Wednesday, December 7, 2011

红龟粿 Ang Ku Kueh

Ang ku kueh is 红龟粿 in Chinese Hokkien dialect, meaning ‘red tortoise cake’.  It is made of glutinous rice flour, with vary fillings, ranging from the favorite red bean paste and lotus seed paste to the less popular green bean paste, peanut, crated coconut, to exotic taste of durian and many more.

Ang ku kueh, as the name suggested, is red in colour.  Yet, ‘ang’ doesn’t mean ‘red’ in everyone’s eyes.  ( serious colour blind duh ! ) Some like it yellow, pink, blue, purple, white, and whatever food colourings can offer. 

To make ang ku kueh, first the filling is wrap in a dough made of glutinous rice flour.  Then, the filled-dough is put in a special-made wood mould.  ( There are plastic-made mould too  ! )  The quantity of the dough-filing should be just enough to fill the mould.   The dough will be nicely shaped into a tortoise-like feature, with a big Chinese character ‘寿’, which means ‘longevity’, in the center. 

Tortoise signify longevity in Chinese.  The character ‘寿’ clearly imply that.  Just in case someone thinks its not a tortoise.  That’s how it get its name in the first place : red tortoise cake !

The dough is then put on a piece of cut banana leaf.  Ang ku kueh is meant to be steam.  Nobody deep fry or bake it so far.  So, after steam it for a while in a steamer, the dough turns slimy and sticky.  It need to be brushed with some edible oil to prevent them from sticking together.

Ang ku kuehs are prepared for CNYs, and as an offering the Chinese deities.  They are also important during birthday celebration of the elderly , and newborn baby’s first month celebration.

Yet, now one need not to wait for special occasion to enjoy ang ku kuehs.  It is now available year round, sold in stalls on the street, in both morning and night markets,  and even in shopping malls.


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