My laksa seafood kueh salat

On my Instagram feed, I have been sharing images of some of the canapes that I had designed for a recent luxury event — the launch event for the Singapore instalment of the Hermès Carré Club. I didn’t have a good picture of one of them, my modernist version of the Teochew oyster omelet, but I did have good pix of my Hae Mee Uni Jelly and my Oxtail Taiyaki. Another canape that I designed, and based on how quickly we had to replenish the trays during the event, proved to be very popular, was this spicy, savoury play on Nyonya kueh.

For the event, I (and the other chefs) had been asked to present local flavours and dishes in fun, unconventional ways. One of the immediate things I came up with was the idea of presenting savoury snacks in shapes and styles that you would normally associate with sweet things. Hence the idea of a gold-dusted jelly (that actually in the dim lighting some people thought were chocolate truffles); a taiyaki, which is usually stuffed with a sweet filling; and a Nyonya dessert.

When I got around to properly testing recipes, this idea of a spicy savoury Nyonya kueh was the second dish I tried out. The first, sadly, was a complete disaster. I attempted to create a rainbow-coloured kueh lapis with each layer made from a different vegetable juice. While everything looked okay as I was assembling it (and boy was that time-consuming), when I unmolded the dish, things went south. Not immediately though. For a good four or five seconds, the jelly sort of held firm. But then it collapsed in an oozy mess. When I was describing the result to a friend later that week, I remember lamenting and angrily calling it “unicorn diarrhoea” (sorry, that was probably a little too graphic).

Fortunately, however, the kueh salat worked very well. I tested it on the superwife and a few friends and people really liked it. One said it tasted like nasi lemak, because of the coconut milk infused rice and the steamed seafood mousse, which reminded her of otah. It was good enough, I thought, to add to the canape list, and indeed, as told to me by the wait staff, it proved quite popular.

I’ve also found that this is a nice dish because you can make it a number of hours ahead of time, keep it at room temperature and eat it as is, or heat it up a little under a heat lamp or salamander.

The recipe is below. Please feel free to tweak this to your own tastes. Happy cooking.


About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his three kids!