Malaysian Cuisine - Nyonya Kuih/Desserts

Pulut Tai Tai (Blue Glutinous Rice Cake)

July 19, 2017 | Recipe by Bake with Paws

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Pulut tai tai, also known as blue glutinous rice cake, is a traditional Peranakan (Straits Chinese) dessert popular in Malaysia and Singapore. Here's how you can describe it:

  1. Appearance: Pulut tai tai is visually striking due to its vibrant blue and white color. The blue hue comes from the natural dye of butterfly pea flowers (bunga telang), giving the dish an appealing and unique look.
  2. Texture: The dessert has a sticky and chewy texture, typical of glutinous rice-based dishes. The rice grains are tender yet hold their shape, providing a satisfying bite.
  3. Flavor: The taste is subtly sweet, often with a hint of coconut flavor from the coconut milk used in preparation. It's mildly fragrant, allowing the natural taste of the rice and coconut to shine.
  4. Serving Style: Pulut tai tai is usually served in small, rectangular or square pieces. It's often enjoyed on its own or with a dollop of kaya (coconut jam), enhancing its sweetness and adding a creamy texture.
  5. Cultural Significance: This dessert is not only a treat but also holds cultural significance, being a staple in Peranakan cuisine and often served during special occasions and celebrations.
Pulut tai tai is cherished for its simple ingredients that combine to create a dessert that is both visually appealing and delicious.

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.  Do tag me on Instagram @Bakewithpaws if you attempt on this recipe.

Recipe adapted from Nyonya Flavour Cookbook with modifications.

Pulut Tai Tai (Blue Glutinous Rice Cake) Recipe

Yields:  20 pieces


400g glutinous rice
25 butterfly pea flowers (bunga telang)
150ml water
1 ½ tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice
200ml coconut milk
¾ tsp salt
3 – 5 pandan leaves (screw-pine leaves)

  1. In a saucepan, boil the butterfly pea flowers and 150ml water. Simmer for few minutes and off the fire.  Steep for 10 minutes.  When cool down, strain to extract the indigo blue colouring. Set aside.
  2. Wash the glutinous rice. Soak 1/3 of glutinous rice with the blue colouring extract and balance of rice with water. Add ½ tablespoon of vinegar to the blue colouring rice and stir well. Then add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the balance of rice and stir well. Soak for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. The next day or 4 hours later, the rice should be stained with blue color. Drain both glutinous rice.
  4. Prepare the steamer. Line the steaming tray with banana leave and lightly grease with oil. Place pandan leave in the tray.
  5. Place both the glutinous rice into the lined steaming tray. Mix coconut milk with salt. Pour ½ the coconut mixture over the rice and mix well. Steam over high heat for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from steamer and fluff the rice with a pair of chopstick and discard the pandan leaves. 
  7. Then add the balance of coconut milk mixture. Return to steamer and steam for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  8. Line the 7 X 7 inch square pan with banana leave and lightly grease with oil. Transfer the cooked rice to the pan, alternating the blue portion with white. Mix well. Level the surface and press down the rice with a banana leaf. Cover the top of the rice with a banana leaf and place a heavy object on it to compress the rice.
  9. Leave to cool before cutting into pieces to serve with Kaya.

Note:  Soaking glutinous rice with addition of vinegar or lemon juice will reduce the phytic acid found in the grain and also helps to break down gluten and better absorption of blue colour.  Phytic acid which inhibit the absorption of other important nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium and etc.


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