Saturday, August 22, 2015

Steamed Pandan Coconut Multilayer Cake 班蘭椰汁千層糕

The first time I had this dessert, I thought it was made from glutinous flour because it was soft, chewy, and starchy. But how wrong was I! There is another kind of flour which produces a very similar texture. It is tapioca flour. Being a very popular flour in Asia, it is used in various kinds of dishes, especially in desserts. For people living in North America, the word tapioca is synonymous with boba. The pearl-like balls, usually black, are commonly found in milk tea and other drinks. If you like them, then you will appreciate the texture of this Indonesian dessert.

Other than texture, what makes this dessert stand out is the pandan flavor. If you fortunately have access to fresh pandan leaves, it would definitely enhance the aroma. However, frozen leaves from Asian grocery stores would be a good alternative. If both of them are not available, pandan essence can be your last resort.

It is a multilayer cake and in order to make 9 equal layers, a scale (and lots of patience) is indispensable.

use a blender to extract juice from pandan leaves

let it sit in the refrigerator for a few days to get the concentrate in the bottom




Ingredients to make a 9x9x2 inches square pan

1 lb/454g tapioca flour, sifted 木薯粉,過篩
66g rice flour, sifted 粘米粉,過篩
320g sugar 糖
665g coconut milk 椰汁
266g water 水
pandan juice concentrate or a few drops to 1/2 tsp pandan essence

1)  Dissolve sugar in a large bowl with water.
2)  Add coconut milk and the sifted tapioca and rice flour into the bowl. Whisk until combined and lumps disappear.
3)  Weigh out the batter (net weight of batter, without the weight of the bowl) and divide the number by 9, giving you the weight of each single layer.
4)  Pour 4/9 of the batter into a separate bowl. This will be the 4 white layers.
5)  Put pandan essence into the rest (5/9) of the batter. This will be the 5 green pandan layers.

pandan essence to substitute pandan juice

6)  Spray oil onto the steaming dish and prepare a steamer with boiling water.
7)  Pour one layer of green batter onto the dish and steam for 5 minutes.
8)  Pour the second layer of the white batter and steam for another 5 minutes.
9)  Repeat steps 7 and 8, until you have 9 alternating layers with the green layer on top.
10)  Remove the dish and let it cool to room temperature completely before cutting into small pieces or blocks. Serve at room temperature. It can be refrigerated. Steaming it again before serving helps to regain its chewy texture.

1) Make sure the dish sits in a level steamer so that the layers will not tilt.
2) If fewer layers are preferred, the recipe can be scaled down. Or divide the weight of the batter into a smaller odd number (3, 5 or 7), then each layer will be thicker.
3)  Adjust the amount of pandan juice concentrate or essence for your desired color.
4)  Prepare boiling water to refill the steamer if the water level has depleted while steaming.

1)  在大碗內將糖溶於水內。
2)  加入椰汁及已過篩的木薯粉與粘米粉,攪勻至無粉粒。
3)  放磅上找出粉槳之淨重量,將之除九,便是每一層的重量。
4)  將四層重的粉槳倒入另一大碗內,作為白色的粉槳。其餘的便加入班蘭汁或香精,成為綠色粉槳。(四層白色,五層綠色)
5)  蒸盤塗油,準備蒸籠及煮滾水。
6)  將一層重量的綠色粉槳倒入蒸盤,中火蒸五分鐘至凝結。
7)  將一層重量的白色粉槳倒入蒸盤,中火蒸五分鐘至凝結。
8)  如是者蒸好九層,綠色的最後。
9)  取出待完全涼後才可切件享用。剩下的可蓋好放雪櫃,食前翻蒸至軟身,待涼後便可食了!

1)  蒸盤及蒸籠要注意平衡,否則成品會一邊厚、一邊薄。
2)  食譜份量可以按比例加多或減少,如想做少過九層,可減少份量或加多每層的重量。
3)  班蘭汁或香精可隨意加減做成不同深淺的顏色。
4)  木薯粉在不同地方、國家有不同叫法,認定英文名稱(tapioca flour/starch)購買比較安全,不會用錯。
5)  如蒸籠內水份蒸發,便要準備好滾水加入補充。

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