What does homemade muah chee (glutinous rice balls) have that store-bought ones do not?
The extra sweet taste of satisfaction money cannot buy. Heap on the toppings, and add or reduce the amount of sugar, to suit your taste.
There are two ways you can cook the batter – the traditional method is to steam while the alternative is to fry. Either way, it is not going to be tasty if you skip the shallot oil, which helps turn the, otherwise tasteless mass of cooked batter, into a smooth, glistening ball of goodness.
If you like ground peanuts as a topping, you can go old-school and buy raw ground nuts, fry them, then remove their skins before grinding. But I take the easy way out with store-bought unsweetened peanut powder or crushed peanuts.
It is hard to find ground black sesame, though. You can buy toasted black sesame seeds and pop them into a food processor. But do not over-grind them or the seeds will turn into a paste. What you want is a powdery texture.
In my childhood days, I wondered why muah chee sellers gave sad little toothpicks instead of forks or chopsticks.
But now that I can make my own muah chee, I must admit that when you have to fiddle around with toothpicks, that extra bit of work seems to make the muah chee taste better.
- 200 ml cooking oil
- 10 shallots, sliced
- 100 g glutinous rice flour, sifted
- 120 ml water
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp shallot oil
- 120 g peanut powder
- 3 tbsps fine sugar
Black Sesame Topping
- 120 g black sesame seeds
- 3 tbps fine sugar
- Mixed Topping
- 100 g peanut powder
- 20 g ground black sesame seeds
- 3 tbsps fine sugar
For shallot oil:
1. Heat the cooking oil in a wok. Fry the shallots over medium-low heat until golden brown.
2. Place the shallots on kitchen paper to drain excess oil. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
3. Reserve the shallot oil for use later.
Muah Chee (Steamed):
1. Mix glutinous rice flour, water and salt. Stir into a smooth batter.
2. Stir in the shallot oil.
3. Pour the batter into a heat-proof dish and steam for 15 minutes.
4. Place the mixture on a plate or tray containing the topping of your choice.
5. Use scissors to cut the cooked glutinous rice paste into bite-sized pieces.
6. Roll each piece in the topping until it is fully coated.
Muah Chee (Fried):
1. Mix the glutinous rice flour, water and salt. Stir into a smooth batter.
2. Heat the shallot oil in a non-stick pan.
3. Pour in the batter and cook it over medium-low heat. Turn and fry until the batter turns opaque and is cooked through.
1. Mix the peanut powder and sugar.
Black Sesame Topping:
1. Briefly pulse the black sesame seeds in a food processor or grinder.
2. Mix the ground seeds with sugar.
1. Mix the peanut powder, ground black sesame seeds and sugar.
Text: Hedy Khoo/The Straits Times