Kuih Kaswi Malaysia: A Sticky Sweet Delight That Will Leave You Wanting More

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Malaysia is a country renowned for its diverse culinary heritage, which includes a wide array of delectable traditional desserts. Among the many delicious treats is the Kuih Kaswi, a popular Malay dessert that holds a special place in the hearts of Malaysians. In this article, we will explore the origins, ingredients, preparation, and cultural significance of Kuih Kaswi.

Origins and History

Kuih Kaswi has a rich history that dates back centuries in Malaysia. Its exact origins are uncertain, but it is believed to have been influenced by Malay, Indonesian, and Indian culinary traditions. Over time, it has become an integral part of Malay cuisine and is commonly enjoyed during festive occasions such as Hari Raya Aidilfitri and weddings.

Steamed palm sugar tapioca cakes, sweet and chewy Malaysian delicacy.
Source: www.rasa.my


The ingredients used in Kuih Kaswi are simple and readily available. The key components include glutinous rice flour, palm sugar (also known as gula Melaka), water, and pandan leaves. Glutinous rice flour gives the dessert its distinctive chewy texture, while palm sugar adds a delightful sweetness. Pandan leaves are used to infuse the dessert with a fragrant aroma.


To make Kuih Kaswi, the first step involves preparing the batter. Glutinous rice flour is mixed with water to create a smooth consistency. The mixture is then strained to remove any lumps. Pandan leaves are often added to the batter to impart a natural green colour and a subtle fragrance. The batter is then steamed for a short period to cook it partially.

Next, the partially cooked batter is removed from the steamer, and gula Melaka is sprinkled over the surface. The dessert is then returned to the steamer for further cooking. As the heat permeates the Kuih Kaswi, the palm sugar melts and infuses the dessert with its rich, caramel-like flavour. This unique cooking method results in a two-layered dessert with a sweet, gooey bottom and a soft, chewy top.

Gula Merah Kuih Kaswi, a delectable Malaysian dessert with soft, sweet tapioca cakes soaked in rich palm sugar syrup.
Source: myresepi.com

Cultural Significance

Kuih Kaswi holds great cultural significance in Malaysia. It is often served during religious and cultural celebrations, symbolizing unity and togetherness. The act of sharing and enjoying Kuih Kaswi with family and friends strengthens the bonds of community and fosters a sense of belonging. The dessert also represents the diversity of Malaysian cuisine, blending flavours and techniques from different cultural influences.

Variations and Innovations

While the traditional Kuih Kaswi recipe remains popular, there have been various creative variations and innovations introduced over the years. Some bakers experiment with additional ingredients such as grated coconut, corn, or even durian to create unique flavours and textures. These innovative twists add a modern touch to the traditional dessert and cater to diverse palates.


Kuih Kaswi is a beloved Malaysian dessert that showcases the rich culinary heritage of the country. Its simple yet tantalizing flavours, combined with its cultural significance, make it a delightful treat that brings people together. Whether enjoyed during festive occasions or as an everyday indulgence, Kuih Kaswi continues to be cherished by Malaysians and remains an integral part of the country’s culinary identity. So, if you ever have the chance to taste this traditional delight, be prepared to experience a burst of flavours that will leave you craving more.

Article curated by Lavanyah Magenthiran