Chinese New Year: Kuih bangkit (coconut biscuits)

One of the integral things about Chinese New Year are the cookies that come along with it. Ask any Chinese person, and they’ll have their favourite Chinese New Year cookies/snacks. My top 3 are: groundnut/peanut cookiesarrowroot chips, and pineapple tarts.

Kuih bangkit is a Nyonya/Malaysian Chinese New Year cookie made from coconut milk, tapoica flour, sugar and eggs. It has a very characteristic texture: crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside – in fact they should melt in your mouth once you get past the crispy exterior. (And yes, ‘melt in the mouth’ seems to be a must for most Chinese New Year cookies!) Mum & dad aren’t huge fans of kuih bangkit, so I never ate much of it growing up. Not compared to groundnut cookies anyway! ;)

The other characteristic of kuih bangkit is the lovely designs you get when you use traditional kuih bangkit molds. The original molds are made from wood (and all hand-carved), whereas you can get plastic ones nowadays.

I’d heard from countless people that kuih bangkit are tricky little morsels to make, as whilst they look fairly simple, it’s not easy to get the right texture of crispy outsides/melty insides. I always like a challenge, so I thought – why not? Plus I would get a chance to use freshly squeezed coconut milk (“santan”), which is nigh impossible to find in London.

The most time consuming bit of making these is the cooking of the flour… the aim is (I believe) to get rid of the ‘raw’ taste of flour. Cooking the flour takes anything from 60-90 minutes. But it’s not the cooking/stirring that is the problem, it’s the fact that tapoica flour sends minute particles of flour all over your kitchen each time you stir it. I kid you not when I say there was a thin layer of flour over all the kitchen counters! (For those of you who haven’t worked with tapoica flour before, it’s similar to corn flour, i.e. lets out puffs of ‘flour dust’.)

Whilst the taste of these little babies were great, I wasn’t altogether happy with their texture, as they weren’t crispy enough on the outside. Plus they cracked a little, meaning the lovely intricate designs on the kuih became less pronounced. I’m hearing conflicting things when it comes to kuih bangkit – are they supposed to crack, or not? If any of you know, please do let me know, as it would be good to know err.. what to aim for. :P

I won’t be sharing the recipe for these kuih bangkit, as I don’t want to post a recipe I’m not happy with. Rest assured though that I will be making this again to try perfecting the recipe for next year!

Till then, Happy Chinese New Year to all of you! May the Year of the Dragon bring you happiness, good health, and good food. :D

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13 thoughts on “Chinese New Year: Kuih bangkit (coconut biscuits)

  1. I made your peanut cookies for CNY :) can you perfect this recipe and post it too? I want to try. Can’t believe it’s been a year since we made pineapple tarts haha!

  2. i am a bit confuse here. All this while I thought Kuih Bangkit is made from tapioca flour and sago flour. It is interesting that you made it with rice flour. I would love to try out your version. Do you mind sharing the recipe with us. Thanks alot.

    • Oh man I am SO embarrassed. You are absolutely right in saying kuih bangkit is made from tapoica starch (and sometimes with some sago or arrowroot flour). I used tapoica starch in this recipe, but for some unbeknownst reason wrote ‘rice flour’ all over my post?! I think it was because I was thinking of making radish cake (luo bo gou) when writing the post.

      At any rate, I am so, so sorry for the mix up, and for confusing you (and potentially many other readers!). Have amended the post accordingly. Thank you for pointing out my error.

      • ha ha don’t worry about it. I made mistake so many times as well. I thought this must be some kind of new recipe which I am very keen to try out :)

  3. Kuih Bangkit is my NO.1 favorite CNY cookies. My mum’s friend’s hubby made the best kuih bangkit. After he passed away, I have not tasted anything like his. Unfortunately his wife was not interested in making cookies so she did not even get his recipes. What a waste. When you perfect this recipe, please share, I would love to try making this myself. Maybe a bit late, but Gong Xi Fa Cai to you and your family. Glad to find your blog. You have a lovely space here.

  4. Keong Hi Huat Chai! Thanks for the almond (also peanut) cookies recipes! :) I’ve made some for my boy to share with his classmates. They really like it. :)

    One of my favourite CNY cookies besides Nyonya love letters, pineapple tarts etc… :) I’ve made these before and mine do tend to crack a little as well. What I heard is that the last few mins of baking must lower temperature. And also have to dry fry the flour before using them. Might work? I’m still trying to perfect the chiffon cake; mine sank like the Titanic when its cooled! :(( Any tips?

    • Yeah I did fry the flour beforehand. Didn’t try the lowering temperature bit – will remember that for next time thanks!

      Glad you liked the peanut/almond cookie recipes, I love how fuss free they are. :)

      Not made a chiffon cake before unfortunately (don’t have place to own the tin), I’ve heard it’s a lot about careful mixing and an oven that’s just the right temperature. Fingers crossed you get the perfect chiffon soon!

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