Kueh Kosui Recipe: Super soft and wobbly version

This kueh kosui recipe is not only the easiest to do but will result in a super wobbly kueh kosui which is a textural delight.  The recipe was shared by Sharon of My Makan Place.  What makes it very different from the typical kueh kosui recipe is that you add the hot gula melaka syrup directly to the tapioca flour!  I initially had doubts that it would work, but it does!  It means you don’t have to add the extra step of cooking it over a bain marie which saves time and effort!  The only downside is that you may have a few lumps of uncooked flour which is easily rectified by straining it before steaming.


Group A
550 ml    Water
400 gm  Gula Melaka  (Original recipe by Sharon uses only 300g)
1/2 tsp salt
6 Pandan leaves knotted

Group B
250gm Tapioca flour starch
20gm.  Plain flour
2 Tbsp Alkaline water
550 ml  Water

Group C
Shredded coconut
1/2 tsp salt
Pandan leaves

8” square tin


1. Bring ingredients in group A to a boil and simmer for 10 mins
2. Meanwhile measure and sieve tapioca and plain flour
3. Add alkaline water to water
4. Add hot gula melaka syrup directly to the flour while stirring continuously.
5.  Once the batter is well mixed, add the alkaline water mixture
6. Oil square pan
7. Pour the batter through a sieve onto the pan
8. Steam for 30mins.  Sharon’s instructions was to steam at high heat.  I used a steam oven set at 90°C as I didn’t want bubbles to form.  Some of our readers have better results steaming at high heat as per Sharon’s instructions.
9.  Steam the grated coconut with pandan leaves for 10mins and add 1/2 tsp salt to it.  This will help the coconut to keep longer.


  1. The shiokness of your kueh kosui is directly dependent on the quality of gula melaka you use.  Try to get pure “gula jawa” from the market if you can.  The ones sold in the supermarkets often have sugar added to it.  You can tell by reading the ingredients list as well as the crystalline texture when you press it between your fingers. A good gula melaka should be soft and toffee like with a nice caramel fragrance. You can find quality gula melaka at wet markets like Geylang Serai and Tampines Round Market.  Just ask for those that are pure with no sugar added and they should smell heavenly.
  2. The tapioca flour (flying man) sold at the supermarket works well.
  3. For the grated coconut, you really do need to buy it from the wet market.  The ones sold at the supermarkets aren’t very good.
  4. Many recipes on the internet show that you need to slowly cook the slurry over a double boiler.  I have tried both methods and am happy with just pouring hot syrup into dry flour.  Just make sure you add all the syrup at once and stir quickly.  It should thicken up a little.  It is a little lumpy at first, but it will eventually dissolve. Once all the flour is mixed with water, add the rest of the water.   I have tried dissolving the flour in some cold water first, but it doesn’t work as there is not enough heat in the syrup to gelatinize the flour.  I also tried adding the gula melaka a little at a time but it also doesn’t work!  Just add all the gula melaka syrup at once and stir quickly!  (Trust me.  I tried)
  5. The recipe may not work if you half the ingredients.  Sharon has tweaked it such that the amt of gula melaka syrup is just right to cook the tapioca flour.  You can try, but if the batter is still watery, you may still need to cook it over a water bath to thicken it.
  6. You will find the surface of the kueh to be a little wet and sticky.  Just leave it on the kitchen top overnight and it will firm up nicely.

7. You can buy alkaline water from Phoon Huat where it is in liquid form or from the market as little rocks which you dissolve in water.  Ask for “kee”, for making kee chang. You only really need a grape sized piece to dissolve in water.

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I just tried this but even after additional steaming time, the liquid still doesn’t solidify into kueh. My mum said it’s because I didn’t use the double-boil method. Does anyone know?

If there is a little liquid at the top its fine, just throw away the excess water. If there is a lot, then it is probably because you did not add all the gula melaka at once or it wasn’t hot enough. How was the texture of the rest of the kueh?

Good to know it’s normal! It’s a thin layer of water at the top and rest of the kueh is set but tasted uncooked. Maybe I didn’t mix the liquid and flour enough. Will try again.

If it tasted uncooked, then you have to steam it longer! How was the texture?

I tried this morning. 1st time steamed on medium fire coz concerned with bubbles if too high fire. After 1 hr still v wet and threw away 1.5 glasses of water. Tried again 2nd time this time high fire and after 45 mins better as just a thin layer of water. Texture is soft but too chewy. Wondering if recipe of 250 tapioca starch and 20gm plain flour is balanced?

Hi Maria,

If you feel its too chewy, you can increase the plain flour and decrease the tapioca flour. I actually like the chewy texture.

Thanks for your suggestion. Will do that on next try. The family loves the softness of the kueh though. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Simple for first timers

Thanks for the feedback. Sharon’s recipe calls for high heat steaming which is what you did. I have now edited the recipe to reflect that. My recipe was based on tips from Chef Damian de Silva where he said that the kueh needs to be steamed gently.

I steamed on medium heat in my Panasonic cubie oven. 30 mins. It was great.

