Tag Archives: Nyonya

Nyonya Kueh – Tea Time (Or Any Other Time) Favourites

Nyonyas are famous for their kuehs. These are sought after as desserts for any meals, tea time, snack time, weddings and even funerals or wakes. When served at wakes and funerals, the bright colours such as red and yellow will be replaced with a more sombre blue colour, usually derived naturally from “bunga telang” or Butterfly Pea Flower.

As memory might fail me one day down the road, am gonna compile a list of well-loved Nyonya kueh.

*Kueh Genggang*

Blue variety made with “Bunga Telang”.

A good kueh genggang has layers that you can peel one by one. It’s creamy flavour comes from the “santan” or coconut milk, flavoured with “pandan” (screwpine leaves). Some people call this “Kuih Lapis” but not to be confused with the Indonesian Kuih Lapis. Both are layer cakes but the Nyonya variety is steamed layer by layer, while the Indonesian version is baked.

*Ondeh-ondeh*

Lovely, explode-in-your-mouth Ondeh-Ondeh. Photo credits: Debbie Teoh

One of the few that I like as it practically explodes in your mouth with “Gula Melaka” (palm sugar), leaving you in Gula Melaka ecstacy. The white bits covering the pandan green balls are grated coconut flesh. Totally love this with lotsa grated coconut. This is also known as “Buah Melaka.” 

Good Ondeh-ondeh is soft and slightly chewy and the Gula Melaka must be liquefied and has almost like a caramel like taste.

*Kueh Kochi*

Left: Kueh Kochi Putih | Top right: Kueh Kochi Pulut Hitam | Bottom right: Kueh Kochi Pandan Photo credits: candyworldofkitchen.blogspot.com and kwgls.wordpress.com
Beautifully wrapped Kueh Kochi. Photo credits: Debbie Teoh

There are 3 types of Kueh Kochi – the white, the green and the black. The white and green (pandan flavoured) variety are the 2 commonly seen ones while the black skinned one is Kueh Kochi Pulut Hitam (My fav! Yums!!) is less common as the skinned is made from black glutinous rice. The skin should be soft and slightly chewy with the consistency almost like melted mozzarella. The filling is desiccated coconut cooked with “Gula Melaka” and should be moist and. It’s wrapped in banana leaf, giving it an extra lovely aroma. 

*Pulut Seri Kaya*

Beautiful yellow Seri Kaya on the top and “pulut tekan” Loosely translated “compressed glutinious rice”) with “Bunga Telang”. Photo credits: http://janechew.blogspot.my/
Love the blue hues of the “Bunga Telang”. Photo credits: Debbie Teoh

This is has a layer of “kaya” (egg and coconut jam) on the top and “pulut” (steamed glutinous rice) at the bottom. A nice combination of textures and flavours – smooth, creamy “kaya” with soft, chewy slightly saltish “pulut”. Some people may call this “Seri Muka.” I love those traditional Pulut Seri Kaya with pretty blue “Bunga Telang” decorating the pulut.

So pretty! My grandma would approve and say, “Senonoh skali!” which means that it is made beautifully. Nyonyas are known to be particular about how a dish or kueh should look like. Photo credits: Debbie Teoh

*Lepat Kacang*

Love this since I was a kid. Must be my grandma’s influence! 🙂
The combo of desiccated coconut, pulut and black-eyed peas is out of this world! Photo credits: letztravel.blogspot.com

This almost forgotten kueh is made from pulut, grated coconut and black-eyed peas, wrapped in “daun nipah.” The aroma from the leave lends this traditional kueh its flavour. It mainly sweet, coconut-y from the grated coconuts, with a slight hint of saltiness. I love how the slightly mushy peas complements the grated coconut’s creaminess and the slight saltiness of the steamed glutinous rice. One of my favs but pity it’s not easily available in my area. But then again, could be a blessing in disguise that I can’t get it here or I will be eating this all the time. 😀

*Pulut Inti*

This looks like little Nasi Lemak packets. But when you open it, it has grated coconut cooked in “Gula Melaka” on top of blue and white steamed pulut. The fragrance from this kueh comes not only from the coconut and “Gula Melaka” but also from the banana leaf it is wrapped in. Somehow everything with banana leaf tastes and smells good! A good inti is one that is not overpoweringly sweet but has a nice coating of Gula Melaka making the inti somewhat moist, fragrant and sweet.

Can Pulut Inti get any prettier than this? Photo credits: Debbie Teoh
Beautifully done with “Bunga Telang” and a generous amount of “inti” which means “filling”. Droolworthy! Photo credits: Debbie Teoh

*Kueh Talam*

This is one of my top favs as it has both sweet and salty layers. The top layer is the white salty layer while the bottom layer is a fragrant sweet kaya layer. My perfect Kueh Talam should have an equal portion of salty, “lemak”white top layer and a beautiful pandan-scented sweet green bottom layer. It should be soft but not mushy.

Salty + Sweet = Divine!! Photo credits: Debbie Teoh

*Apom Bokwa*

This kueh gets my vote for the kueh with the funniest name. Bokwa is actually the equivalent of the Malay word “berkuah” (loosely translated as “with gravy”)”Apom” or also called “

“Apom” or also called “apam”, is similar to the Indian version of “apam”. Like its Indian cousin, the Nyonya’s “apom” has its signature blue streaks of “Bunga Telang”. The “apom” is made from fermented rice batter, traditionally made with coconut water left to ferment mixed with rice flour, to create that fluffy “apom” texture. A good “apom” will not have a smooth surface but one with many little holes and the cross section of the kueh should look like a honeycomb.

