It's really ironic. During Ramadhan, we Muslims do not really need much food (as we fast during the day), yet we often find ourselves tempted by large amounts of food, more than in other months. In Malaysia, Pasar Ramadhans (food fairs) would sprout almost everywhere. Not to be outdone, hotels would be offering exorbitantly-priced buka puasa (break of fast) buffets. It really goes against the spirit of fasting itself which is to practise RESTRAIN.
How do I do it? Thanks to my one year of fasting di perantauan @ Bristol, I am quite comfortable preparing some simple berbuka meals rather than buy food at the various PARAMs (Pasar Ramadhan). Yeah, maybe I do have a simple appetite. At the same time, now that I'm back in Malaysia, I do indulge in the occasional Air Tebu, Putu Piring and Taufu Fah which are non-existent in Bristol. But so far, that's about it :).
My favourite kuih during berbuka is the Buah Melaka a.k.a Onde-onde and Kelopong to some people. My daughter called em "snowballs" when I made some in Bristol :). It's actually very easy to make. You just need some glutinous flour (tepung pulut), palm sugar (gula melaka) or gula enau (well-known among Negeri Sembilan folks), screwpine leaves (pandan) and grated coconut. In Bristol, you can find these ingredients at Wai Yee Hong Chinese Supermarket ,Teoh's Oriental Store or the grocery shops around Easton. Heck, even Sainsbury's and Tesco sell coconuts! :)
What is the precise amount of ingredient, you say? Well, most Malaysians don't go by the book. Don't believe me? Go ask Gordon Ramsay :). It's a matter of "agak-agak" (play by ear??) - a term made famous by "Aunty Aini" in Gordon's Great Escape (Malaysia chapter). It's all about texture and taste. Portion tu, pandai-pandailah adjust :P. So... here goes:
1) Chop the gula melaka or gula enau into bite pieces. How big you ask? Up to you. The bigger it is, the bigger the finished size of the kuih. I like to make it just right so that I can pop the whole kuih into my mouth :). How many pieces you ask? Up to you also la...
2. Next, prepare the dessicated coconut. In Malaysia, you can buy freshly-grated coconut. In Bristol, you'll have to do it yourself. First of all, you'd have to pierce the top of the coconut shell and drain the water inside. Don't throw the water away. It's a refreshing drink on a hot summer's day. Next, crack open the coconut shell. In Malaysia, you can hack the shell with a parang (machete?). In Bristol, you'll just have to do it Thaipusam style: throw it onto the floor until it smashes... Hehehe! Wash the inner part of the coconut which has white flesh. Then, take a grater and start grating. Choose the finest blade. It's one long tedious process compared to the motorised mesin kukur kelapa that we have in Malaysia. So it's good if you have 'little helpers' in the kitchen :). Once you have finished this, sprinkle a little bit of salt onto the grated coconut to flavour 'em.
3. Next, cut 5 strips of pandan leaves into small pieces. Blend them with a little bit of water in the blender/food processor. How much water you ask? Enough to make the mixture mix and spin. Filter the mixture to get the pandan leave extract. You can also use green food colouring if you don't have pandan leaves. The kuih tastes and smells better with pandan extract, though. Plus, it's natural.
3) Next mix some glutinous flour with the pandan extract to form a dough. Make just enough dough for the chopped gula Melaka. The dough should not be too sticky or too stiff. Like what Goldilocks lurves to say: just right! How to know whether you've got the right texture? Use your eyes and hands to determine that. The dough should not stick on your hands when you roll em. Agak-agak, ok?
|The dough should be green in colour but not so obvious|
here, ain't it?? :P
5) When the water starts to boil, drop the tiny balls into the pot. Wait until the balls start to float. This normally takes about 1 to 2 minutes.
* If the balls do not float at all, chances are you have used the WRONG flour. Only use glutinous flour (tepung pulut), not rice flour (tepung beras) or wheat flour (tepung gandum). Been there, done that! Kikiki!
6) Scoop the balls with a mini colander and rolled them into the desiccated coconut. Arrange the kuihs nicely in a plate. The kuihs are ready to be served for buka puasa.
|Buah Melaka @ Onde-onde @ Kelopong @ Snowballs :)|