Muah Chee is a sweet dish that we often associate with our childhood in Singapore. The chewy warm glutinous rice balls buried beneath a heap of sugared peanuts was often the sweet counterpoint to a tiring day at school. Unfortunately, this signature dish is fast disappearing from the streets of Singapore with not many up-and-coming hawkers interested in this trade. Muah Chee might not be very profitable economically, but its value comes from more subtle things like craftsmanship and tradition. Thankfully, for passionate foodies, this is a very easy dish to prepare and you can whip up a plate in your kitchen with ingredients from the store cupboard.
Read on for an easy make-at-home recipe for Muah Chee that will serve 5 generous portions.
Muah Chee Recipe
Image: Anncoo Journal
½ cup (50g) of shallots
1/3 (80 ml) cup of vegetable oil
1 cup (150g) of roasted peanuts
¼ cup (30g) of roasted white sesame seeds
¼ cup and 2 tbs (75g) of sugar
1 1/3 cups (200g) of glutinous rice or sticky rice flour
2 tsp of granulated sugar
¼ tsp of salt
1 cup (250ml) of water
1 tbs of shallot oil or cooking oil and 1 tsp of oil for after the dough is cooked
To prepare shallot oil:
Evenly slice the shallots length-wise.
Heat the vegetable oil in a pan. Once it reaches the desired temperature (a slice of shallot should bubble when added to the oil), put in the shallots to fry.
Stir occasionally until the shallots reach a golden-brown colour. This should take approximately 12 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the shallots sit in the oil for another 5 to 10 minutes until they turn dark brown in colour.
Strain the shallots in a metal strainer and keep the oil aside in a covered jar. This recipe will yield about 1/3 cup of oil. Store the fried shallots in an airtight container and use it later as toppings for noodles/fried rice dishes.
To prepare peanut topping:
Preheat the oven to 180°C (356 °F).
Spread the peanuts out in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
Roast the peanuts in the oven for 20 minutes, giving them a good stir at the 10-minute mark. Later, keep aside to cool.
To roast the sesame seeds, follow the same steps (2 and 3) above. Roast for 10 minutes, giving the seeds a good stir at the 5-minute mark. Let the roasted seeds cool.
Using a food processor, blitz the roasted peanuts and sesame seeds until they become fine. However, take care not to blitz too much that you get peanut butter instead of a fine powdered texture.
To prepare the dough:
In a medium-sized bowl, mix glutinous rice flour, sugar, salt and water along with 1 tbsp of shallot oil until you get a smooth batter.
Brush a deep dish or pan with shallot oil.
Pour the batter into the pan and steam well for about 25 minutes. Make sure that it is cooked well by pressing the centre with your finger or a chopstick. If it forms a depression but springs back immediately, it indicates that your glutinous rice mixture is ready.
Brush the cooked dough with 1 tsp of shallot oil and let it cool slightly.
Brush some shallot oil onto a pair of clean kitchen scissors and cut up the dough into bite-sized pieces. You can substitute a small knife for the scissors if you prefer.
Toss the pieces of dough into the previously prepared peanut topping and mix thoroughly. A delicious plate of Muah Chee is now ready to be enjoyed.
In the above recipe, unless you are a stickler for authenticity, instead of shallot oil you can use sesame oil or any kind of cooking oil. Also, if you have some ground peanut powder handy, you can skip preparing the peanut topping and use it instead. Muah Chee is best enjoyed warm; it should not be kept for another day (but, there need be no real worries on this count!).
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