Friday, July 04, 2008

The 9 Layered Kui (Kow Tiing Kui)

Photo by Sarawakiana. June 2008

Early in the morning one can buy a few pieces of these delectable Chinese folk food in Sibu. Many of these kinds of traditional or folk delicacies have lost their original authentic tastes and exquisite touches because of economics and profit margins.

In the past,a housewife would be proud to show her skills of making this sweet delicacy. She would make sure that all the little Q's (tips) were followed to reach excellence.

Here is a checklist - the right temperature, the almost there measures,timing, when to add this or that ingredient, etc......many would keep these secrets to themselves so that they were like the Kung Fu masters who need to keep a few "chou" in order to survive and strike down their enemies.

My grandmother would make her nine layered steamed cake in the following way.

First she would soak a few cups of glutinous rice overnight and then early in the morning she would have it hand ground by her stone grinder or mill. The rice flour would then be weighted down and soon she would be able to stir in coconut milk to make a wonderful batter. Of course today one can buy a packet of glutinous rice flour imported from Thailand any time in the supermarket. So one can skip the soaking and the grinding steps.

Coconut milk would be squeezed out from a grated coconut (using a very old kitchen tool - cannot be obtained nowadays. I believe I can still take a photo of one such tool in Marudi. So watch my blog.) Today this step is made easy by the usage of packet coconut milk.

Add a little sugar and a bit of salt.

This batter would be divided into two portions, one to be coloured red.

An wooden steamer would be prepared and she could steam her layered delicacy in no time.

In those olden days even if she had to multi task, she would be ever so patient in turning out even layers of white and red in her steamed cake.

And furthermore even without any absolute scales of measurement she could turn out a tin of steamed layered cake which would be so delicate, sweet and delicious to bit into.

A wonderful breakfast treat.

Note :Today many young people do not know how to make it. One can buy it any where in the coffee shops or market. But some people do bother to make this kuih out of love.

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