Servings9 inch round cake pan
Cook1 hr 20 min
Seri muka is a Malaysian steamed layer cake (kuih) which consist of a glutinous rice (thai sweet rice – sticky rice) layer steamed with coconut milk and a sweet pandan custard layer to finish off. It’s green layer comes from the pandan leaf, but some do add green colouring. I prefer to stick with the natural green the pandan leaf gives out once blended.
Kuih means cakes in Malay. Seri Muka translates to radiant face or pretty face. So this is a pretty face cake. 🙂 I’m guessing what it’s called seri muka is because of the smooth top layer it has after it has been steamed. However, I seem to not be able to get that 100% smooth surface. There always seems to be a large bubble spot on it. Other than that, it actually is quite smooth.
This kuih is found in morning markets, school canteens, cake stands and just about every place that has a person selling kuih’s. It is eaten as a dessert, a snack, or at tea time.
Recipe adapted from Sea Salt with Food’s Kuih Seri Muka. I have tried and read number of recipes and this one has so far been a good replica.
Glutinous Rice Layer
- 400 grams Glutinous Rice
- 150 ml Coconut Milk
- 100 ml Water
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 3 Pandan Leaves, knotted
Pandan Custard Layer
- 150 ml Pandan Juice, see tips
- 5 Tablespoons Cornflour
- 3 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
- 3 Eggs, large (53g +/- per egg)
- 200 ml Coconut Milk
- 140 grams Sugar
- A Pinch Salt
- Glutinous Rice Layer
- Soak glutinous rice with water for at least 1 ½ hours prior to using. Drain.
- Prepare a 9-inch round or square cake pan and spray with cooking spray or line with plastic wrap.
- Mix coconut milk, water, salt and the rice. Pour it into cake pan, topped with the pandan knots.
- Steam for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, fluff up the rice and remove pandan knots. Then, using a greased spatula, flatten the steamed rice. Make sure there are no holes/air bubbles and gaps in the rice, especially the sides.
- Steam for another 10 minutes.
- Pandan Custard Layer
- Combine pandan juice, coconut milk, all purpose flour, cornflour, and sugar. Mix well.
- Add eggs and whisk well then strain into a medium sized metal bowl or pot.
- Place pandan mixture over simmering water (double boiler or bain-marie)
- Stir continuously and cook till custard starts to thicken. (15 minutes)
- Pour pandan custard into glutinous rice layer, give it a little tap (for air bubbles) and continue to steam for 30 minutes.
- Remove kuih seri muka from the steamer and allow to cool completely before cutting into rectangles or diamond shapes.
- Pandan Juice: Take 10 pandan leaves and cut them (to make blending easier). Blend with 200ml water. Strain with cheesecloth.
- Wrap steamer cover with a cloth tightly. This is to prevent water droplets from dropping.
- Glutinous rice layer has to be hot while pouring in the pandan custard layer, otherwise it will not stick to each other.
- Cups to Grams conversions
- 1 cup glutinous rice flour = 104 grams
- If you do not have fresh pandan leaves, you can use pandan extract or flavouring.
- Store kuih seri muka in an airtight container once it has completely cooled down. Consume within 24 hours.
- Do not refrigerate, this will make the glutinous rice layer to become very hard.
The dessert is amazing. I already tried it and I reduced the coconut milk for pullout rice 100ml and Pandan layer 150ml and adjusted with a bit more water since I used very thick coconut milk. I also added 10grams sugar extra and also 1.5 teaspoon salt cause I liked it that way. 🙂
Glad you tried it out! 🙂
you left out where to add the 200 ml of coconut milk for the top layer
Owh my! Thank you for informing me! It’s been up for 6 months and I did not realise it! Thanks again. 🙂 It has been updated.
I am going to make it today, for the first time! My daughter loved them so much and we always bought it. After reading through your recipe, I am thrilled and encouraged to make it myself.
All the best! Making it at home is a little more hard work but it seriously is worth it. Plus, you can control the sweetness too! Hope you and your daughter enjoy it.
Hi Cherry! The recipe turns out to be super marvelous! I have tried the recipe twice, first one is half a success since the pandan custards I made is too soft. Nonetheless it still taste super good! The second time my kuih seri muka is perfect!
My daughters and my husband, they loved it! Thanks for sharing the recipe. It is going to be included in my keepsake recipe heheh.
Owh so sorry for the first one! My first one turned out a little runny to as I didn’t cook it long enough in the first step. Glad your’s turned out well after that. 🙂
The recipe is fantastic. I mixed the white glutinous rice with a handful of pulot hitam and it turned out as purple maroonish which was quite nice! Thank you for sharing.
Hi Jan Wee, thanks for trying the recipe! I never thought of using pulut hitam for it. Must try it out one day!
Thanks for the recipe, Cherry.
