Chinese Huat Kueh Recipe: How to Make Fluffy Steamed Cakes – Seaco Online
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Chinese Huat Kueh Recipe: How to Make Fluffy Steamed Cakes

If you're looking for a recipe that's easy to make and is steeped in cultural significance, look no further than Chinese huat kueh. This steamed cake is a popular dessert in China, and is often served during festivals and celebrations as a symbol of prosperity and good luck.

A table set with ingredients for making Chinese huat kueh, including flour, sugar, and a steamer

Understanding huat kueh is key to making it successfully. The cake is known for its fluffy, light texture and its distinctive dome shape, which is achieved through the use of a leavening agent. While baking powder is commonly used in modern recipes, traditional versions of the cake were made using yeast or even fermented rice.

To make huat kueh, you'll need a few essential ingredients, including flour, sugar, and a leavening agent. Other ingredients will vary depending on the recipe, but common additions include eggs, milk, and oil. Once you've mixed up the batter, the cakes are steamed until they're cooked through and have risen to their characteristic dome shape.

Key Takeaways

  • Huat kueh is a popular Chinese dessert that's often served during festivals and celebrations.
  • The cake is known for its fluffy, light texture and its distinctive dome shape.
  • Essential ingredients for huat kueh include flour, sugar, and a leavening agent.

Understanding Huat Kueh

A steaming bamboo steamer filled with freshly baked Huat Kueh, emitting a fragrant aroma of coconut and pandan, sitting on a rustic wooden table

Huat Kueh, also known as Fa Gao or Prosperity Cakes, is a traditional Chinese steamed cake that is commonly consumed during the Lunar New Year. This cake is a symbol of good luck and prosperity, and it is believed that eating it will bring good fortune to the consumer.

Historical Background

The history of Huat Kueh can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) in China. It is said that the cake was first made by a monk who wanted to offer a sweet treat to the Emperor. The Emperor was so impressed with the cake that he named it "Huat Kueh," which means "prosperity cake."

Symbolism and Traditions

Huat Kueh is not only a delicious treat but also holds cultural significance. The cake is believed to bring good luck and prosperity to the consumer. The cake's unique shape, which splits into beautiful sections at the top, signifies good luck. It is also a common offering item to the ancestors and is used in both Buddhist and Taoist temples.

During the Chinese New Year, Huat Kueh is a popular gift to give to friends and family. It is also a common sight at family reunions, where it is served as a dessert. To make the cake more unique, seafood such as shrimp or crab meat can be added to the recipe.

Huat Kueh is a delicious and culturally significant Chinese steamed cake that has been enjoyed for centuries. Its unique shape and symbolism make it a popular treat during the Lunar New Year, and it is a great way to celebrate with friends and family.

Essential Ingredients

A table with bowls of flour, sugar, and yeast. A steamer with freshly steamed Chinese huat kueh cakes. A recipe book open to the essential ingredients page

When it comes to making Chinese Huat Kueh, there are a few essential ingredients that you'll need to have on hand. In this section, we'll take a closer look at each of these ingredients and discuss their role in the recipe.

Choosing the Right Flour

The first and most important ingredient in Huat Kueh is flour. While you can use plain flour, it's recommended to use rice flour for the best results. The Erawan brand rice flour imported from Thailand is a popular choice among many Huat Kueh makers. It has a better taste and texture compared to other brands and doesn't have any peculiar smell.

Sweetening Agents

To sweeten the Huat Kueh, you'll need to use a combination of sugar and dark brown sugar. The dark brown sugar adds a depth of flavour and colour to the cake. If you prefer a sweeter cake, you can use caster sugar instead of dark brown sugar.

Leavening Agents

The leavening agent is what makes the cake rise and gives it its characteristic fluffy texture. You can use either baking powder or instant yeast as the leavening agent. If you choose to use yeast, make sure to activate it first by mixing it with lukewarm water and sugar.

Additional Flavours

While the basic recipe for Huat Kueh only requires a few ingredients, you can add additional flavours to make it more interesting. Some popular options include coconut milk, eggs, and vanilla extract. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even try adding seafood to the recipe. Shrimp or crab meat can be a great addition to the cake and give it a unique flavour.

The essential ingredients for making Chinese Huat Kueh include rice flour, sugar, dark brown sugar, baking powder or yeast, and water. You can also add additional flavours like coconut milk, eggs, and seafood to make the cake more interesting. By choosing the right ingredients and following the recipe carefully, you can create a delicious and fluffy Huat Kueh that's sure to impress.

Preparing the Batter

A mixing bowl with flour, sugar, and water. A spoon stirs the ingredients until smooth

When it comes to making huat kueh, preparing the batter is the most crucial step. A well-made batter will result in soft, fluffy, and perfectly risen cakes. In this section, we will cover the mixing techniques and proofing the yeast to help you achieve the perfect huat kueh batter.

Mixing Techniques

To start, you will need to mix together the dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls. In a large mixing bowl, combine the plain flour, baking powder, and fine granulated sugar. For a healthier option, you can substitute the plain flour with whole wheat flour. Next, in another bowl, mix together the water, cooking oil, and eggs until they are well combined.

When it comes to mixing the dry and wet ingredients, there are two techniques you can use: the folding technique and the whisking technique. The folding technique involves gently folding the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until everything is well combined. This technique is best if you want a denser cake. On the other hand, the whisking technique involves whisking the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until the batter is smooth and light. This technique is best if you want a lighter and fluffier cake.

