Huat Kueh

Rate this recipe


Preparation info

  • Makes


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Chinese Heritage Cooking

Chinese Heritage Cooking

By Christopher Tan and Amy Van

Published 2018

  • About

There are many different recipes for these fluffy steamed cakes, which are served on celebratory occasions and also used as religious offerings. Some variations are leavened with yeast and some with baking powder. Some are made with ground cooked rice, some with rice flour and some with soft wheat flour. This easy recipe uses a blend of flours and leavening agents for a fine yet substantial texture. Huat kueh are best eaten hot and fresh, as they become stodgy when cold.


  • Rice flour 175 g ( oz)
  • Boiled and cooled water 175 ml (5⅘ fl oz)
  • Active dried yeast ½ tsp
  • Cooking oil 2 Tbsp + more for greasing bowls
  • Cake flour 90 g ( oz)
  • Double-acting baking powder tsp


  • Brown sugar or palm sugar (gula melaka) 175 g ( oz)
  • Water 150 ml (5 fl oz)
  • Pandan leaves 2, cut into small pieces


  1. Combine ingredients for syrup in a small pot, cover and set over medium-low heat. Cook until sugar has fully dissolved and mixture has just reached a simmer. Strain into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract all the syrup. Let cool completely.
  2. Combine rice flour, water and yeast in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Cover and let stand for 1 hour until mixture is frothy.
  3. Stir syrup and oil into batter until incorporated, then sift cake flour over batter and whisk it in just until smooth. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes more.
  4. Meanwhile, bring water to a vigorous boil in your steamer.
  5. Sift baking powder over batter and whisk in quickly until evenly incorporated. Let the batter stand for 10 minutes so the baking powder can begin to aerate it.
  6. Very lightly grease small porcelain bowls (about 125-ml / 4-fl oz / ½-cup) capacity) with oil. Place them in the steamer to preheat for 5 minutes.
  7. Gently stir the batter—which should be visibly more frothy by now—then ladle it into the preheated bowls right up to the brim. Sprinkle a few grains of sugar into the centre of each bowl—this encourages the huat or splitting of the cakes during steaming.
  8. Steam for 15–18 minutes, until well risen. Serve hot or warm.