Chinese New Year Food: Ang Koo

A symbol of longevity, luck and prosperity, Ang Koo is another food that features in Chinese festivals and celebrations.

Ang ku

For Pai Ti Kong, in addition to the popular tortoise-shell-shaped Ang Koo, we also need to prepare twelve pieces each in two other shapes (shown below) – spherical and an elongated form. Why 12? One for each month of the year. Since the Year of the Horse was a leap year with thirteen months, we had to prepare thirteen of each this year.

Ang ku Ang ku

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1kg mung beans / green beans / split peas
  • 4 pandan leaves
  • 750g sugar
  • 3/4 cup water


  • Soak beans overnight. Drain water. Steam for 45 minutes. Mash the beans and set aside.
  • In a wok, bring the water to the boil. Add pandan leaves and sugar. Stir over low heat until the sugar turns into a syrup. Add the mashed beans and continue stirring until the mixture is almost dry. Remove the pandan leaves. Divide the bean paste into golf-ball size spheres. Set aside.

Ingredients for pastry:

  • 600g glutinous rice flour
  • 180g sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn oil
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling hot water
  • orange colouring
  • banana leaves cut to make a base for each “cake”

You will require one of those special wooden moulds to make this.


  • Mix water, colouring and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves.
  • In a bowl, pour rice flour. Make a well in the center and add water mixture and oil. Knead until the colour is even and the dough appears glossy.
  • Divide the dough into golf-ball size quantities.
  • Dust the wooden mould with some rice flour.
  • Wrap the bean paste with the dough and press into the dusted wooden mould. Up-end the mould and tap gently to remove the dough. Place on a piece of oiled banana leaf and brush the surface with oil. Set aside for steaming. Repeat until all the mixtures are finished.
  • Steam for 20 minutes.

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