Mugwort Herbal Or-ku Kueh - 艾草

Someone asked me to make this Or-Ku kueh for her cos she said she had not eaten it for more than forty years. This kueh was salty unlike the sweet angku and was orginally eaten by the 'chow an' ethic chinese people. The hakka called the herbs " ngea" or "ants".. The mugworts leaves were supposed to expel wind especially in women.
This was my first time making this kueh. The pungent taste of the mugworts leaves was very strong. I think I must have used too much of the leaves.
This time I used salty mung beans as filling and I still had not get used to the mugwort leaves taste. Maybe next time if I should use "Chai Po" would be better.

Ingredients for Filling *
Alternative fillings see below

150g mung split beans
2 tbsp ginger juice.
1/2 tsp salt.
1 big piece of banana leaf, cut into oval shape (for lining the black Or-Ku)

To do filling:
1. Soak mung beans for 2hrs, wash until water run clear, steam the beans for 20-30 mins till soft. Mash the beans (either with fork or use rolling pin)
2. Heat a non-stick pan, add in all filling ingredients and stir till mixture is almost dry and leave aside to cool. Roll mug bean paste into small balls (20g)and set aside to be used as filling.

Alternative fillings using chai poh or preserved radish to kill off the pungent taste of mugwort leaves
100g minced chai poh, soaked to remove excess salt
100g minced pork

1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp pepper

1/4tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil

1) Mix the marinade with the pork and leave in the fridge for one hour.
2) Heat a work with a little oil and saute chai poh till fragrant, then add the minced pork and seasonings. Drizzle in a little water and stir fry well. Dish up and cool.

Ingredients for skin...
50g rice flour
210ml hot boil water
3 1/2 tbsp oil
300g glutinous rice flour.
1 tsp mugwort paste
few drops of brown coloring mixed into paste.

To make mugwort paste
180- 200ml water plus 1 cup of compressed mugwort leaves and blend into a paste or pound/grind a few pieces of mugwort leaves.

To do skin:
1. Cook rice flour with hot boiled water till thick. Stirred in 3 1/2 tbsp oil. Set aside and let cool
2. Mix and knead all the ingredients together into a pliable dough. Divide dough into small portions (about 30g each, depends on the size of your mould.)
3. Wrap in fillings and mould it out.
4. Place the kueh on a lightly lined piece of greased banana leaf..
5. Steam on high heat for 3-5 minutes. Greased some oil on the surface and serve.

P/S On the next day, I tried again using Chai Por and also reduced the amount of mugwort leaves used. The Kueh turned out Perfect and indeed the pungent taste was not there!. The taste was also great, even better than the sweet Angkoo .

For more info please also visit my website Mugwort Herbal or-ku kueh

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