It makes it more chewy

It makes it a little more chewy

Hi Doc, tapioca flour become very lumpy after i poured the hot gula melaka solution into it? Can i dissolve the flour in Gp B water first?

Yes it does. Just have to quickly whisk it and filter. I have tried dissolving in water first but it won’t be hot enough and when you steam it, the flour separates from the water. What you can try is to dissolve Gp B in as little water as possible, then heat up the extra water to boiling point and add that into the mixture. That might work. The solution needs to come to 75C which is the gelation temperature of the starch. Alternatively, you can heat up resultant batter in a waterbath till it reaches 75C.

Hi Dr. Tried this recipe for the second time and it turned out great. First time round I didn’t anticipate how fast I had to stir after adding the hot mixture to the flour. Turned out lumpy. Decided to give it a 2nd try. Wonderful.

A question though. Do I need to leave it overnight to set? How long would it take to set usually?comment image

Yes, the recipe works, doesn’t it? Thanks for your feedback!

Hi Doc. My first attempt was a fail. Mixture just wouldn’t set. So I reread all the notes and comments and tried again today. It turned out perfectly! The most divine kueh koswee I’ve ever had! Thank you for your labour of love and sharing the recipe!

Well done! Thanks for writing back to tell me about it!

Thanks for your comments! Hope the next attempt will be perfect!

Hi, I tried your recipe today and followed the instructions very carefully, unfortunately after steaming for more than an hour it just won’t set. It remined sticky and slimy texture. Not sure what went wrong. Please advise. Thank you.

Most likely your gula melaka syrup was not hot enough and you did not add all of it at one time. It should turn gooey at this step. Once all the flour is mixed with the hot liquid, then you add the cold water. Happened to me before.

Hi Leslie thank you for the advice. Trying it tonight again. Hope it works this time 🙂

Let us know how you go!

? really dont know what went wrong. After 1 hour plus its still slimy and watery. I am trying the oven now to continue cooking.

It is because your gula melaka was not hot enough or you did not add it all at one time. It should turn a little starchy before you add the cold water.

Read all the other comments about their failed attempts. So I watched the instructional video a few times and studied the recipe before my attempt. Followed every step exactly.

The kuih kosui turned out perfectly! It is slightly chewy but melts in your mouth after just a few bites. It’s much better than any kuih kosui served at hotel buffets.

Well done! Glad to know the recipe worked for you!

Hi, should i cover the tin before steaming so that water will not enter when i am steaming? I do not have a steam oven so i am intending to steam it the normal way by putting it in a wok and covering it

In addition, do i definitely need to leave it overnight? Cos i am intending to buy the shredded coconut the same day as i am buying the gula melaka abs i am not sure the shrdded coconut can keep so long!

No you don’t need to cover and you don’t need to leave overnight, just Long enough for it to cool down to room temperature.

Hello, its me again. i tried this recipe earlier today but it turned out very firm/ hard and chewy. Do u know why this is the case?
At the endof the steaming, i poured some water away which had pooled on top of the kueh – this is expected right?
1) the gula melaka mixture was almost boiling when i poured it into the flour mixture. In fact i saw many bubbles surfacing once i poured the hot mixture in.
This is ok, right?
2) do i have to put the mixture in to steam immediately after mixing both the wet snd dry ingredients? I left it out for 5-7 min after whisking as the steamer was still not hot.
Should i prepare the steamer prior and immediately put the mixture in?
3) i notice the color of the completed kueh was brown and translucent. Not dark nor opaque like i expected it to be. Should that be the case
4) i was very sure i whisked fast enough after pouring the gula melaka mixture. Was this failed attempt due to me not whisking fast enough?

Hi! The steps listed doesn’t say when to add the water+alkaline water mixture. Step 3 says the add the alkaline water to the water, but then never says when we add it to the batter. Can you clarify? Thanks!

Hi Dr Leslie!
Is it necessary to add alkaline water?
Will it affect the texture of Kueh if it’s omitted?

Hi Dr Leslie, can I reduce the taipoca flour to 200g and increase the plain flour to 70gm to make it less chewy? Is the total amt of water needed is 1100ml ?

Really enjoyed the kueh kosui! Nice and Shiny after steaming- could see reflection ! Came out the way I like in terms of texture! Kinda bouncy and somewhat melts in your mouth thereafter! Sweetness just nice however for those who likes it a little sweeter probably can have it a little more gula Melaka like 50-100gms more? Thank you dr Leslie for sharing!

Hi Dr Leslie Tay, can I inquire if I would like make a pandan version of kuih kosui instead of gula melaka, how do I tweak the recipe as in how much of sugar to substitute the 400 gram of gula melaka and how much of pandan juice to be proportionate to the 550ml water. Looking forward to your reply ????

i see some recipes used rice instead of plain flour. do you know if it makes a difference pls?

Hi, does it make a difference to the texture if using the bain Marie method? Cause I’m halving the recipe so I guess I’ll have to do the extra step but would the end result be similar? Thanks!

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