Ang Ku Kuih 紅龜粿
Even though I bake a lot of western style pastry, I still love those traditional kuih that are available in Malaysia/ Singapore, like steamed tapioca cake, kuih talam etc, just to name a few. But my favourite will have to be ang ku kuih with green bean paste! I still remember back in those days (and also back in Malaysia) when friends or relatives used to distribute boxes of goodies to celebrate their babies' full month and when such goodies box was received, I would always go for the ang ku kuih first, which is one of the items from the box, apart from the others like hard boiled eggs with the shells dyed with red colouring, chicken curry and turmeric rice. I always enjoyed the ang ku kuih with a cup of kopi-O (i.e. black coffee) on those lazy afternoons.
Fast forward to the new millennium, more and more parents give out cakes, or more often than not, vouchers from bakeries instead of goodies boxes to celebrate the joy of having a new member in their household. We still can get ang ku kuihs from hawker centers or pastry shops but I find that it is hard to get good quality ones nowadays. The skin is either too thick and not stretchy enough, or the filling is simply tasteless. So I've decided to conquer the world of ang ku kuih making and bought a mold from Penang one and a half year ago (Yes, you got it right, it was that long ago!). The procrastinator in me has been putting it off until just a week before I left for Saudi. The mold is one of the items that I chose to leave at home, since I reckoned it would be harder to get Asian ingredients in Saudi (Note: True enough, I can't get ingredients like yam, tapioca flour, fresh shredded coconut etc here), and it is better to try my hand on ang ku kuih while the ingredients are readily available.
However, I did not realise that I also need a blender to grind the cooked green bean until I was done with gathering of the ingredients like glutinous rice flour, skinned green bean and banana leaves. Since my blender has been shipped, I decided to go ahead and used a metal sieve instead. It was proven to be a crazy decision, as I spent close to 2 hours just to press the cooked green bean through the sieve! After that was done, I went on to make the skin, but unfortunately, I couldn't get the texture of the dough right, and it was rather crumbly even after I had added more water. I did not know what went wrong, but I had a bad feeling that the skin would not turn out right. Apart from that, I had a hard time trying to knock the ang ku kuih out from the floured mold as well. I did it on a thick stack of newspaper placed on the floor, and I certainly hope that my neighbour downstairs would not complain of the sound of knocking on their ceiling over that period of one hour.
After steaming was done, I tried a piece of the ang ku kuih and as expected, the skin turned out to be quite hard, and the colour was pink instead of the usual red colour. I was disappointed but hey, there's always a second... or third attempt, right? ;-)