I moved to Canada over 20 years ago but do missed some of the desserts I had from childhood; Decided to try out a few recipes and stumbled upon this in my Google search. Turns out great.
Being single, consuming the whole batch immediately by myself before it spoils was not an option.
Solution: micro-wave for a couple of minutes and let it cool. Good as new.
Most welcomed Geoff. I’m the only one that eats it in my household so I make it only when I meet friends or if I have guest over. How I miss just being able to buy a piece or two for tea time back in Malaysia! Glad you tried it out.
I just made this 5mins ago. I got to say for an amateur like myself,I’m so happy seri muka turned out oh so well. Thank you for the lovely recipe.
Thanks for trying and I am glad that it was a success!
I tried making the kaya part but it came out lumpy. Did I overcook it ?
Hi, sorry for the late reply. Sorry it came out lumpy. It was probably overcooked or the eggs cooked before the rest. Did you whisk it continuously? When cooking custard you must always keep a close eye on it to prevent the egg from scrambling. Hope you try it again!
Can i replace it with brown sugar instead?
Sorry for getting back to you so late.
Yes you can, though the color of the end product might be slightly different as a result.
I live in the US and I’m very exited to find this recipe, What is the size of the pan you used?
Hi Hui Ping! I used an 8 inch in diameter round pan because that was what I had on hand. But you can use a square pan too if you have one.
I was looking for a good and thorough kuih seri muka recipe and stumbled upon yours on google. I just tried out this recipe today (my first time!) and it was a success!! I truly appreciate all the tips you listed out too. I’d probably double the top layer’s ingredient next time as that’s the part that I like most 🙂 Now I don’t have to worry about craving for this kuih anymore since I live in the US. Thanks again!!
Hi Dayana! Thanks for trying it out and I’m glad you succeeded. I like the pandan layer too and could probably just eat it without the pulut.
Just want to enquire your one tablespon flour is how many gram. Thanks.
Hi Richard, sorry for the utterly late response. 1 tablespoon of flour is 8 grams. You can also find a full conversion chart here.
How many gram is one tablespoon of flour?
Please refer to this table. Thank you
I try and done the recipe but don’t know why the top part not smooth and few shown of air bubbles and budging up.. Please advice.. thanks!
Hi Eunice, there can be a number of problems. Perhaps the pandan layer was overcooked while making the custard? Did it start to curdle or the eggs start to scramble? Did you give the cake pan a tap before steaming it? Hope this helps and please do not hesitate to contact me via email@example.com
where can i buy the Ko-Ko thai sweet rice ?
I bought this in an Asian store, but if you live in Malaysia, Thailand or Singapore, I am sure you can find glutinous rice in grocery stores. It’s also known as Nasi Pulut.
I ran out of eggs.. and only have 2 eggs. Is there anything I can substitute it with like gelatin?
You might be able to, though the texture of the pandan layer will definitely not be the same as to just using eggs.
Thanks for this wonderful recipe. I tried it, probably overcooked the pandan custard, it turns out curdle, didn’t want to waste it, I used a hand blender to blend it just a little and it became smooth again, and I added a spoon of cornflour and cook it for just a min, and voila….its as smooth as yours haha. BTW, the glutinous rice, I soaked it for 3hrs with bluepea flower, and my rice turns blue 😉 , over all, I’m in love with your recipe, easy to follow. thank you Cherry. Keep up the good work.
Tried the recipe today. Very successful. Yummy kuih ! Thanks for the recipe and the special tips ! ?
Hi, how thick should the custard become? Mine tastes great but I think I let it become too thick (like kaya). Should it be only slightly thick when I pour it over the rice?
Hi Khatijah. Sorry for the late reply. It shouldn’t be as thick as kaya. Only just a little thicker than how you started with as it will cook when it steams. Hope it didn’t ruin your attempt!
Thanks for this simple way of making a delectable kuih. I replaced coconut milk with almond milk for a healthier spin
Hi cherry! I am from the philippines. I eould like to know how to make malaysian desserts because i need it for mu catering and restaurant business. Thank you
Hi Karina! I hope this recipe can help you and your business. So far, I’ve only been able to make this and a few others which you can find under Kuih-Muih . Good luck with your business and stay healthy. 🙂
I tried make it today and its super duper good, my hubby love it alot, my hubby love kueh alot but I do not know how to do it ,wanted to make it my self so that we can eat with more healthy, I change the sugar to organic brown sugar, all ingredients I use is organic products.
Hi Emilyn. Thanks for trying out the recipe. Glad that your husbands like it. What’s great about making it at home is that you have total control of the ingredients that go into it! Plus, you can even lessen the amount of sugar to suit your liking. Using brown sugar though would have a slight effect on the colour, but that’s totally fine. Hope you and your family stay safe and healthy during this time. 🙂
Hi, thanks I tired its lovely. Only little eggy smell. Besides it. It’s so nice. Thanks for the recipe.
