After living in the UK for 30 years and had never made any Malaysian cakes before,at the age of 60, I will attempt to make my favourite cakes with a guide book from Malaysian Cakes and Desserts booklet by Rohani Jelani. I have added another book Malay Kuih by Norzailina Nordin as a guide to my cake making.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tapioca and Coconut Layered Cake - Talam Ubi

Kuih Talam Ubi is not my first choice of project this week. I had a tough time searching for the ingredients for my first choice "Kuih Talam". Not wanting to disappoint my group of tasters at the clinic, I decided to go with this one.
The word "Ubi Kayu" brought back memory of life in Muar.When I was a little girl I used to polish up a plate of  boiled ubi (tapioca) dipped with sambal tumis. It was delicious and finger licking good!.
This dish is not spicy but sweet and I intend to serve it with a special honey, a gift from Kak Nita and Abang Mahathir.

What I need to make this kuih.
For the bottom layer:
800gm tapioca roots
200gm roughly chopped, palm sugar
200mls water

For the top layer:
400mls thick coconut milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
80gm plain flour
1 tablespoon rice flour

Preparation time: 40 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins

To make the bottom layer I have to follow the precise  instruction on page 18 of the book. It outlines on how to prepare, skin, grate and squeeze the bitter juice form the tapioca roots.

First rinse the tapioca under running water to remove any sand and grit and cut them roughly into 6 cm lengths. Skin the tapioca by making a shallow cut from the top to the bottom of each piece then running your finger under the cut to lift the peel. It should come off in one piece easily and then grate the tapioca.

I found it was not easy to peel and cut my tapioca roots. I had to apply brute force to cut my tapioca because it was so hard like wood (kayu). I am sure the neighbour must be thinking I was remodelling my kitchen when I was doing my chopping.

Grating was easy and since my ubi did not produce any juices I did not have to worry about looking for a muslin cloth to squeeze the bitter juice.

As per instruction the grated tapioca was then combined with cooled palm sugar syrup which I have made earlier. The mixture was poured into a square cake tin, placed on rack in my wok with water at the bottom to steam.

While the ubi mixture was steaming, I started making the top layer. I combined and mixed 500mls of cream milk from a carton ( fresh coconut milk was not available) with salt, plain flour and rice flour in a bowl. The creamy mixture was then put through a fine sieve to remove any lumps.

When the bottom layer was cooked, which took longer than the prescribed time of 20 minutes, I took it out of the wok and blotted it with a paper towel to remove excess water. Then I proceeded to pour the creamy mixture on top of the ubi layer and continue to steam for another 20 minutes as per instruction.
Then I heard Alina's voice saying "Runny top is always nicer!". I quickly shorten the steaming and took out the cake tin and placed it on a cake rack to cool. I did not place the cake in the fridge to cool down this time. I learned that if you do so it will harden and I will need to warm it up again before serving.
My Sunday evening was full of anticipation as I watched the cake cools down. I could not contain my excitement when I cut a piece and ate it with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.It was delicious!

Now what will they think when I serve them with the honey tomorrow...