Being raised up in a traditional Chinese family, I was introduced to all types of Chinese pastry which is rather known as ‘kuih’ since young. Although these kuihs always have an uncommon name, but I can still vividly identify each and every type of it, and Ang Ku Kuih is just one of them.
Name after its appearance that resembles a red tortoise shape, ang ku kuih is always served during important occasions like newborn’s fullmoon, elderly’s birthday, weddings, Chinese New Year or even religious rituals. It’s believed that Ang Ku Kuih symbolize longevity, good fortune and blessings. Those were the days when majority of the families would spend many hours in the kitchen to make Ang Ku Kuih and nowadays, it can be easily found at the market or pastry shop.
My most favourite part of Ang Ku Kuih is its fillings that are made from precooked ingredients such as mung bean or grounded peanuts and sugar. The other key component in this pastry is its soft sticky skin, mostly made using glutinous rice flour and sweet potatoes. During my younger days, I would just remove the skin and finish the fillings only.
In conjunction with this year’s Qing Ming, I challenged myself for homemade Ang Ku Kuih as offering to ancestors. The preparation wasn’t as easy as I thought, from noon until midnight. It’s important that you use a good mould, which can give a perfect imprint on the surface. For this, a good friend of mine lend me a wooden mould that has more than 100 years of history, inherited from her grandmother. She was so kind to send it all the way from Kelantan, truly appreciate her generosity and kind thought which certainly means a lot.
Banana leaves are used as a base to place the kuih before they’re transferred to steam. It enables the steam to penetrate the Ang Ku Kuih that is resting on top and release a sweet fragrance when steamed.
By the way, don’t you agree that rainbow colour of Ang Ku Kuih appeals to you? Wait, didn’t I just mention that I used natural colouring too?
Take a look for recipe