7 Nonya Kueh Recipes That Will Impress Even Your Grandma

plate of assorted nonya kueh including ang ku kueh, kueh salat, and kueh lapis

Delicious and eye-catching sweet treats, nonya kuehs are colourful bite-sized cakes that are often enjoyed as a snack or dessert dish. Deeply rooted in Southeast Asian culture, these Singapore kuehs are a labour of love as it takes time to simmer the custards and steam the rice. While your grandma might have her own treasure trove of nonya kueh recipes, here’s a list of five traditional nonya kueh recipes for you to try and colour her impressed!

What is nonya kueh made of?

spread of colourful nonya kueh such as kueh lapis and ondeh ondeh
(Credit: Lek Lim Nonya Cake Trading Pte Ltd)

Nonya kuehs in Singapore are mainly made of glutinous flour or tapioca flour, which gives a distinct chewy texture that is different from typical cakes. In terms of flavour, nonya kuehs often feature gula melaka which gives it a rich, caramel flavour, as well as coconut and beans or root vegetables such as tapioca and yam.

Easy nonya kueh recipes to try

1. Ondeh ondeh recipe

Ondeh ondeh is one of the most popular nonya kueh in Singapore. These green gula melaka filled glutinous rice balls are known to burst-in-your-mouth and will definitely be a hit with friends and family. Think you need top-notch culinary expertise to make these? They are actually surprisingly quick and easy to make with the following ondeh ondeh recipe!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: ~5 minutes
Servings: 3

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 100g palm sugar (chopped)
  • 20 pandan leaves
  • 150ml water
  • 100g glutinous rice flour
  • 40g tapioca flour
  • 30g sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100g fresh grated coconut

Recipe Instructions:

  1. Chop up  Pandan Leaves (available on IWantVeggies Flagship Store) and throw them into the blender along with the water. Blend until the mixture is smooth and even.
  2. Obtain your pandan extract by pouring the mixture into a bowl over a cheese cloth (make sure nothing goes to waste by squeezing as much extract out of the cheese cloth as you can), then set the extract aside
  3. Sieve the Erawan Brand Glutinous Rice Flour, Sunflower Tapioca Flour, Gpa Fine Grain White Sugar (all available on Shopee Supermarket) and salt into a bowl
  4. Slowly introduce the pandan extract into the bowl while kneading the mixture. Add more water if the mixture is too dry and lumpy.
  5. Divide the dough into even portions – you can vary this part of the recipe according to the size of ondeh ondeh you want to eat!
  6. Roll these portions into balls and create an indent in the middle of each ball. Fill each indent with Daribell Coconut Palm Sugar (available on Daribellsg Official Store) and seal the dough.
  7. Gently dip the palm sugar-filled balls into a pot of boiling water – make sure you continually swirl the water to prevent the glutinous rice balls from sticking to the edges of the pot 
  8. Look out for when the balls begin to float. Once afloat, leave them in the water for another two minutes.
  9. Fish out the rice balls from the water and coat them with Foodsterr Organic Shredded Coconut (available on Foodsterr Singapore Official Store). Leave to cool before enjoying this morsel of heaven!

2. Kueh dadar recipe

Have you ever wanted to try a Southeast Asian version of a crepe? Kueh dadar is just that! Fragrant gula melaka infused grated coconut wrapped in a thin and soft pandan-flavoured crepe, these Singapore nyonya kuehs make for a yummy tea time snack. What’s more, this nonya kueh recipe only uses basic cooking techniques and commonly found ingredients, making it simple even for beginners!

Prep Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12 pieces

Recipe Ingredients:

For Coconut filling:

  • 500g grated coconut
  • 200g palm sugar (chopped)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 pandan leaves (knotted)
  • 3 tbsp water

Pandan juice:

  • 50g pandan leaves
  • 200ml water

Crepe batter:

  • 200g all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 500ml coconut milk
  • 200ml pandan juice
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Pinch of salt

Recipe Instructions:

