Kueh Siput, Addictive Nibbles Named After Sea Snails

For more kick, deep-fry extra curry leaves to toss with the kueh siput. In place of a siput board, use any similar corrugated tool – a fork, a comb, a gnocchi board.

Kueh Siput

(Makes about 400g of kueh siput)

10g haebee

30g rice flour

20g cornstarch

2 teaspoons chilli powder

3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds

3/4 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

130g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

10g fresh curry leaves, stalks removed

40g very cold butter, diced

50g beaten egg

30g coconut cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pulse-blend haebee with rice flour, cornstarch and all dry spices in a food processor or blender until shrimp are very finely ground. Add plain flour, baking powder, sugar and curry leaves and pulse again until leaves are coarsely ground. Lastly, add butter and pulse-blend until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Transfer to a bowl.

Whisk egg, coconut cream and salt together until smooth, then stir into dry ingredients to make a firm but malleable dough. Add a few drops of water if needed to help it bind. Wrap or cover dough tightly and rest it at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Pinch off and roll chickpea-sized balls of dough, about 3g each. Press each ball flat against a siput board (acuan siput) or a fork, then simultaneously roll it up and peel it off the press, to obtain a grooved saddle / cylinder shape.

Heat oil in a wok or pan over medium heat. When a dipped-in toothpick tip sizzles gently, carefully slip siput into the oil – they will expand a bit, so fry them in batches as needed. Adjust heat to maintain a steady but not violent sizzle. Fry, stirring frequently, for 10 to 13 minutes, until siput are red-golden. They darken as they cool, so scoop them out just before they look dark enough.

Drain kueh siput in a metal sieve for a few minutes, then transfer to paper towels to finish draining. Slightly soft when hot, they turn crunchy as they cool. Once cool, store in an airtight container, with desiccant sachets to keep them crunchy.

Christopher Tan


Christopher Tan (www.foodfella.com) is a Singapore-based award-winning writer, instructor and photographer whose articles, columns, recipes and photographs have appeared in Singapore’s Straits Times, America’s Saveur magazine, and many other publications. He has given talks and cooking demos at schools, museums and food festivals in Singapore, Sydney, California and Paris, and has authored many books, most recently NerdBaker, a memoir-cum-baking book, and The Way of Kueh, a love letter to Singaporean kueh culture. He loves making meaning with words, images and food.

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