Tuesday, April 10, 2012

They Come Wrapped in Leaves

While we have various Western cakes made of flour, sugar and butter, our local cakes of varying culture breeds incorporate their very own resources and hold a history back to the past.
Most of the local Malaysian kueh; which are bite or snack-sized cakes, come from a diversity of cultural backgrounds and each of the race and ethnicity living in this country has their very own culinary delights to offer and they just blended in harmony with each other.

Many of the kueh came from their origins from the mix of the culture; particularly the Peranakan which was a mix between the Malay and Chinese from the foreign settlement in the straits in history. This gave birth to the introduction of the breed of both unique culinary delights to form what we see in the many varieties of food we have here today; making the country Malaysia a world-famous food paradise.

What is there more to say, when we have so much to choose from for a simple meal of breakfast, or lunch, or dinner? There is no wonder that Malaysians are often found enjoying a drink or a snack at any time of the day; and it is true, if you are a tourist traveling to Malaysia, you will be amazed to see the many stalls open at all odd hours and it is like the people never stop eating!

Alright, back to the kueh, I have introduced many different local kueh/cakes in my many posts previously and today, I have a list of kueh which I have had the chance to learn about them recently as I visit a relative's house after the Qing Ming festival in the previous post.
These kueh/cakes, are unique in their own ways as they come wrapped in their leaves.

Yes, banana leaves or lotus leaves are usually favorites or preferred wrappers for the cakes due to its natural fragrant aroma emitted which gives an additional appetizing flavor to the cakes.

Kuih Kochi (or Koci) is a traditional Malay kueh/cake which is made of glutinous rice and is rather sticky in its form.
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The color of the cake is usually dark or dull; or sometimes white (recent variant) on the outside, but inside is stuffed with a sweet filling of grated coconut with brown sugar.
This version of the cake; even scattered a little of the filling to fill the surface of the cake.
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This traditional Kueh is rather popular in states along the East Coast of Malaysia; but can also be found around the country and in our neighboring countries like Singapore and Indonesia.
The older community passed down this sweet delight, but sadly, it is no longer found in abundance as in the past although there are many recipes out there in the cyber world sharing the way to make this cake.
It is also unique that this cake is known as a Passover cake; or a type of dumpling among the foreigners in the country and is often seen at funerals. The dark color of the kueh symbolizes the solemnity of death while the sweet filling offers hope of resurrection.
Image Hosted by PicturePush - Photo Sharing As mentioned, the cake is popular from its origin and though for many reasons it is consumed, it still remains a delightful snack for many especially when spotted at roadside stalls/carts selling traditional cakes.
In fact, there is poetic song/saying from the East coast singing praises for this cake whereby it describes the simplicity and sweetness of the cake which makes it a suitable snack for the toothless elders.
"Ada sejenis kuih tiga segi.... Di luar tepung di dalamnya inti... Makanan orang tiada bergigi..."

The following cake is probably an adaptation from the famous Vietnamese Banh Tet; or a type of sticky rice cake originating from Vietnam and is highly popular in the country including Thailand and Cambodia.
It is rarely found here; although it can also be an innovative twist of flavor to our local cakes.
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Whatever it is, this is a sticky rice; probably made of sticky glutinous rice again and wrapped in banana leaves.
Like most of the local cakes, what differentiates each of their type is the filling and the flavor inside the cake and this is creatively made into three small mounds and tied in two parts to create the three small partitioned mounds.

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The filling of the cake is sweet banana; cut into large slices and stuffed into the sticky rice.
A rather unique type of cake, I must say.

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The Bak Chang; or the glutinous rice dumpling is a common type of dumpling found among the Chinese community as it originates from China.
Contrary to its sweet dessert-like dumpling counterparts above, the Bak Chang is one that is filled with pork or chicken meat, and the glutinous rice is fried with condiments like nuts, mushrooms till it is brown and fragrant.
The dumpling is then wrapped with lotus leaves; to add to the aroma of the taste of the glutinous rice and meat.
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The dumpling can be found in stalls around Malaysia, but it is extremely popular during the fifth month of the Lunar calendar when the Chinese community celebrates the double fifth festival; known as the Duan Wu Jie or the Dumpling Festival/Dragon Boat Festival which falls on the fifth day of the fifth month in the Chinese Lunar calendar.
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I have posted on this Bak Chang before, but expect to see more details of this dumpling when the festival comes again:)

Salty, sweet, and the different filling in the cakes just creates the whole new varieties of local delights available in the country, and how can Malaysians ever tire of eating when the list of food is just endless?


  1. Oh! I love the glutinous rice wrapped in leaves...all versions :)
    Hope you are having a great week Christy.
    Hope you are having a great week!

  2. Heh, it looks so cute when you take off the leaves - like a little white sausage :D

  3. Sticky rice of any kind - I love it!

  4. Juliana, LOL, I hope I didn't make you hungry:p
    You enjoy your week too, yeah!;)

  5. Charles, hahaha, now that you mentioned it..you made me chuckle:p

  6. The Yum List, oooh, you are a sticky rice fan?;)