  1. Start making the pandan juice by blending the pandan leaves with water and straining the blend into a bowl with a muslin cloth (available on serendipity1.sg)
  2. Add all the Blue Jacket All-Purpose Flour, Ayam Brand Coconut Milk (both available on Shopee Supermarket) and other crepe batter ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Whisk the mixture until you get a batter with a smooth consistency. Then, leave it to rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Cook all the ingredients for the coconut filling in a pan over low heat. Cook the brown grated coconut till it’s slightly wet and not too dry. Leave the coconut filling to cool.
  4. It’s time to make the crepes! Grease a pan with an oiled ValueStar Kitchen Towel (available on Shopee Supermarket) and set the stove to medium heat.
  5. Ladle some batter onto the pan. Then tilt the pan around to ensure that the crepe will be thin and even. Let the batter cook for 30 seconds. Repeat this until you have no more batter.
  6. Once cooked, transfer the crepe to a piece of RedMan GreeaseProof Baking Paper (available on Shopee Supermarket) or kitchen paper towel. Then place two spoonfuls of coconut filling in the centre of the crepe — you can add a more generous amount if you’d like. Fold the crepe in a clockwise direction.
  7. Slice the Kueh dadar and present it on a plate or just munch right into them!

3. Nonya kueh lapis recipe

The colourful and chewy nonya Kueh lapis will surely evoke a sense of nostalgia. Although a little more time consuming, this nonya kueh recipe produces delicious end products that are definitely worth it! Bonus: Experiment with different food colourings to give your nonya Kueh lapis a personal touch.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 20 pieces

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 600ml water
  • 400g castor sugar
  • 10 pandan leaves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 250g tapioca flour
  • 200g rice flour
  • 600ml coconut cream (chilled)
  • Green and red food colouring
  • 1 tsp oil (to grease pan)

Recipe Instructions:

  1. Twist and tie the pandan leaves into a bundle. Then add the pandan leaves into a pot of boiling water, along with the RedMan Caster Sugar (available on Shopee Supermarket). Allow for the contents to simmer for about 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved — you’ll have your pandan syrup!
  2. Pour the syrup into a large bowl through a sieve. Then add the chilled coconut milk and salt into the syrup.
  3. Mix the tapioca and rice flour in a separate bowl. Once the syrup has cooled, introduce the powdered mixture into syrup in portions and whisk away!
  4. Sieve the batter into a clean bowl to ensure that there are no lumpy chunks. Then divide the batter into three equal portions. Add red food colouring to one portion and green food colouring to another, leaving the last portion untouched.
  5. Grease the bottom and sides of a Non-Stick Brownie Pan (available on Fascino) with oil to prevent sticking. Pour the white batter into the tin and place the tin into a steam oven and allow the batter to steam for 4 minutes.
  6. Gently press on the first layer of the nonya Kueh lapis to check if it has set. Then pour in enough green batter to completely cover the first kueh layer and steam the batter for 3 minutes.
  7. Repeat this process until you have nine layers (alternating between white, green and red). Then steam the kueh for another 10 minutes.
  8. Remove the tin from the steam oven and allow it to cool for 4 to 6 hours. Then release the nonya Kueh lapis from the tin with a greased Vesta Blue Hook Handle Silicone Narrow Spatula (available on Shopee Supermarket). Slice the kueh into equal portions and serve. Bonus: Get creative with your nonya Kueh lapis presentation by peeling and folding the kueh’s layers.

4. Kueh salat (putri salat) recipe

Kueh salat, also known as Putri salat, is a double-layered Singapore kueh that pairs a creamy kaya custard with a sticky rice layer. This sweet and savoury treat combines the main ingredients of the two layers to give you a burst of flavours in your mouth. If you love kaya toast, you’d love Kueh Salat! While preparing it can be time-consuming, we found this nonya kueh recipe surprisingly simple with minimal preparation required and a straightforward cooking process. Give this easy nonya kueh recipe a shot!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 18 pieces

Recipe Ingredients:

Kaya Layer:

  • 10 eggs (medium)
  • 100g pandan juice
  • 200g sugar
  • 400g coconut cream
  • 1/4 tsp pandan paste
  • 5 tsp cornstarch
  • 30g tapioca starch

Rice Layer:

  • 300g Japanese white rice
  • 450g water
  • 120g coconut cream
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 10g dried butterfly pea flower

Recipe Instructions:

