One of the kitchen tools my mother gave me was a brass flower with a handle, a mould used for frying beautiful flower shaped crunchy sweet biscuits usually made around Chinese New Year in Malaysia. The fried fritter goes by various names: kuih rose in Malay (rose cake, for the shape), beehive cookies (also the shape) and also kuih loyang (brass cake, named for the mould). Despite having this mould for a number of years, it was only a couple weekends ago that I put it to use. It was all down to my usual dislike for deep frying but I put aside that fear and set to work mixing together a very simple batter of three flours, coconut milk, eggs and sugar. Then it was fry fry fry to get these crunchy coconut scented biscuits.

Kuih Rose

To my surprise, I came across similar fried cookies at a julbord in Sweden last Christmas and also online on a Catalan recipe site. After a bit of digging around on the Internet, I’ve found references to similar biscuits being made in India, Brazil, Catalonia, Hawaii, Portugal, Sweden and Norway. It looks like the ones in Malaysia, India and Brazil were most likely introduced by those globe trotting Portuguese, though I’ve yet to find reference to the original Portuguese version. And the ones in Malaysia, the ones I made, definitely made use of local ingredients – like coconut milk and rice flour. Any of these moulds, if you can get them (try ebay), should work with the recipe below.

Kuih Rose

When you have just one mould, as I do, it’s quite time consuming to cook a batch of these. However the cookies are worth it and it’s difficult to stop at just one….or two… Best to just close the box and put it away. Goz of plusixfive came up with a great idea – using them as wafers with ice cream. I think that would be fantastic.

Kuih Rose
makes approximately 60.

100g rice flour
30g cornflour/cornstarch
70g plain flour
100g sugar
2 large eggs
200ml canned coconut milk
40ml water

oil for frying

Place the flours and sugar in a large bowl and whisk them together well. Crack in the eggs and pour in the coconut milk and water. Whisk together very well until you get a smooth, thick batter. Let rest for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, whisk it again and if it’s not smooth, strain it.

Heat a small pot over medium heat. Add enough oil (I used sunflower) to cover the depth of the mould by at least 1 cm. When the oil is hot, place the mould in and let it heat up.

Frying

Pour a little of the batter into a heatproof cup or ramekin – this will be your dipping cup. When the oil and mould are hot, take the mould out and dip it into the batter in the dipping cup, taking care not to cover the top of the mould. There should be a sizzling sound. Hold it in the batter for 10 seconds. Do not dip it in the batter more than once. After the 10 seconds, take it out and hold it in the hot oil, taking care not to touch the bottom of the pot with the coated mould. After a few seconds, shake the mould in the oil to loosen the biscuit and if your mould was hot enough in the first place, the biscuit should come off easily. If not, pry it off with the help of chopsticks. Leave the biscuit to fry in the oil until golden brown and leave the mould in the oil to heat up for the next biscuit.

You’ll want to regulate the heat of the oil so that the biscuits don’t brown too quickly. They should keep their shape and not bubble up in the oil and take about 2-3 minutes to brown. Drain the biscuits on kitchen paper. Repeat, using up all the batter. When cool, store in an airtight container.

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