Nyonya Oh Ku Kuih (黑龜粿)

If you visited Melaka before, which by the way is our hometown in Malaysia, you might have happened to try Melaka’s Baba Nyonya cuisine. Even if you have not, you might have seen or might have tasted some Baba Nyonya Kuih while roaming down the famous Jonker Street. If you have done neither of both, some might say that you could not claim that you had been to Melaka.

As a Malaysian, living in a multicultural country, I tend to get question from friends asking where are my grandparents from or even where were my ancestors original from. My grandparents are from China might be the sensible answer. However, when I got question like this, my answer would always be I am a Malaysian that happened to be ½ Hokkien, ¼ Hakka, and ¼ Baba Nyonya. It is always funny to see the puzzle look on the person face. Truth is, my mom is a Hakka Baba Nyonya and my dad is Hokkien and so hence the unique answer.

We need ramie leaf as the organic black dye. We got our leaf from my grandparents place. You could get it online or from local market.

Since my mom is a Baba Nyonya, my brother and I were growing up eating Baba Nyonya foods and chomping down Baba Nyonya kuih. Truth to be told, I do like Baba Nyonya food but I do not like most of the kuih. However, the missus who like everyone else, who was not growing up chomping Baba Nyonya Kuih, loves all the kuih. Thus, I have to force myself to learn a few from my mom so we could make some ourselves when we so desire to have some. Or just the missus…

Split mung beans are the main ingredient for the filling. It does look like corn from the photo.

Today, we are going to show you how to make the authentic Nyonya Oh Ku Kuih. An alternative version of ang ku kuih but with natural black dye from plants and split mug bean as filling. To get the black wrapper skin, we would need ramie leaf. The leaf is first being slowly boil with coconut milk to form into an organic black dye. It would then be mixed with gluten flour and some mashed sweet potato to get the black colour wrapper. As for the filling, it is just split mung beans being cooked into soft paste with sugar and water being added.

Making an authentic Nyonya Oh Ku Kuih is a bit taxing than usual, but if you could overlook the trouble, it would be totally worth it. Here is the full recipe:


Nyonya Oh Ku Kuih

A traditional Baba Nyonya dessert make from gluten flour and ramie leaf as organic dye, sweeten mung beans paste as filling.
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 20 mins
Soaking the split mung beans 12 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine baba nyonya


  • Ang ku kuih mould
  • Banana leaf or grease paper


For making wrapper

  • 40 g Ramie leaf (Daun Rami)
  • 200 g Sweet potato
  • 400 ml Coconut milk
  • 300 g Gluten flour
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cooking oil
  • A bit of water

For making filling

  • 400 g Split mung beans
  • 200 g Sugar
  • One Pandan leaf



  • Start by rinsing the split mug beans with tap water. Let them soak overnight in water.
  • The next day, drain the water and steam the split mung beans with pandan leaf on top for about 30 minutes or until soft.
  • When it is soft and fluffy, switch off the heat and dispose the pandan leaf. Mash it with masher.
  • Bring the mashed mung beans on a wok or a big pan, add water and sugar in, slowly cook them with medium low heat. Keep stirring it with spatula to prevent burned.
  • Cook until thicken and smooth. The filling is readied.


  • First peel the sweet potato and roughly cut them into pieces. Steam it in a steamer until soft.
  • When its soft, mash it with masher and set it aside for now.
  • Next, blend the ramie leaf until fine.
  • With about half cup of water, boil the blended ramie leaf for about 30 seconds.
  • Add coconut milk in and continue to cook it in medium low heat. Season with salt and sugar and cook for 5 minutes. Keep stirring with spatula to prevent burned.
  • Remove from heat and let it cool a little. Now pour 300g of gluten flour into a mixing bowl. Add the mashed sweet potato in and mix them well with hands.
  • Add the cooked ramie leaf liquid in and mix them with hands until it forms into dough.
  • Give the dough a few knead. Add a teaspoon of oil in and some water if it is too dry. The dough should be roll able and easily form into ball without breaking.
  • When the dough is readied, cover with damp cloth.

Wrapping time

  • Before wrapping, prepare the banana leaf or grease paper. It would be placed on the bottom of the Oh Ku Kuih to prevent it sticking on the steamer. Cut them in slightly bigger size than the Oh Ku Kuih that we are about to make as it would expend during steaming.
  • Now bring the filling out and roll them into ball shape. Slightly smaller than ping pong ball.
  • Now the wrapping. Get a portion of the dough and roll then into a ball shape as well. It should be slightly bigger than a ping pong ball.
  • Flatten it with hand on your palm and place the filling on middle.
  • Wrap it up and gently roll it into ball and coat it with a bit of cooking oil.
  • Place it on the ang ku kuih mould which has been greased with some cooking oil and gently press it down with your hand.
  • Place a cut banana leaf or grease paper on the table top, turn the mould upside down and smack it on top of the leaf. The oh ku kuih would drop from the mould onto the banana leaf or grease paper.
  • Repeat step 3 to 8 for the remaining. Remember to cover the oh ku kuih with damp cloth to prevent it from turning dry and hard.

Final step, steaming.

  • Now the final step, steam the oh ku kuih in a steamer for about 10-15 minutes.
  • When its readied, let it cool for a few minutes in room temperature.
  • When it is not hot to the touch, trim the banana leaf or grease paper and we are done.
Keyword nyonya oh ku kuih, oh ku kuih

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