  1. Cook Iwate Akita Komachi Japanese Rice (available on Shopee Supermarket) in a rice cooker 
  2. While waiting for the rice to cook, start making the kaya layer by first adding all the kaya layer ingredients (except tapioca starch) into a large bowl and whisking until smooth. Then place the bowl over a pot of simmering hot water and whisk continuously until the kaya mixture thickens.
  3. When your mixture is thick and creamy, remove the bowl from the pot and allow it to cool slightly
  4. Sieve the tapioca starch into the mixture and stir until no lumps can be seen
  5. Once the rice is cooked, pour the coconut cream (available on Shopee Supermarket) and two pinches of salt into the cooked rice and mix thoroughly
  6. Transfer the rice to a lined square pan and flatten it into an even layer
  7. To give the rice layer its blue tint, drizzle some  butterfly pea flower solution onto the rice. Make the flower solution by soaking Dried Butterfly Pea Flowers (available on aurorahealth) in hot water. 
  8. Scoop the kaya mixture into the square pan and spread it evenly over the rice layer. Then place the square pan into a steamer and steam it for 45 minutes.
  9. Remove the Kueh salat from the pan and slice it into equal portions — enjoy your aromatic and tasty kaya rice kueh!

5. Ang ku kueh recipe 

Directly translating to “red tortoiseshell cakes”, ang ku kuehs are traditional nonya kuehs that are often filled with tau sar (mung bean) or peanut paste. Ang ku kuehs are one of the most well-loved local snacks in Singapore! We aren’t going to sugar-coat things though. Despite its yummy goodness, ang ku kuehs are one of the most challenging Singapore kueh to make. If you’re up for the challenge, put your culinary skills to the test by trying out this nonya kueh recipe at your next family gathering!  

Prep Time: 120 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 20 pieces

Recipe Ingredients:

Shaping and Garnishing:

  • 50g glutinous rice flour (for moulding)
  • Ang ku kueh mould
  • 20 square pieces of banana leaves
  • 4 tbsp oil

Dough:

  • 200g sweet potato (peeled and sliced into chunks) 
  • 250g glutinous rice flour 
  • 150ml coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp castor sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 100ml water
  • 1 tsp red food colouring

Filling:

  • 300g mung beans
  • 4 pandan leaves (knotted)
  • 135g castor sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp shallot oil
  • 3 tbsp water

Recipe Instructions:

  1. Prepare the filling by first soaking the mung beans (available on iTonic Mart) in water for an hour. Then drain and rinse the soaked mung beans twice.
  2. To soften the mung beans and sweet potatoes (available on IWantVeggies Flagship Store), place them on a Steam Rack (available on womaninlove.sg) along with the pandan leaves and steam them in a wok for 15 minutes
  3. Transfer the softened mung beans to a large bowl and add water, sugar and salt. Then blend the mixture with an Odette Handheld Immersion Blender (available on Odette Official Store).
  4. Pour the blended mixture and Double Pagoda Shallot Oil (available on Shopee Supermarket) into a pan and cook the mung bean paste over low heat until it dries slightly. Then transfer the paste into a bowl and leave it to cool — you’ve got your tau sar!
  5. Start making the dough for the ang ku kueh skin by mashing the softened sweet potato with a spoon or potato masher (available on Sweejar Official Store). Then add the oil, coconut milk, salt and castor sugar. Blend until you’ve got a smooth and thick mixture.
  6. Once you’ve achieved the right texture for the mixture add in the flour and start kneading. Keep doing so until the dough isn’t sticky. Tip: If the dough is too wet or dry, add a little dough or water to adjust its consistency.
  7. Drizzle red food colouring onto your dough and fold it until you’ve got a bright pink piece of dough. Then transfer it to a bowl and cover with cling wrap (available on Shopee Supermarket). Let the dough rest.
  8. After your filling paste and dough has been allowed to rest for ten minutes, roll them both into long strips and divide them into equal portions
  9. It’s now time to assemble! First, make sure each portion of filling and dough is about the same size. Then flatten the dough portions and place a portion of filling in the centre of the dough portion.
  10. Gently wrap it around the filling and roll it into a ball. Do the same for all other dough and filling portions.
  11. Coat each ball with a thin coat of glutinous rice flour. Then firmly press each ball into an ang ku kueh mould (available on Sukaria Ingredients). Place the uncooked ang ku kueh onto a piece of oiled banana leaf and repeat this for the other balls.
  12. Set your steamer to a medium-low heat setting and steam the ang ku kuehs for 3 minutes
  13. Brush each piece of ang ku kueh with oil once they’ve been steamed. Serve your delicious glossy kuehs.

