Listen to that crunch! Sinfully good Kuih Cakar Ayam

Kuih Cakar Ayam looks and tastes so good.

Kuih Cakar Ayam is a traditional Malaysian delicacy. It is so named because the finished product looks pretty much like the scratch marks of a chicken (cakar ayam) left to its own devices.

Here are a few interesting facts about Kuih Cakar Ayam:

  • It only requires three basic ingredients.
  • The ingredients are super cheap.
  • Making it is super easy.

Making Kuih Cakar Ayam is also all about the ratio – so pay attention.


  • 2 cups yam, finely grated
  • 4 tbsp sugar (read the sugar options below)
  • Cooking oil

Necessary equipment

  • Circular/round moulds, preferably made of heat-proof plastic, of about 3cm to 4cm in diameter
  • Slotted ladle or strainer ladle for frying

Types of sugar

Different types of sugar produces different results. Here are the expected results according to the type of sugar used.

  • White sugar – The easiest sugar to use because it is common.
  • Jaggery (gula merah) – Sugar takes a while to melt and becomes somewhat clumpy.
  • Brown sugar – It’s crispy with a nice caramel flavour.
  • Coconut sugar (gula melaka) – The end result will completely blow-your-mind. It’s incredibly crispy and has a lovely burnt caramel flavour.
(L-R): Top – white sugar, jaggery, Bottom – brown sugar, coconut sugar.


  • Peel and rinse the yams,
  • Using the smallest hole on the box grater, grate yam finely into strings. Do not use a microplane box grater as the holes are too small.
  • In a medium-sized pot, heat oil enough to drown the yams.
  • If you see bubbles in the pot, the oil is ready for frying.
The oil is ready when it starts to bubble.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of sugar into the pot and stir until the sugar melts and looks like brown sludge.
Sugar is ready when it looks like sludge – like a science experiment!
  • Add 1 cup of grated yam. Fry and stir the yam continuously until it’s golden brown.
Expect oil to splash when yam goes in because of its water content.
The yam is ready when it turns golden brown.
  • Remove fried yam, quickly tossing excess oil and transfer yam to the first tray.
Fried yam, fresh out of the pot.

Shaping the cookies

  • Quickly scoop a spoonful of yam into the mould, pressing it down using slight pressure to compact and shape the yam. Do not press too much as this will make cookies too hard.
Metal moulds are great but it can get very hot.
  • Once compacted, press out the shaped cookies onto a kitchen paper-lined tray to cool and absorb excess oil.
  • Repeat the process.
  • Let cookies cool before storing in an airtight container.

Extra tips:

  • Use yam (any colour is fine) instead of sweet potatoes.
  • Work quickly or the sugar will cool and solidify the mess of fried yam into a big lump.

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