Traditional Malaysian kuih you might not have heard of (yet)

May 10, 2021

Raya is coming up fast, and even the non-Muslims have visions of their favourite kuih Raya dancing in their heads right about now (we sure do)…

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But besides the London almonds and cornflake cookies, perhaps some part of you longs for even more nostalgic delights. The kuih of your kampung. The kuih of your childhood. The kuih that makes other state kids look at you funny, because…it sounds like something you made up.

So to ease that loneliness, we’re showcasing sweet specialties from every state. And while some of them may not be Raya-specific, getting to eat them is still a cause to beraya!

Perlis – kuih karas

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Image from JKKN

Imagine if beehoon and roti jala had an adorable baby. Yes, that’s kuih karas. At its simplest, it takes just four ingredients–rice flour, sugar, water and oil–to make this sweet treat. Fine strands of batter are poured into hot oil, crisping them to golden perfection. Just…try not to eat it over that floor your mom JUST swept clean…

Kedah – kuih dangai

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Image from JKKN

If you’re nuts for coconuts, you’ll love kuih dangai. Think of it as a gigantic cookie made of grated coconut, pulut flour, salt and sugar. Have a slice with a cup of coffee and we guarantee you’ll hear the jiwang Raya ad music playing.

Penang – kuih beka

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Image via

No, we don’t mean bingka or bengkang. Kuih beka’s two-coloured layers get steamed in banana leaves much like lepat pisang would. It’s half-sweet, half-salty, and all of that creamy santan goodness Malaysians loooove.

Perak – kuih limas

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Image from

“This straight up looks like tepung pelita,” you say. Trust us, it’s different. While tepung pelita is made with rice flour, kuih limas uses wheat flour (sorry, everyone on that GF diet). It’s a bit more watery and lighter, but we think that sounds like you can just eat more at one sitting.

Selangor – wadai kipeng

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Image from Fried Chillies

A recipe handed down from the Banjar community, wadai kipeng looks sort of like sotong curry but tastes like a dream. These little dimpled dumplings are served in a rich santan-and-syrup gravy. They’re served at celebrations, and quite honestly, we say celebrate having survived this far. Add them to your Raya spread!

Negeri Sembilan – kuih sopang

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Image from JKKN

(Usually) green on the outside, brown on the inside and white all round, this nogori specialty resembles half-moon shaped kuih koci. Kuih sopang is steamed without any wrappings in a thick santan gravy that’s worth getting your fingers sticky for. The most traditional versions call for gula anau or nipah sugar – now that’s the taste of tradition.

Melaka – kuih tepung puli

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Image from Picdeer via Butter Kicap

Something like laksam with a glow-up, kuih tepung puli is made from a mix of pulut flour, tapioca/sago flour, sugar and santan. The green-and-white swirls are traditional, but you can make them in any colour pairing you choose! Now you can match the kuih to your baju raya.

Johor – kuih koleh kacang

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This green-bean-and-santan cake is topped with the crispy remains of boiled-down santan, aka tahi minyak. While it may look strange to some, true fans know not to judge a book by its cover.

Pahang – kuih pena

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Image from Kuih Tradisional Pahang on Facebook

Small pulut flour shapes are steamed in a softer flour-and-santan mixture to make this wiggly two-coloured kuih. The ingredients are similar to two other Pahang faves, dodol kukus and badak kubang, so they’re often known as the ‘three siblings’. Sounds like they’re halfway to a boyband…

Terengganu – butir nangka

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Image from JKKN

Fruit haters, rest easy – there’s no actual nangka involved in this kuih – the name comes from the pulut ovals in a creamy gravy of santan, fenugreek, gula melaka and rice flour. Traditional recipes use pandan to add colour and flavour, but multi-coloured variants also exist for a very colour-colour dessert.

Kelantan – asam gumpal

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Also known as sagupal, asam gumpal are made by wrapping a paste of green beans and sugar in a coating of sagu. They’re then served in a gravy of santan, salt, sugar and a little onion, ginger and fenugreek. Sweet AND savoury? We’re sold.

Sabah – kuih cincin

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Image from Wikipedia

After all those soupy santan sensations, you might be looking for something with a little extra bite. Kuih cincin batter uses palm sugar to add that 100% local caramel flavour, and is double-fried for extra crunch. There’s no way to eat just one!

Sarawak – kuih bongkol

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Good things come in small packages, and these banana leaf bundles fit the bill. Kuih bongkol is made with a rice flour and pandan batter, a dollop of nipah sugar/gula apong, and a final layer of eggs, santan and plain sugar. The entire thing is steamed

While we salute all kuih, there are two in particular who are competing for your support this Raya: the traditionalist Tart Nenas and the youthful Kuih Sam-perit. And only ONE can be Ketua Kuih Raya…as you’ll see in this exclusive YNN report.

Cast YOUR vote for Ketua Kuih Raya on our website, AND stand a chance to win great prizes just by having an active plan with Pilihan Riang Raya! It’s going to be another challenging Raya for a great many of you. But we hope you’ll stay connected, stay safe and stay happy for Aidilfitri.