6. Kueh talam recipe

Kueh talam is a steamed coconut pandan cake that features a smooth, bouncy texture that’s similar to agar agar. You’re likely to love this traditional nonya kueh in Singapore if you’re a fan of chendol! Good news is, the kueh talam recipe is pretty easy to follow. Try your hand at this nonya kueh recipe to enjoy a refreshing treat!

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Servings: 20 pieces

Recipe ingredients:

Green pandan layer:

  • 30 pcs pandan leaves, washed
  • 300ml water
  • 1 tsp alkaline water
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 50g rice flour
  • 25g tapioca flour
  • 25g green bean flour
  • ½ tsp salt

White coconut layer:

  • 300ml coconut milk
  • 100ml water
  • 20g green bean flour
  • 30g rice flour
  • ½ tsp salt

Recipe instructions:

  1. Chop pandan leaves into small pieces and blend them in a blender until fine
  2. Strain the pandan juice in a bowl with a nut milk bag
  3. Add Alkaline Water (available on bakingduck88.sg), followed by caster sugar, Rice Flour (available on Shopee Supermarket), tapioca flour,  Green Bean Flour (available on Tiang’s Dried Goods), and salt
  4. Mix until smooth and strain the mixture with a sift
  5. Let the bowl sit over a pot of boiling water
  6. Stir the mixture continuously with a whisk until it thickens
  7. Pour the mixture into a greased 8 inch square pan
  8. Steam the mixture for 15 minutes and set aside
  9. Pour coconut milk into a large bowl
  10. Add water, followed by green bean flour, rice flour and salt
  11. Mix until smooth and strain the mixture
  12. Let the bowl sit over a pot of boiling water
  13. Stir the mixture continuously until it thickens
  14. Pour the mixture into the pan on top of the green layer
  15. Even the mixture out using a spatula
  16. Steam the mixture for 15 minutes
  17. Remove and set aside to let the mixture cool
  18. Once cooled, loosen the sides with a knife and cut it into diamond shapes

7. Ubi kayu kueh recipe

If you love the chewy texture of boba, you have to try ubi kayu kueh. It is a bite-sized tapioca snack similar to ondeh ondeh, just without the gula melaka inner filling. Follow this easy nonya kueh recipe to make your own. Those with kids can even involve them in the step of coating them with coconut flakes!

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Servings: 20 pieces

Recipe ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp blue pea flower
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 200ml warm water
  • 500g grated tapioca
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 10 pcs pandan leaves
  • 250g coconut flakes

Recipe instructions:

  1. Add warm water to dried blue pea flowers and sieve the water
  2. Remove liquid from grated tapioca to prevent your end result from becoming bitter
  3. Add coconut milk, caster sugar, and blue pea flower water to grated tapioca and mix well
  4. Divide the mixture into 2 bowls
  5. Add a drop of red food colouring into the mixture in one bowl
  6. Place 5-6 pieces of pandan leaves on top of the mixture in each bowl
  7. Steam each mixture for 25 minutes
  8. Remove the pandan leaves from the mixture 
  9. Add coconut flakes (available on Nature’s Superfoods Official Store) to a plate 
  10. Cut the tapioca mixture into small portions and coat them with coconut flakes to enjoy!

Try these easy nyonya kueh recipes this National Day!

From ondeh ondeh to ang ku kueh, master these easy nonya kueh recipes and share them with the family! Stocking up on your baking ingredients to make more kuehs? Browse our extensive range of cooking essentials online on Shopee Supermarket! Besides having a go at making traditional nonya kueh with these recipes, celebrate Singapore’s birthday by putting on some of these red and white outfits. Planning for fun activities to do with your kids? Try out these Singapore traditional games that both the young and the young-at-heart will love! 

This article was updated on 25 July 2023 Additional research done by Caryn Tan.

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