delamination. There is the right amount of crunch and it is lighter.
The tapioca flavor is discernible and that is a good thing. So far, I think this is the best compromise and I am satisfied. If you live in Malaysia and Singapore where you can get sago flour, I hope you will give these Kuih Bangkit Sago and Tapioca Flours a try and let me know what you think. For the others, be patient and continue to work with this version of Kuih Bangkit. 🙂
Not too Moist or Dry
I will say this again as I have said in my original Kuih Bangkit post, and that is the dough should be pliable but not too moist or dry. Just when you think you should add a little more coconut cream is when you should stop. As long as the dough can hold together is where you want it to be or you will be introducing too much liquid into it. Remember, they should be easily knocked out of those wooden molds. If not, then they are too moist.
Today, you will more than likely find plastic molds instead of wooden ones. I was skeptical at first but was pleasantly surprised at how easy the shaped cookies dropped out of the mold. They are definitely much easier to use and you will need less dusting flour. I actually enjoy using them and will get more the next time I visit my parents. I will retire my wooden molds as heirlooms…LOL!
Similar Tools Used in Making These Kuih Bangkit Sago and Tapioca Flours
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- 12 oz sago flour (340g)
- 4 oz tapioca flour (113g)
- 6 pandan leaves (rinsed and dried)
- ¾ cup coconut cream scooped out from 1 can (14 oz/400ml) coconut milk
- ¾ cup sugar / castor sugar (165g)
- 2 egg yolks
- A few drops red food coloring (optional)
- Combine sago and tapioca flours in a baking tray. Cut pandan leaves into 3 inch lengths and bury them in the flours. Place in a 200°F (93°C) oven for 1 hour. Remove and allow flours to cool.
- Sift cooked flours. You should get about 14 oz (396g) of cooked flours. Reserve ¼ cup (1 oz/28g) for dusting wooden molds.
- Do not shake coconut milk in can. Open and scoop out about ¾ cup (180ml) coconut cream/thick coconut milk. Set aside.
- Cream sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add ⅓ of the cooked flours and ⅓ of the coconut cream. Mix with a spatula. Continue until all flours and coconut cream are used up.
- Gently knead to form a soft dough. If dough appears to be too dry, add 1 to 2 additional tablespoons of coconut cream. Turn dough onto counter to knead if necessary. Dough should be soft but not sticky. Place dough back in the bowl and cover with a moist towel.
- Place reserved cooked flours in a muslin/filter bag. Dust plastic/wooden kuih bangkit mold.
- Pinch a little dough from the bowl and press into each of the wooden mold indentations. Trim off excess with a butter knife. Gently tap wooden mold on the counter to release molded cookies. Place on a parchment lined baking tray.
- If you do not have kuih bangkit mold, you can use small 1 inch cookie cutters. Lightly flour working surface and rolling pin with a little cooked flours. Gently roll dough out to ¼ inch thick. Dip cookie cutter in cooked flours and cut into shapes.
- Bake cookies in a 325°F (163°C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. Bottom of cookies should be lightly browned. Remove and allow cookies to cool completely.
- Dot cookies with red food coloring if desired. Store in an air tight container for up to 1 month.