Sep 26, 2010

Ang ku kuih (紅龜馃)

My dad makes great tasting traditional snacks.. he used to help my grandmother make snacks for sale while he was in primary school.. while my other uncles were tasked to do the selling by walking around the neighborhood.. one of the really tasty traditional snacks that my dad knows how to make is ang ku kueh (紅龜馃), which translated word by word means "red tortoise cake" in Hokkien dialect..

I would never buy any ang ku kueh from the shops as I have yet to find any that comes close to the tastiness of those that my dad made.. Once you tasted the best, you won't want to compromise.. :p What is usually being sold nowadays uses either sweet potato paste, red bean paste or shredded coconut for its fillings, instead of the traditional green bean paste.. and the skin is usually horribly thick and hard..

Two week ago, my dad decided to make some ang ku kueh.. and I am more than happy to learn from him as these are some of the traditions that we must not allow to disappear.. and it is never a bad thing to learn another good tasting snacks, especially if it is my grandmother's recipe!! ;)

Main ingredients needed:
- Dehulled Mung beans (or known as green beans locally) for the fillings
- glutinous rice flour for the dough
- some banana leaves
- red food dye
with enough sugar, oil, water to make the dough (the skin) and the bean paste..

Of course, how could we forget about the mold!! My dad has 4 molds and one of them belonged to my grandmother.. which makes it more than 50 years old!! 

- Soak the dehulled mung beans for 6 to 8 hours.
- Steam it by placing them on a piece of white cloth in a bamboo tray over some water.
- Smash the cooked beans. My dad uses a rolling pin instead of a blender as the blended version somehow doesn't seemed fine enough.
- Cook the smashed beans over slow fire with sugar water, and add in a few pandan leaves to enhance the fragrance.  Keep on stirring until it thickens into a paste.
- Once cool enough, roll the paste into small balls.
- Wash the banana leaves and cut them into sizes.
- Make the dough using glutinous rice flour, water and oil. Add in the some red food dye.
- Take some dough, roll it into a ball, flatten it and wrap a ball of green bean paste into it.
- Dusk some flour into the mold.
- Place the rolled ball of dough and green bean paste into the mold and press it evenly.
- Put a piece of banana leave over it.
- Overturn it and knock it out gently. Place them into a (bamboo) tray.
- Steam them for about 5-10 minutes. Brush some oil on top of them before they get cold.
And Voila!! :)

Just a side note, my dad bought the wrong "shade" of red for the food dye.. so they kinda turned out more pinkish than reddish.. :p

According to my dad, there are other shapes than just the usual oval ones. People used to give ang ku kueh to relatives and friends to celebrate the first month of their babies. Just by looking at the shapes of the ang ku kueh given, relatives and friends would instantly know the gender of the newborn..

For baby boys, the proud parents will give these.. Oval ones and long ones, together with some hard-boiled eggs.. all in red color.. the color of celebration and auspiciousness for Chinese..
For baby girls, it will be the oval ones and the peaches instead of the long ones..
Anyway, this time round, I was more of an observer than actually trying my hand at making it.. So I will definitely ask my dad to let me do it the next time..  :) Can't wait to learn more of these traditional snacks.. :) :) :)

No comments: