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  • Writer's pictureBharathi Tardif

Kueh Lapis - Yummy Rainbow

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

Firstly, welcome back! Yes, it has been some time since my last post, but you know, life happens. Had a great time with my mom being here with the HUGE bonus of being on the receiving end of so many childhood dishes. Here I am now, a few months later, and many pounds heavier.

I wanted the re-entry back into food blogging to be special, so it had to be a Singaporean dish, a dessert, one that invoked memories - Kueh Lapis. As a kid growing up, these colorful desserts were such a treat, consisting of multiple layers of ooey gooey goodness. Basically, there are 2 categories to group people based on how they ate this. The first was the one I fell into, where you painstakingly peel each layer, admire the colors and then delighted in taking petite bites to finish one layer before moving on to the next. Essentially, nirvana was a journey. And then the second, the barbarians, simply biting into the entire dessert, mushing all the colors in one go, just striving for that immediate satisfaction....tsk tsk.

I perused the net and came across the following recipe from Nomadette that I adapted from. In all honesty, it was the colors of the Kueh Lapis, and the concise instructions that made my decision an easy one. It was really therapeutic starting with a blank white batter and being able to mix the colors, sort of like a mad food scientist. Though, I did sound like the Count von Count from Sesame Street... "1, 1 Kueh Lapis color, Muhahahaha! 2, 2 Kueh Lapis color, Muahahahaha!"

Now, the actual preparation for the batter was easy enough, but I didn't have a steamer. I donned my MacGyver thinking cap and fashioned a steamer using one giant pan and my Pyrex bakeware to steam the contents. Only 1 way to test this, it was time to pour in the first layer and start steaming, aaannnnnddddd, it worked! Now I got to simply repeat this for the other layers. Wait, this needs to be done 7 more times???!! Note to self, next time get cravings satiated in Singapore. Also, as luck would have it, after years of existence on this earth, I have yet to remember the order of the colors in the rainbow. Oh well, we'll just call this Kueh Lapis, eerrrmmm... Artistic, Vogue, The Trailblazer... All layers done, but now I need to wait 3 hours for this to cool down before I can cut into it. Now might be a good time to confess that I recently tested negative for patience. Wooza...

In that 3 hours it took for the Kueh Lapis to cool, it gave me time for my mind to wander, May 1st is a particularly tough day for me since it's the day my Dad passed. One particular memory that stands out is the 1st time I made coffee for him. Now, to say that my Dad is biased when it comes to me is a huge understatement, I could do no wrong. So, I bring my Dad the cup of coffee, which he takes a gulp, then proceeds to CHEW the coffee (I had left the grounds in), swallow and with a smile tells me, "Bharathi, that's the best drainage water I've ever tasted". That was my Dad, always the positive spin with humor, and it just made me always want to try new things with the understanding that, it's OK to fail, you'll find some good and potentially always learn something. It's the same kind of mentality I bring to cooking, the next best dish might very well be an accident.

Suffice to say, this dish had its mistakes with the order of the colors and the steaming apparatus, BUT did it taste good? Yes. Could I peel the layers apart? Yes. Did it bring back childhood memories of an innocent time when a simple dessert gave a little girl joy? Yes. I call that a WIN, WIN, WIN!


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