I am convinced that this is the best cookie ever. It might have something to do with the fact that it’s deep fried. I’ve sat down with a tin of them once (okay, maybe twice) and before I knew it, they were all gone. Which is why I had to make three batches before I got around to taking the photo that you see above.
As part of my Chinese New Year cooking up a storm, I made acimuruku. I never even knew it was a Chinese New Year biscuit, as we traditionally have it around November for Deepavali. It could be that it’s part of a the general festive cookies that get made for every occasion, as I’ve seen it during Hari Raya too.
It surprised me to learn that what I thought was Malaysian kuih ros actually has it’s origins in rosette cookies from Scandinavia. Despite my best efforts researching, I can’t find historical evidence of where the Malaysian version originates from. I can only surmise that we got it from Indian immigrants who know it as achappam, as it’s known in Kerala. It’s made around Christmastime there, and I’m going to hazard a guess that it was brought to Kerala during the Dutch occupation and that over time, local ingredients were substituted – rice flour for wheat flour, and coconut milk for cow’s milk.
I know them as acimuruku – but they’re also known as kuih rose because of the rose shape, kuih goyang because you have to shake the mold to get the batter out and kuih loyang because it’s made in a brass mold.
Oh yeah, there’s a catch to making this cookie – you need a special mold. Which probably means that those of you who don’t have it will tune out right now (sorry!) but if it’s any consolation you can find them on eBay as ‘rosette moulds’. Or, if you ask nicely, I will bring some back when I next go to Malaysia.
This recipe is very close to my heart because it’s my grandmother’s, which means it’s the best. (Actually, it’s slightly adapted from my grandmother’s because it’s impossible to get fresh coconut milk here). The batter should be quite thin, and to get a really crunchy biscuit, it should be made up of mostly rice flour with a bit of wheat flour to help hold it’s shape. The finished cookie should be translucent in places when you hold it up to the light.
Making acimuruku is not easy. They have to be made individually, the mold dipped in batter, then in hot oil, the mold removed and the cookie drained. As Billy says, “unless you have a little helper standing next to you ready to fetch the cookie out of the hot oil, if not then you will need full agility with great multi tasking skills to tackle it.”
makes approx 60
150g rice flour
50g plain flour
pinch of salt
200ml coconut milk (not cream)
oil to fry, rice bran or vegetable
- Preheat your oil in a wok, or deep fryer. If using a deep fryer, heat to 180C to 190C.
- Sieve rice flour and plain flour into a bowl. I don’t often ask fr things to be sieved – but not sieving it means you run the risk of small clumps of flour in your final batter. Add sugar and salt, then stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the coconut milk, water and egg.
- Make a well in the dry mixture and pour in all of the egg mixture. Whisk from the centre, slowly incorporating the dry ingredients. The batter should be quite thin, about the consistency of crepe batter. It should form a thin stream from your whisk.
- Have some folded kitchen paper set on a saucer to help remove excess oil from the mold.
- Preheat the brass mold in the hot oil for about 2 minutes. If the mold isn’t hot enough the batter won’t set on it, and if it’s too hot, the batter will set too hard making it hard to remove.
- Remove the mold from the oil, then tap it on the kitchen paper. Place into the batter so that it comes almost up to the top edge, making sure not to cover the top of the mold. It should make a slight sizzling sound.
- Dip into hot oil, wait about 30 seconds for the batter to set into shape, then shake the mold gently to release the batter. You might need the help of a bamboo skewer to get the cookie off.
- Fry until golden brown, then drain on paper towels. It’s important that you drain it properly or the cookie will have an oily taste.
- Repeat with the rest of the batter, and make sure you only store then in containers when they’re completely cool.