"Kue ku", or ang koo kueh is a common treat for baby's full moon celebration. It also becomes part of daily snack that's famous with the term jajan pasar. Growing up, I got exposed to this kind of food especially from grandma. I remember she always made red-dyed eggs for my sisters' and my birthdays. Nowadays, having this treat for full moon celebration (ma gwee) seems to be outdated for most people. The old meaningful tradition has been replaced with "modern" ones like decorated cake, fancy pudding, or cake ice cream. As for dad, it is important to him to continue this culture of giving out everything red to friends on my nieces' full moon celebration. However, considering people might not like old-fashioned Chinese snacks, he agreed to my sister's plan, giving out cakes to her relatives and friends.
Until now, mom still preserves cultures inherited from her mom. Old fashioned snacks almost always presence in our house. By exposing those to her granddaughters, hopefully they can treasure their family culture and be proud of it. I think knowing their identity and family background is important for them so they can learn from the history and do better for their life. Food is a powerful tool to introduce a culture.
This past days I'd been wanting to make this kue ku, although it'd never been my favorite food. Greasy, sticky, bright red, and sweet are attribute I always gave to this delicacy. I read some recipes online, some required either sweet potato or potato, some required a lot of glutinuous rice flour. What I had 1/4 bag of glutinuos rice flour, and full pack of skinless green mung bean. No time for another grocery shopping this week, I substituted potato with mung bean. I think it worked. Although the pattern is not clear that might cause by too soft dough (and I couldn't fix it because I had no more flour), I like it much more than I like ones that I got from traditional market. It is not greasy, nor too sweet, nor too red. Isn't it the art of homemade cooking?! You have the control of what you are making!
Mung bean mixture: 300 skinless mung bean
1 cup sugar 1tsp salt
Heat water in a pot (about 1.5 as much as the mung bean), add the mung bean, sugar and salt. Simmer until soft. Keep simmering until water almost drains out.
For the Skin: 350 gr mung bean mixture
160 gr glutinous flour
Drops of food coloring
Use the rest of the bean mixture for the filling.
Take a small lump of mung bean dough. using hand, flatten it into a round shape. Spoon a teaspoon of filling into the dough, pinch the sides of the dough together and form it to a ball. Coat the ball lightly so it doesn't stick to the mould. Press the dough ball into the mould, knock the mould gently to dislodge the dough. Place it on a piece of cleaned banana leaf. Repeat the same process to the rest of the dough & filling.
Steam with medium heat covered for 5 minutes, then open the steamer's lid. Continue steaming for another 5 minutes. Over steaming will make the dough expand and wash out the pattern.