(another post on Chinese New Year)
Here is the nien-kau, teekueh, kueh bakul or the bribery gummy goodie. It is made from sugar and glutinuous flour and steamed for hours and hours. The outer layer is the banana leaves which give the teekueh extra fragrant. Making this teekueh is no joke because all the grandmas used to have many taboos related to it. One of them is little kids aren’t supposed to ask ‘are we there yet, are we there yet?’ (cooked already?) because the whole batch will never turn brown. These teekueh are kuat merajuk. And then, if you are steaming them and someone passed by wearing mourning clothes, the whole batch also will die-ded. I swear! Last time, some neighbours passed by in their black clothes and the grandma (someone else, not mine) had to throw salt and rice while cursing in foul language (joking) to get rid of the bad luck. For all it’s trouble, all the Chinese still must have this essential item. Because it is meant to bribe the kitchen god. You see, in Chinese homes, they have a kitchen god or a small altar in the kitchen.
Usually, my two sisters (they are 14 and 10 yrs older than me, ok?) will fight in the kitchen and throw cups at each other! (now you know where I learnt my kung fu from). My mom had to appease mr kitchen god by giving him this sticky, gummy, sweet goodie so that he is too busy munching them. Probably, mom hoped mr kitchen god choked on his own denture and did not manage to report to the heaven god (the highest god in Taoist beliefs) that her two daugthers are si-beh-garang (very fierce). mr heaven god gets the report on his earthly beings once a year through mr kitchen god and therefore, it is very important to bribe mr kitchen god. *ahem* I sidetracked too much already. I love Chinese folklore.
Other than the teekueh, we also have this beehive like cookies. It is called ‘phang siew kueh’, made of coconut milk, rice flour, sugar (and not sure got eggs or not). It is made with a brass mould dipped into the batter and fried. Very fun to do the frying.
Actually, these 3 pieces of beehive thingy were ‘donated’ by the stall owner so that I can take photos. Such nice people still exists. (I dare not buy them ‘cos they are very fattening.)
Sadly, these traditional cookies/goodies are phasing out as the older folks are phasing out too. Nowadays, they make teekueh in factories. And it is scandalous that they make figurines of my favourite Choy-san (god of prosperity) with teekueh. Gosh, if I am Choy-san, I will ‘sakai’ (knock the head with the knuckles) whoever bites me. Ouch, ouch, ouch. My head, my hand, my kkc, (like the gingerbread man likedat) And people got greedy and are making gold nugget shape of teekueh like seen in doc’s blog which comes with 4-digit number. *sigh*