Home Food and Recipes Easy but Impressive Dessert: Kuih Kohsui (Pandan)

Easy but Impressive Dessert: Kuih Kohsui (Pandan)

The best Kuih Kohsui in Malaysia

A “kuih” is a sweet snack or dessert primarily found in Southeast Asia and they come in a myriad of impressive colours and flavours. One of the most popular kuih found in Malaysia is Kuih Kohsui. These conveniently bite-sized delicacies are softer than candies but chewier than cakes. Paired with lightly-salted shredded coconut and sprinkled with toasted sesame, this unique dessert looks impressive and complicated to make. However, this recipe is surprisingly easy and quick, as long as you follow the tips and tricks provided:

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes


180 ml water
180 ml water
4 – 5 young pandan leaves (screw pine leaves)
70 g rice flour
40 g tapioca flour
80 g sugar
¾ tsp alkali water
100 g freshly grated coconut mixed with a pinch of salt
Some toasted sesame (optional)

You will need:

A blender
A cheesecloth
A pot
A sieve
A wooden spatula
Mini cupcake sized ceramic/metal/ silicone moulds that could be steamed
A steamer with some water

Preparation of the Kuih Kohsui:

First, chop or cut the pandan leaves to about 2 cm wide pieces and put them in the blender along with 180 ml of water. Blend the mixture until all the leaf pieces are fine. Pour out the mixture into a cheesecloth with a bowl underneath and squeeze out the pandan juice. Using the other 180 ml of water, continue to extract the pandan flavour by pouring the water into the cheesecloth and squeezing out the juice. Add in the rice flour, tapioca flour, sugar and stir with the wooden spatula until combined. Pour the mixture into a pot through a sieve and smooth out any lumps. Set aside.


Arrange your moulds in the steamer and heat them up (this is a very important step and should not be skipped). While your steamer is heating up, put the pot with the Kuih Kohsui mixture on top of a low fire, add in ¾ tsp of alkali water and stir. It is crucial to keep a careful eye on the mixture as all you want is to heat it up and not boil it while constantly stirring it. The moment you see the mixture giving out a hint of smoke (around 2-4 minutes depending on the fire and thickness of your port), turn off the fire and remove the pot from the heat source. Keep stirring (important!) for about 2 minutes.


At this point, the water in your steamer should be boiling. Pour in the mixture into the hot moulds and set the steamer’s fire to medium. Close the steamer tightly with the lid and steam the Kuih Kohsui for about 7 – 8 minutes. Remove the kuih from the steamer and let completely cooled before unmoulding them.

You can coat the kuih with freshly grated coconut or just spoon some on top of the kuih. For extra flavour and crunchiness, sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds. Plate and serve.

Tip: If you do not have freshly grated coconut, you can hydrate dried desiccated coconut with some hot water and it will work just as well.

/// Written by Seen Chew, Malaysia