Kuih Lapis / Steamed Rice Flour Layers

March 14, 2011


I am not sure the origins of this beautifully layered dessert or afternoon snack...
its either Nyonya or Malay.

All I know is that my mom used to make this...  or sometimes she would buy from a Vendor, named Ali, who cycled to our village and nearby villages  with his huge stainless steel version of tiffin ... about the 0.5 meter in diameter, strap to the back of his bicycle...
He would 'hoot' as he passed by our street... mothers and children would gather around and we would chose our favourite kuih. Ali would have varieties of kuih in his big tiffin.... from sweet to savouries... one of many would be this beautiful layered kuih made from rice flour... I love to have this... either for breakfast or for my afternoon delight...  

This is really an easy kuih to make... all that is required is a steamer,  and steam for 3 minutes between each layers. The layers will not come off clean if  'oversteaming'... That is how I gauge whether the kuih (as I would call it...)  is oversteam or otherwise ... I would savour the kuih by peeling one layer at a time ... I hate to bite into that beautiful layers and leave my ugly teethmark.... so NOT ladylike.... hehehe 

360g caster sugar
700 ml water
3 knotted pandan leaves
360g rice flour
300ml water
400ml thick coconut milk 
1/4 teaspoon salt
colourings : red and yellow
  1. Make the syrup by boiling sugar, water and knotted pandan until sugar has dissolved. leave it to cool.
  2. Combine rice flour, coconut milk and water in a bowl. mix well and strain if needs be.
  3. Add the syrup. Divide into 3 portions : White, mix one portion with red to have a Deep pink and the other mix red and yellow to give an Orangey peach mix.
  4. Heat up a steamer.
  5. Heat a greased 8 inch round pan for 5 minutes.
  6. Pour half a quarter cup of white layer on to the pan. Cover the steamer and steam for 3 minutes.
  7. Then pour quarter cup of pink layer and steam for 3 minutes, followed by Orangey peach.
  8. Keep repeating and alternatimng the layers/ colours until all flour mixes are used up.
  9. Steam the final layer for 15 minutes (open up the cover every 5 minutes).
  10. Leave it to cool at least for 3 hours before cutting and serving.


  1. hehe...Lisa, kuih ni memang hanya boleh dimakan selapis demi selapis. kalau ngap terus, oh....tak bestnya!
    I too suka kuih ni, esp. dah tua2 ni...kuih2 macam ni nikmatnya!

  2. It's so pretty. Must be delicious too with the coconut milk. I tried to make mochi with rice flour and failed miserably. Maybe I'll have more luck with this recipe :-). Thanks for sharing!

  3. This is my fav kuih! I eat the same way ... peeling each layer off. Even my 7yr son eats the same way.

    I'm so glad we found a shop (in Toronto) that sells these (weekends only).

    Can't wait to give your recipe a try.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Ni memang kuih favourite!! Adik I memang suka makan sangat ni.. i ingat dia tu selalu makan each lapis separately..
    I think.. ni kuih Nyonya and Malay joint.. I think the Nyonya learnt this from the Malay..

  5. Your kuih lapis looks perfect! So beautiful with identical layers and colours.

  6. Kak Yati,
    I pun suka kuih lembut2 but not liat :)

  7. Cooking Rookie,
    Thank you :)

    Glutinous Rice flour is used in Mochi... I attached here the link to Mochi or Daifuku cakes..


    Have fun in trying :D

  8. Tricia,
    Phew...I was not the odd one... none of my siblings eat the way I do... :D

    Have fun in making the kuih and enjoy :D

  9. Leemei,
    I pun confuse :( but the good thing is... we love it :D

  10. Ellie,
    Thank you :)

    I made this for my friend's CNY gathering ... hence the 'ang-ang'/ red colour :D

  11. I too love to eat this cake layer by layer and now my youngest eats it the same way too :-). I think eating it this way makes the eating experience so enjoyable!

  12. when do you add the coconut milk?

  13. lemongrass,
    I was told off for 'peeling'... they thought I was playing with my food :( ...

  14. Anonymous,
    oppsie daisy... my proofreader is sleeping on his job!!
    Thank you :)...I have amended

  15. Peeling it layer by layer is the way to go. My girl loves eating kuih2 melayu/nyonya but her brother won't eat any except for serimuka (the pulut only) and karipap.

  16. Flower,
    Now you mentioned serimuka... yumm, will look for pulut this Friday :)

  17. Do you eat durian? I saw nice sebiji2 durian malaysia in one of the oriental store near my place. Bukan yang siam or yg dah siap pack tu ye, yg masih dlm kulit berduri. Wanted to buy but dear hb's home. Big pantang...

  18. I used to eat them layer by layer when I was younger too. Younger? So what happens now? I don't even get to eat them now :(

  19. Flower,
    I eat durian but dont really miss much after the XO durian incident in KL about 8 years ago... had a bad headache for 2 days... :D
    Kesian you tak dapat makan when hubby at home...

  20. tigerfish,
    now that we are few days older (still young... hehehe) and living abroad ~ we have to make them in order to eat them ;P

  21. Mouthwatering! I wish I could just grab one to try!

  22. Lisa, the kuih lapis is so beautifully done!!

  23. Oooooh your blog has all the local Malaysian delicacies! Hullo! It's nice to know another Malaysian blogger in Australia! :D Thanks for coming by my blog. We're both connected by our love for authentic Malaysian cuisine. :)

  24. Happee Monkee,
    Selamat Berkenalan... :D