12-15 pieces pandan leaves, washed and snipped into 1/2-inch pieces
3-4 tablespoons water
1 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup water
4-5 pieces pandan leaves
1 cup glutinous rice, soaked overnight (or at least 6 hours) and drained
1 to 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
a pinch of salt
150g freshly whit grated coconut
1/4 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 cup thick coconut milk
a pinch of salt
Prepare the pandan extract and syrup: With a mortar and pestle or a blender, mash the leaves finely along with the water into a paste. Use as little water as possible. Press through a fine sieve or squeeze through cheesecloth to extract the green juice only. You should obtain at least 100 ml liquid. If you have the time, let it sit for a few hours. The green extract will settle at the bottom and you can remove the excess water before using. For the sugar syrup in the custard layer, place the sugar, water and knotted pandan leaves in a saucepan and cook over medium low heat till sugar has dissolved. Remove and set aside to cool.
Prepare the rice layer: In a rice cooker, over the stove or in a steamer, cook the glutinous rice till done with the coconut milk and salt. The amount of thin coconut milk used would depend on your cooking method. Meanwhile, bring the water in your steamer to the boil. Grease an 8-inch round or square baking tin (springform or removable base) with cooking oil and set aside. Mix the grated coconut with the cooked rice if using. Spoon the rice into the prepared tin. With a wet spatula or a piece of banana leaf, press the rice firmly onto the base of the tin to form an even and compact layer. Cover and steam, for about 15 minutes over medium heat. Once done, reduce heat to low but keep the tin inside the steamer.
Prepare the custard layer: Mix the coconut milk with the prepared pandan extract. Bring the water of a double boiler/bain-marie to a boil. In the top bowl of the double boiler, combine flour, corn starch, eggs, coconut milk-pandan extract mixture and salt. Whisk till smooth. Then drizzle over the sugar syrup while whisking. Transfer bowl into the bain-marie and gently cook the custard over medium low indirect heat. Stir continuously till custard thickens slightly, about 15 minutes. Pour the custard over a sieve onto the rice layer. Cover and steam over medium low heat (keep this on the low side to obtain a smooth custard layer) for another 15-20 minutes or till custard is set.
Remove tin from steamer and cool completely (about 1-2 hours) before cutting into diamond-shaped pieces. To get neatly cut pieces, use an oiled or heated knife. Serve with hot coffee or tea. Kuih keeps refrigerated up to 1 week. Bring chilled kuih to room temperature before serving.
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