This unique disc-like kueh that is best eaten with its “kuah” (gravy-like dip) that’s made of “Gula Melaka”, bananas, “santan” (coconut milk) and “aromatised” with fresh pandan leaves. I know many Nyonyas prefer to use “Pisang Emas” or “Pisang Raja” to make the kuah as these 2 types of bananas are known to be very sweet and “wangi” (fragrant).

See the pretty blue patterns on the top? The bottom part should have beautiful golden brown patterns. Photo credits: Debbie Teoh
The accompanying dip can make or break this kueh. It must have a natural banana flavour and aroma that complements the pandan and Gula Melaka. Photo credits: Debbie Teoh

I think I’ll stop here for now or my keyboard will be flooded with drool. More on Nyonya kuehs in my next post. Till then, happy eating! 

Where to get these favourites?

*Baba Charlie*
72, Jalan Tengkera Pantai 2C
75200 Melaka
Business hours: 10:30pm – 3pm (closed on Thursdays)
Tel: 019-666 2907 / 06-284 7209

*Debbie Teoh* 
https://www.facebook.com/debbie.teoh
[Debbie takes orders and it is best that you contact her about 1 week ahead.]

Sambal Belacan 101

sambal-belacan

So, what’s a Sambal Queen blog without a post on sambal, right? Here’s my “Sambal Belacan for Dummies”.

What is Sambal Belacan?

Besides being my fav thing that I cannot live without, it is essentially a chilli paste made from fresh red chillies and roasted shrimp paste. There are several different versions of this all-time favourite. Cooking, like art, is pretty much subjective and largely depends on the cook’s interpretation of the dish.

The Sambal Belacan I learnt is a family recipe I learnt from the best Sambal Belacan maker in the whole wide world. (Ok, am allowed to be biased a bit, no?) This is my late grandmother’s recipe that has never failed me. It has just 3 ingredients – Fresh red chilies, roasted belacan (shrimp paste) and freshly squeezed lime juice. Oh yes, my grandma’s recipe also has a heart full of love.

When I became a vegetarian, one of the things I missed is good ol’ fashioned Sambal Belacan. After much experimentation with several vegetarian belacan powders, I finally found a real decent one that my mother-in-law found in Ipoh.

How to make Sambal Belacan?

If you ask any Nyonya for their recipes, they will tell you that they agakagak. This means that you will probably NOT get anywhere with Metric System in a Nyonya’s kitchen. This agakagak method of cooking comes from many years in the kitchen watching the veteran cooks at work and experimenting in our own kitchens. I am blessed to have been able to watch 3 great cooks at work – my late grandmother, my mum and my mother-in-law.

So, here’s my Sambal Belacan recipe.

Ingredients

  • Fresh red chilies
  • Vegetarian belacan powder
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Salt to taste (Optional)
red-chilli-1599323
Fresh red chillies

Method

  1. Wash the chillies clean and dry them.
  2. Fry the belacan powder over VERY low fire until fragrant. (Enjoy the lovely smells! :D) MUST keep stirring. Whatever you do, do not leave this unattended.
  3. Allow the fried belacan to cool.
  4. Put all the red chillies and belacan powder into a chopper/food processor or you can do the good ol’ fashioned way with a “lesung” (pestle and mortar).
  5. Pound until fine.
  6. Squeeze some lime juice over the sambal paste before serving.

 

Limau Nipis
“Limau Nipis” (Calamansi) 

Tips

  • Best lime to use is “limau nipis” (Calamansi) or “limau kasturi(lime). In a pinch, lemon works as well.
  • If it is too spicy, try adding a pinch of sugar to douse the heat a little. BUT if you are really a kindergarten chilli eater, best to remove the seeds before making your sambals.
  • When pounding the chillies using the “lesung”, the trick is to put one chilli at a time and some belacan to prevent the chilli from splattering on you. If the paste gets a little watery, add more belacan. Keep adding chillies and belacan alternatingly.
  • If you must use a food processor, please do not use those blenders that need water to be added to work. This is not recommended as you don’t want a runny sambal belacan.
Limau Kasturi (Lime)
“Limau Kasturi” (Lime)

 

About me

4th generation Nyonya. Born and bred in Melaka but not your typical docile feminine Nyonya. Copywriter. Mother. Unconventional aunty*. Vegetarian and vegan wannabe. Can’t live without sambal and chillies. Loves Bee Gees, Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi. Thinks that kindness should be a religion. Wishes for world peace.

*Aunty is a Malaysian word for greeting any woman who is older than one self, usually meant as a respectful honorific but sometimes used to describe an older married woman, who is quick to dispense her life’s wisdom (ie some people sees this as nagging! LOL) having lived a longer than the younger ones.

Welcome to my world of sambal, silliness and spirituality!

Hi!

Welcome to my little blog. You must be wondering… Why Sambal Queen? I have my workmate, Cynthia to thank for coming up with something so ME. You see, both Cynthia and I just LOVE spicy food. I cannot live without my daily dosage of chillies and count Sambal Belacan as one of my fav food.

My mum used to tell people that I started eating spicy food at the age of 2, when I sweated my way through a plate of rice with some Gerang Assam. (This is the Nyonya equivalent to Asam Pedas) Given that I grew up in a 100% Peranakan household where my grandparents and aunt all love spicy food, it’s no wonder I inherited their love for spicy food.

So, sit back, relax and enjoy my humble offerings. It is my sincere hope that this little blog of mine would benefit you in some way.