Thanks for the recipe. It was delicious!Family loved it, despite the fact that i overcooked the pandan custard and it came out lumpy. Definitely going to try making it again, but maybe shorten cooking the paste to 10 minutes.
Hi Lynn. Thank you for trying the recipe. Sorry that it came out lumpy, and I completely agree with cooking the pandan custard shorter to avoid that. Hope the 2nd round will turn out better. Hope you and your family stay safe and healthy during these trying times. 🙂
Hi! I tried this recipe and it was a total hit with my family. I just wanted to know, if i use the pandan extract, instead of the leaves, how much do i add? Thanks again for this!
Hi Julia! Thanks for trying this recipe, and sorry for the late reply. I can’t give you the exact amount as I’ve not use pandan essence for this recipe before. But, I would think that you’d just have to add the same amount of water as the homemade pandan extract and add 2-3 teaspoons (or more) of pandan essence. I would highly recommend you to use pandan leaves though. Nothing can compete with the natural colour and taste of it. Glad to hear that your family likes it. Hope all of you keep safe and healthy during these trying times. 🙂
Hi i tried this recipe today it looked perfect but the top pandan layer turned out hard. The taste and look was exactly how it should be. Wondering if this was caused due to steaming it for too long any thoughts?
Hi Anushka! Thank you for trying out the recipe. There could be a number of problems as to why the pandan layer turned out hard. Firstly, as you mentioned, it could have been overcooked by steaming it too long. Or perhaps over cooking when the custard was being made. It takes some practice to get this one right, and even I make some mistakes too when I’m out of practice. Hope you try it again soon and do let me know! All the best, stay healthy and safe.
I tried this recipe today! I love it so so much. The sweetness level for the pandan custard is perfect. I prefer my glutinous layer to be sweet as well so I think I will add a little bit of sugar there next time.
I didn’t have a double boiler so i just cooked the custard on a saucepan and stirred like crazy. Then I sieved it twice before putting it onto the glutinous rice. My top turned out so smooth and there were no bubbles at all. I actually used a rice cooker to steam it because I didn’t actually have a pot tall enough to steam my kuih. Haha
I don’t know why my custard layer was so little compared to the glutinous rice, so I think I would increase the amount of custard to glutinous rice next time.
OVERALL I LOVE IT SO MUCH 10/10 WOULD RECOMMEND I WISH I COULD ATTACH PHOTOS
Hi Shermain! Thank you so so much for trying the recipe out and I’m very glad that it was successful. The beauty of making your own Kuih at home is that it’s customisable and perhaps I too should try making it with sweeter glutinous rice. If you have Instagram, do tag me so I can see your Kuih Seri Muka!
Perfect recipe! Thank you 😉 I have tried many recipes on the web and yours is just the perfect one! The only thing i changed is reducing the sugar in pandan custard to 110 gram, and added a few more pinch of salt to the glutinous rice to my own preference level ! So happy with the texture and taste yumm 😍
Hi! Thank you so much for trying it out and I am glad it was a success. That’s the best part about making it at home – customisation! 🙂
Hi Cherry! I would like to make this recipe. However, I cannot find fresh pandas leaves. Could I use pandas extract or dried pandas leaves somehow? TIA
Hi Heather. You can use pandan extract for sure. I do not have experience using dried pandan, but I don’t think it’s a problem.
Thanks Cherry! How much extract would you use?
I will be trying for the first time and wondering if green food coloring is needed or the pandan juice will make the layer green. Thanks!
Hi! You can definitely add food colouring if you wish, but I love the natural green yellow that the pandan and egg gives.
I can’t find corn flour anywhere. Those I find have mass or alkaline lime in it. Can I substitute corn flour with something else instead?
Hi, cornflour is also known as corn starch (Maizena). Sorry if that was confusing.
I tried for the first time but didn’t get the custard right as too soft yet. What can I do to correct it pls.
Hi, thanks for trying the recipe out. It could be that the custard was not cooked long enough prior to steaming. You have to cook it till it thickens.
Hi Cherry, 3rd time I have used your recipe; best one I have found on the web, practice makes perfect. Although in Uk can easily buy fresh Pandan leaves online and gives us our Kueh fix until we vacation in the Far East. My english dad & hubby love the taste too, my mum was Chinese, sadly passed away so making this always makes me think of her more, wish she was here.
Hi Lin. Thank you so much for your comments, and yes, definitely practice makes perfect. I’m sorry to hear about your mother but I’m glad to help out in remembering her and I hope that it gives you some comfort too. I have never got the chance to make this for my late father as he was the one always encouraging me to learn how to make Malaysian kueh, so that I can make/teach others in the future.