Couple maintains traditional way of making 'kuih bakul'

Ngan and his wife have been making 'kuih bakul'since more than 40 years ago. — Bernama pic
Ngan and his wife have been making 'kuih bakul'since more than 40 years ago. — Bernama pic

ALOR STAR, Feb 8 — With the advent in technology, most people will resort to modern ways  in doing their daily chores, as well as cooking, but Ngan Chee Chong, 68, and wife, Chan Chu Chu, 60,  still maintain their traditional way of making “tie kuih”, commonly known as “kuih bakul”.

The couple’s “kuih bakul”, a must-have delicacy for the Chinese New Year celebration, is much sought after by the Chinese community because of its taste, which is unlike those sold in supermarkets.

Ngan and his wife have been making “kuih bakul” since more than 40 years ago and they still maintain the use of banana leaf, instead of plastic sheet, to line the mould used to make the delicacy.

Using banana leaf  gives the kuih bakul a certain aroma, as well as healthier, tastes better and lasts longer, said Ngan who operates from his house here.

Making kuih bakul involved using rice flour, flour and sugar which are then mixed to form a batter and then steamed for several hours until the cake has a nice brown colour.

“We still use the traditional stove using wood to steam the kuih bakul, and what makes our kuih bakul special is because it is steamed for more than 20 hours,” he said.

Chan said there were certain taboo which had to be observed when making the delicacy.

“Those involve in making kuih bakul should be hygienic, while women having their menstrual cycle are forbidden from doing so. Otherwise, the kuih bakul will not be well-cooked,” he added.

For the Chinese New Year celebration, the couple normally makes more than 5,000 kuih bakul, which they sell for RM20 each.

“Our customers come to the house to buy the kuih bakul because we don’t sell them outside,” he said.

One of Chan’s regular customer is Lum Chee Chuan, 57, who said the kuih bakul prepared by Chan was a must-have delicacy at his house for the Chinese New Year celebration.

“The kuih bakul has a nice colour and is tasty,” he added. — Bernama