Thursday, January 15, 2009

Kuih Bakul: Things that last

Balamurali and a worker P. Amala checking the quality of the ‘nian gao’. About 4,000 pieces are
produced daily six weeks prior to the Chinese New Year.
| Pix - The Star

This Chinese New Year Cake is amazing. It's made of "pulut" or glutinous rice. If you chill it, it could last a whole century, after 20 fridges and and a couple of generations of family!

That's it! That's what the cake is all about! At least that's what I guess it to be all about.

Blogger, Sketches of Life can tell you how it's made, the complete process, of Kuih Bakul Tak Jadi!

Do referigerators nowadays last longer than 5 years? Once I had a fridge that cost me less than a ringgit a day! It worked for some 11 years. Someone should make a fridge called Kuih Bakul. It could then last us 2 economic crises!


peng said...

My good old Samsung fridge is about 13 years old and still giving enough 'chills' to keep the food fresh! Another kuih or cake that can keep for ages is the Christmas fruit cake laced with brandy. I still have some in my fridge, made by my cousin 5 years ago!

Salak said...

Oh wow! Can you keep it till I get there?! :))

peng said...

Yang mana? The fridge of the cake!

Salak said...

Err ... I'll take the cake, please ! :))

Jong said...

Give him the fridge too! :D

Talking about 'Kuih Bakul', I notice that every Malay I know talk about it whereas the younger generation of Chinese aren't that keen anymore. I know the usual way of cooking it is to fry thin pieces of kuih bakul sandwiched between slices of yam and sweet potato but I prefer the simplier version of having it steamed and rolled over fresh grated coconut with pinch of salt. Yummy indeed but calorie laden!
Who's talking, huh?!! :D

peng said...

How Salak? Jong says give you the fridge too! I don't mind getting a new fridge!

Jong, I like the kuih bakul served steamed and fried. You know there's a stall selling the fried version in Canning Garden, at the corner shop facing the football field. The kuih bakul and other goreng stuff are good. But now they have moved, to I don't know where?

Jong said...

The Chinese pisang goreng lady has moved over to "Hollywood", the other end of the row of shops.

Frankly I think her ubi, pisang and kuih bakul has too much coating of those crispy stuff. I prefer the plainer Malay way of frying - just flour and rice flour mix, this you can get from a stall by the lane beside 7-Eleven, along Jalan Canning Estate around lunch time.

peng said...

Jong, thanks for the info. Got to go and get my kuih bakul fix this weekend!

Salak, I am thinking of the saying, 'have the cake and eat it too'.
In this instance, you have the fridge and eat the cake too! :D

Salak said...

["Someone should make a fridge called Kuih Bakul. It could then last us 2 economic crises!"]

Yeah! :))

shrek said...

If you keep kueh bakul in the fridge it will become hard. Best kept at room temprature, cut and then prepared before being served.
If you fry in a batter, the batter will hold the gooey stuff. Yummy.

Jong, Malays know about kueh bakul as they were always given by the Chinese friends during CNY. Always look forward to getting the home made keuh which is better, tastier and less sweet. The store bought ones are not the same.

Strange for you to say the younger chinese don't know mch about kueh bakul Change in diet perhaps.

Another kueh is what the Malays call Kueh Chang, pulut with other ingredients wrapped in daun palas.Don't see much of these anymore.

Salak said...

Kuih Chang or Bak Chang is another nice leaf wrapped meal. I call it a meal for that's what it is. But they don't last longer than 48 hours depending on what's in it - mushrooms, chicken or beef!

It's the same kind as ketupat and pulut panggang! You get these almost anywhere in Malaysia.

Take your pick here lah -

Kuih Chang

Ketupat palas

Pulut panggang

Otak-otak KT

Jong said...


You sound like an expert and lover of kuih bakul! You got it spot on fren, the kuih bakul must be cut when it's slightly hardened, into thin slices then keep it in the fridge till required for frying or steaming. I remember once a friend was leaving for New Zealand came running, asked if I had some slices ket in fridge. Her sister in NZ and family were craving for kuih bakul for years! :D

You are also right that the commercial ones sold at supermarts are made from 'shortcut' recipes, not meant for eating but merely meant for the alter tables! You still need to to buy those with lined banana leaves sold by some home-makers, to get true taste of real kuih bakul.

Chinese believe placing the sweet kuih bakul as centre-piece deco in the living room or on the religious alter brings good tidings throughout the year. Yeah most young Chinese today find it troublesome to cook but prefer buy them off the pisang goreng stall(like Peng) which in most cases serve the inferior 'shortcut' kuih bakul. The taste simply aren't the same anymore. But frankly I'm not bothered since I prefer it steamed and rolled on fresh grated coconut(with dash of salt)minus the oil! :D

Kuih Changs are still around and easily available, that again depends on the makers' recipe.

shrek said...


You forgot the Good Luck message in red paper that is pasted on top of the kueh bakul when it's given out.

I'm chap choong, remember. my maternal grandmother was a chinese.

shrek said...

That little picture of the steamer looks more like a moonshine distill.

Jong said...

Oh, aren't we lucky, what a potporri we got here on this blog, colorful Malaysians!

Yeah, to the Chinese red always good luck, good tidings and success, so anything red is always welcomed!

Salak said...

[That little picture of the steamer looks more like a moonshine distill.]

I suppose you can beat some fine Nira-XP out of it! :))

Jong said...


Thanks for the pix.
Kueh Chang: I like the one without filling, just pulot soaked in kyle water then steamed. Once it's done, it must be kept in fridge to be eaten cold dipped in gula melaka with added santan. Real yummy! OnceI tried making it with dry curry chicken + sweet winter melon, they turned out superb!

Otak-Otak: Coming from Penang, our nonya otak-otak unlike those from the South, as in your pix - "Otak-Otak KT" which are packed thin and elongated and one hardly see the fish because they are grounded into paste together with the sambal. Penang's are squarely packed, has more volume and you can see and taste the fish. Of course I like the Penang style.

Pulot Panggang: We call that Rempah Udang in Penang, again shape is different.

Ketupat Palas: Just love eating it plain with a cup of strong black kopi-O!

Jong said...

One observation:

Otak-Otak Penang has daun kadok whereas the Southern Ota-Otak or Otak-Otak KT which Salak refers to, has none thus they taste different altogether.