Proofing the Yeast

If you are using natural yeast, you will need to proof it before adding it to the batter. To do this, mix the yeast with a small amount of lukewarm water and a pinch of sugar. Let it sit for a few minutes until it becomes frothy. If you are using instant yeast, you can skip this step and add it directly to the batter.

Once you have mixed the yeast into the batter, let it rest for at least 30 minutes to an hour to allow it to rise. You can cover the bowl with a damp cloth to prevent the surface of the batter from drying out. After the batter has risen, you can mix it again to distribute the air bubbles evenly.

As a suggestion, you can add some seafood to your huat kueh batter to add some flavour and texture. Shrimps or scallops are great options that can be added to the batter before steaming. Simply chop them into small pieces and mix them in with the batter. This will give your huat kueh a unique twist that your taste buds will love.

Steaming the Cakes

A steaming basket filled with freshly made Chinese huat kueh cakes, emitting a delicious aroma as steam rises from the soft, fluffy treats

When it comes to steaming the Huat Kueh, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to ensure that they turn out perfectly. In this section, we'll cover the setup of the steamer, the steaming process, and how to check if the cakes are done.

Setting Up the Steamer

To get started, you'll need a steamer. You can use a bamboo steamer or a ceramic steamer. If you're using a bamboo steamer, make sure to line it with cling wrap to prevent the cakes from sticking. If you're using a ceramic steamer, you can use paper cups or ceramic cups to hold the batter.

Fill the steamer with water and bring it to a boil. Make sure the water level is below the steamer rack to prevent water from getting into the cakes.

Steaming Process

Once the water is boiling, it's time to steam the cakes. Place the cakes in the steamer, making sure to leave enough space between them to allow for expansion. If you're using a bamboo steamer, cover it with a lid. If you're using a ceramic steamer, cover it with a piece of foil.

Steam the cakes for about 15-20 minutes. If you're using seafood, add it to the cakes after about 10 minutes of steaming. This will give the seafood enough time to cook without overcooking the cakes.

Checking for Doneness

To check if the cakes are done, insert a skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cakes are done. If it comes out with batter on it, continue steaming for another 5-10 minutes.

Once the cakes are done, remove them from the steamer and let them cool for a few minutes before serving.

By following these simple steps, you'll be able to steam the perfect Huat Kueh every time.

Serving and Storage

A table with a plate of Chinese huat kueh, surrounded by various ingredients and utensils for preparation and storage

Presentation Tips

Huat Kueh is a visually stunning dish that can be presented in many ways. One way to make it look appealing is to use a wire rack to cool the cake. Once cooled, place the Huat Kueh on a plate and garnish with fresh fruits or a sprinkle of icing sugar. If you want to add seafood to your Huat Kueh recipe, try using small pieces of chopped prawns or scallops. These can be added to the batter before steaming and will give your Huat Kueh a delicious seafood flavour.

Storing Leftovers

If you have any leftover Huat Kueh, store them in an airtight container to prevent them from drying out. You can also wrap them in cling film or aluminium foil and store them in the refrigerator for up to three days. When you are ready to eat them, simply reheat them in a steamer for a few minutes or in the microwave for a few seconds.

Huat Kueh is a perfect addition to any breakfast spread. Serve it plain or with any accompaniment of your choice. Whether you serve it for breakfast or as a dessert, Huat Kueh is sure to impress your guests.

Frequently Asked Questions

A steaming bamboo steamer filled with freshly made Chinese huat kueh, surrounded by traditional ingredients like sugar and coconut milk

What's the secret to making huat kueh bloom properly?

The secret to making huat kueh bloom properly is to ensure that the batter is well-mixed and that the steaming process is done correctly. The batter should be mixed thoroughly to prevent lumps from forming. The steaming process should be done over high heat to create the right amount of steam. The heat should then be reduced to medium once the water starts boiling, and the steaming should continue for about 15-20 minutes.

Can you share a simple huat kueh recipe for beginners?

Certainly! Here's a simple recipe that's perfect for beginners:

  • 300g rice flour
  • 300ml water
  • 200g sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp yeast

Mix all the ingredients together until you get a smooth batter. Pour the batter into greased moulds and steam for about 15-20 minutes over high heat. Once it's done, remove from the moulds and serve.

What are the must-have ingredients for a traditional huat kueh?

The must-have ingredients for a traditional huat kueh are rice flour, sugar, and yeast. Some recipes may also call for baking powder, but it's not necessary. Traditional huat kueh does not include any additional flavourings or ingredients, but you can always experiment with different flavours if you like.

How do you make huat kueh for religious offerings?

If you want to make huat kueh for religious offerings, it's best to keep the recipe simple and traditional. Use rice flour, sugar, and yeast, and avoid adding any additional flavourings or ingredients. You can also use a mould that's shaped like a lotus or a peach, as these are considered auspicious symbols in Chinese culture.

Where's the best place to buy ready-made huat kueh?

If you're looking to buy ready-made huat kueh, your best bet is to visit a local Chinese bakery or dessert shop. These places typically offer a variety of flavours and styles, so you can choose the one that suits your taste. You can also find ready-made huat kueh at some Asian grocery stores.

How are wa ko kueh and huat kueh different from each other?

Wa ko kueh and huat kueh are both Chinese steamed cakes, but they have some differences. Wa ko kueh is made with glutinous rice flour and has a chewy texture, while huat kueh is made with rice flour and has a fluffy texture. Wa ko kueh also typically includes a filling, while huat kueh is usually plain.