Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nee's Museum (Updated)

Nee's kitchen is slowly turning into a museum.

You've seen her weapons of death & mass destruction before. And now she's collecting these.

You've guessed it right! This is the mould for making love letters or otherwise known as Kueh Sepit, for which I think there is no literal meaning in English except for sandwiched cake or clamped cake.

I've watched countless times how my grandma made kueh sepit in her old wooden house. She would pour the mix into the mould, clamp it tight, & then place it over the charcoal stove, while fanning the fire.

The best part would be when the mix would spill out from the sides of the mould & sort of harden into a rubbery like subtance, and she'd scrap them off. Then you can finally understand why the grandchildren were cowering around grandma. Cos those long strands of scraps would go directly into our mouths.

My dad would also boast of how well he could make those love letters. From the way that he describes it, you'd actually believe that he could have made them blindfolded. But sometimes my dad does get a bit overexcited about certain things, & that's when some facts become a bit overated. But I'm sure he was telling it like it was this time around.

This was Grandma's mould for making Ang Koo Kueh, literally translated as Red Tortoise Cake.

Grandpa actually got these made in China probably more than fifty years ago cos they were not available here. But as you can see, they made it too shallow & couldn't be used. So Grandma just kept them as they were.

But if you think about it, you could actually use them to make the design marks on top of the ang koo kueh. But of course, that's not the real correct way of doing it.

The side stamps were for another type of elongated ang koo kueh, which I have never seen nor heard of before.

I'm glad that Nee had actually took the trouble to learn Grandma's ang koo kueh sometime ago. Grandma's ang koo kueh is probably the best in Kuching. Growing up, I have yet to taste any that's better. The skin is just perfect, soft, thin, but with a slight pull.

Nee's Pandan version.

The yellow mung bean fillings inside was well mashed up & they blend into a pulp. They are the most perfect things on earth cos they taste JUST nice, not too sweet, super smooth & you don't get the mung bean residues. I don't know where Grandma got her recipes, but I'm sure they were as original as Colonel Sanders'.

And finally, this is what Nee has been looking for, for a looooong time. And yes, it is a brass pot used to make Honey Comb Cake (Bingka Sarang). The cover curves up in such a way so that you can put hot burning coals on top. But of course, it's quite possible to heat up the cover over the stove today.

These were all my Grandma's belongings when she was still alive. She was one heck of a strong lady. She was the epitome of the type of women in those days who could do everything, who was self sufficient, who never stopped doing things everyday of her life. A few years before her illness, she was still cutting grass with the sickle & mending the pavement with cement. She passed away last month at the ripe old age of 96.

My memories of her will forever be the superwoman that she was, the quite strength that she had, the kind smile that was always on her face, the way she was able to carry a stool with one swipe of her hand, & the hurried quick steps that she takes. And I'm glad that we have something of hers, as simple as they are, to remember her by.

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