Golden Tapioca Parcels

Dessert December 4th, 2008

I was told that during World War II, tapioca was a staple diet in Malaya and helped to feed many families at that time. It is no more a staple diet now but tapioca (or “ubi kayu” as what it is known in Malay) remains a favourite snack for tea time. It can be steamed and eaten by dipping it into gula melaka or plain sugar. The adventurous might try honey instead. However, it is more common for it to be found sold in markets in the form of a yellow-tint cake. Not the cake as in cheesecake but more a local delicacy.

The yellow-tint comes naturally from the yellow flesh variety of the tapioca. Unlike the white coloured variety, the yellow flesh variety is harder to find. Grab them from the market if you are able to find them. I suspect the market vendors have taken big orders from the kuih vendors knowing that the yellow fleshed tapioca is in high demand. On its own, the tapioca is pretty much tasteless. It is also odourless and hence, you have to add flavouring to it when cooking.

The tapioca kuih or kuih ubi kayu or “chiu cze kuih” (in hokkien) is one of my favourites when I am in the mood to eat kuihs. I never knew how they were made until mum started making them recently, and regularly. So, there’s a good supply of tapioca kuih at home. I thought it must have taken lots of preparation or work but was I surprised when I found out how easy this kuih is to make. Truly, I don’t see anyone having any difficulty making this good looking tapioca parcels at home, save and except maybe trying to perfect it in texture and taste.

This is mum’s recipe for Golden Tapioca Parcels


  • 500 grammes yellow-fleshed tapioca (finely grated)
  • 5 to 7 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
  • some water or coconut milk
  • banana leaves (cut into A4 size)


Clean and steam banana leaves for 1 minute or until it is slightly softened which allows you to fold it without breaking. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Grate the tapioca into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and mix well.

Sprinkle some water or coconut milk and continue mixing and kneading until the tapioca forms a dough which you can shape out. Do not add too much water till it becomes runny.

Place banana leave on the table and add 2 tablespoons of tapioca mixture in the centre. Flatten the mixture a little before folding the banana leaf over it to make a parcel. Repeat with the rest of the tapioca mixture.

Bring water to boil in a steamer. Then place tapioca parcels in the steamer and steam for 25 minutes on high heat. Thereafter, turn off the heat and allow tapioca parcels to stand (remain in the steamer) for 10 minutes before serving.

If you don’t have banana leaves, simply place mixture in a baking tin and steam. After steaming, you can choose to place it under a grill to give the upper layer a slightly baked texture.

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  1. 1
    December 5th, 2008 at 3:10 am

    wow love the color of that!

  2. 2
    December 5th, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Love this … I like to dip it in lots of white sugar =D

  3. 3
    December 5th, 2008 at 11:11 am

    lovely… and so yummy… I love tapioca too.

  4. 4
    December 5th, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Wow…it look delicious…i ll be there..huhu

  5. 5
    December 7th, 2008 at 4:46 am

    This is very delicious! The banana leaves give really good fragrant to it đŸ™‚

  6. 6
    Jun, IndoChine Kitchen
    December 7th, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    This looks like something we have here, but I think it is always served with freshly grated coconut meat.

    I will have to try this and let you know how it goes.

  7. 7
    December 9th, 2008 at 12:21 am

    Oh that looks so good. Im dying for some myself. I love ubi kayu. đŸ˜‰

  8. 8
    December 9th, 2008 at 11:44 am

    hmm hvnt eaten wrapped in parcels like this, so far only eaten the kuih version. sounds great!

  9. 9
    Penang Tionghua
    December 14th, 2008 at 4:46 am

    There are excellent Nyonya Kuih at the Cecil Street and Batu Lancang Hawker Centres.

    When a small boy, I used to partake Nyonya Kuih sold by an Indian guy at night in Wembley Park (Choon Man Hooi) on the 5-foot way of the shop now selling King’s Safety Shoes, facing the present Traders Hotel. Assam Laksa was also sold. There were no other Nyonya Kuih peddlar at that time, more than 50 years ago.

    A now defunct wholesale shop was at the corner of Trang Road/Kampung Jawa, facing the Eastern Smelting Company.

    Today, an excellent Nyonya Kuih outlet for occasions such as marriage is No. 32 New Lane, opposite the Sunway Hotel. There is no signboard. The business was there for more than 35 years.

  10. 10
    December 18th, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    This kuih is my favourite! Like babe_kl, I haven’t tried the banana wrap version. Sounds interesting!

  11. 11
    December 18th, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Nice traditional cuisine! we called it hinompuka (kadazan) and bintanok (Dusun) here in Sabah. Loves it!

  12. 12
    March 20th, 2009 at 9:01 am

    hmmm…yummy i like it very much. This is my favorite kuih but don’t make it too sweet.
    Lastly, another favorite is Bingka Ubi.

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  13. 13
    My Taste Heaven
    March 21st, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    This is simply ….Yummy!!! I also love all the kuih. Ever found a stall in a shopping mall in Taipei selling our nyonya kuih there, feel very proud of ‘our kuih”

  14. 14
    December 24th, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Hi there, thanks for sharing your priceless recipe with me… I have been trying to get the right portion of water and technique for egg custard and alas, I saw it on your blog. Will try it out.

  15. 15
    February 1st, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Hi, I luv all sorts of tapioca kuihs – Getok Ubi, Tapioca Slices, Bingka Ubi, Talam Ubi etc and this particular kuih is called Belabat Ubi. My favourite. My mum used to make this for afternoon tea. Her version contains grated coconut and she uses red sugar. I have tried it with Gula melaka as well – delicious! You can use the same dough and cook it as a pancake too.

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