Kueh ko swee is a traditional steamed dessert that’s quite like mochi, except with a lot more oomph. Made mostly from tapioca starch, pandan leaves and gula melaka, it is rich, sticky and one of the bestsellers at Folklore. According to its head chef, Damien D’Silva, the gula melaka is an essential. It should be dark and sticky, otherwise, you know it’s been adulterated by refined cane sugars.
As far as the recipe goes, it is based on his aunt’s. It has also been given the nod of approval by his mother, and you know how tough a crowd the older Peranakan folk can be. If you’re keen to make D’Silva’s version in the comfort of your home, here’s how. Just don’t forget the memo about gula melaka.
Chef Damien D’Silva’s Kueh Ko Swee
1.6 litres water
400g gula melaka
170g tapioca starch (this is different from tapioca flour)
100g all-purpose flour
4 pandan leaves
1/5 tablespoon lye water
To a pot, add 800ml water, gula melaka and pandan. Bring it to a boil. The consistency should be a little bit reduced and almost syrupy.
In a separate bowl, add the rest of the water with the two flours until smooth.
Make a bain-marie. Add in both the flour and gula melaka mixture. The consistency should be viscous, like treacle or molasses. Now add in the lye and transfer it all to a 9×9 inches baking tin. Let it steam for 45 minutes.
Folklore is located at 700 Beach Rd, Destination Singapore. Open daily from 12pm to 2.30pm and 6pm to 9.30pm (Photo credit: Rave Photography)