Kuih Talam Gula Merah

October 14, 2020

Gluten free steam dessert made of rice flour, tapioca flour and green pea flour, brown sugar, salt and coconut milk. Sweet and salty makes this Malaysian dessert unique.

  Kue talam


What does kuih talam means?

Kuih (pronounce Coo-way) is a bite size morsel either sweet or savoury, served either for breakfast or for morning or afternoon tea. 

Talam (pronounce TA-LUM) is a Malay word for tray.

It is customary to serve this "tray steam cake" in bite size, not the whole tray :P!

What is Kuih Talam?

Kuih Talam is a steam dessert made of 2 distinct layer.
Commonly found in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Top layer of kuih talam is made of savoury (read : slightly salty) creamy coconut milk layer.

While the bottom layer can vary from green pandan layer (Kuih Talam Pandan) or with yellow tapioca bottom (kuih Talam Ubi) or purple layer if yam was used  (Kuih Talam Keladi).

Kuih talam tepung beras

How to cook Kuih Talam?

Printable recipe card with ingredients and detailed instruction is at the bottom of the post.

However, I include some photos as well, so easier to understand.

campuran tiga tepung untuk kuih talam
1. Mix 3 type of flours : rice flour, tapioca flour and mung bean flour.

campurkan air untuk adunan tepung talam 2. Add water to flours mix and stir until no lumpy flour is visible.

gula merah bercampur air
3. Add water to brown sugar

Masukkan adunan tepung ke dalam gula
4. Add the flour mix to brown sugar mix.
Heat on low to medium heat until slightly thicken

tuang ke dalam loyang yang di panaskan
5. Pour into pre-heated pan (heat in steamer) and steam for 20 minutes.

campur untuk adunan kepala kuih talam
6. Prepare the top layer by mixing flours and coconut milk.
Again cook over low to medium heat until thicken.

tuang ke atas lapisan gula melaka
7. Pour over the brown sugar layer that has set.
Kuih tepung talam

8. Leave kuih talam to cool in the pan for at least 4 hours before slicing them.

Ingredients used in cooking Kuih Talam?

I used rice flour, tapioca flour and mung bean flour in cooking this kuih talam.
My mom used 100% rice flour.

Rice flour for softness in both layers.
If plain flour is used, it will have that slight gummy texture.

Both tapioca flour and mung bean flours will gives this kuih talam its soft and bouncy texture.

Equipment or utensil required to cook kuih Talam?

You will need a steamer and a heatproof pan and a bucket full of patience (to be able to wait 5 hours to eat :D )

periuk kukus
1. Steamer.
I wrap my steamer with a piece of cloth to contain steam as much as I can (just in case anyone was wondering :D)

I have an induction cooker which does not work well with my steamer, hence I need to modify.
What I use was to have water boiling in my pasta pot and place the steamer on top.
Both are not perfect fit, hence the cloth.

But if you are using gas stove, you will have no problem using this Asian steamer set.

Loyang untuk kuih talam

2. The pan or tray I used to make kuih talam.
See my tips below as to why I used this size pan.

Some tips in making Kuih Talam

I have listed some in the footnote in the recipe card below.

Here some more tips to have a beautiful kuih talam slices.

1. My brown sugar bottom layer is soft but if you wish to have them slightly firm, then reduce water in the brown sugar by 100ml.

2. The pan size above is perfect for this recipe, as you can see the distinct and 'almost' even ratio 1:2 top and bottom layer (yes!!! I am an OCD :p)

3. Let the steam off every 5 minutes to minimise water from dropping onto the layers. 
You could barely see some specks of water on my top layer. 

4. My advice to my readers who resides in Malaysia or south east Asia in general.
It is advisable to cook the brown sugar syrup and strain ahead of time, and leave it the syrup to cool before mixing in the flour mix.
Just in case there might small sand particles in your brown sugar.

Can I keep Kuih Talam in the fridge?

Kuih talam is best eaten on the day it is made. 

Kuih talam can be left at room temperature overnight (Perth winter).

But best keep them refrigerated and take them out at least an hour before eating.
It will be not be as soft, if eaten straight out of fridge.

kuih tepung talam gula merah

Some other 'kuih'; sweet and savoury bites from Malaysia

Kuih Seri Muka
Kuih Talam Keladi Cina
Kuih Sago
Kuih Bingka Ubi Kayu
Kuih Lobak Putih

Quick and easy Video on how to cook Kuih Talam?

Resipi kuih talam

Malaysian dessert known as Kuih Talam. Gluten free steam dessert made of rice flour, tapioca flour and green pea flour, brown sugar, salt and coconut milk. Sweet and salty makes this Malaysian dessert unique.


  1. hi lisa, thank you for the recipe - followed it and found the technique so much easier to deal with than the other methods i've tried!


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