Rosidah's 'kuih bakul' unites the tastes of various ethnicities

It is prepared using unique measurements and recipes, changing the perceptions about the traditional delicacy.

11 Feb 2024 08:00am

KUALA TERENGGANU - Kuih bakul, also known as 'Nian Gao', is a symbol of prosperity and a must-have dish during the Chinese New Year celebration however its somewhat sweet taste may not be appealing to everyone.

Nonetheless, Rosidah Muda, a 50-year-old woman from Kampung Pelam, Kuala Telemong, has transformed perceptions of this traditional delicacy by using her own measurements and recipe.

It's no wonder that many people 'fall in love' when they first try the ‘kuih bakul’ because it tasted less sweet and could be reworked in a variety of other dishes such as frying it with sweet potatoes, providing a diverse range of options while retaining the authentic taste of the delicacy.

Rosidah said the ingredients to produce the traditional Chinese cake were not difficult because it only uses the main basic ingredient, which were glutinous rice flour, mixed with sugar water that has been cooked with pandan leaves and lemon juice.

"The ingredients are simple and cost-effective, making it accessible to many.

“However, the cooking process is somewhat intricate, requiring steaming for five to six hours over low heat. It needs constant monitoring to prevent it from becoming too hard or undercooked,” she said.

Rosidah, who works as a clerk. said that the first attempt was to produce ‘kuih bakul’ in 2016 to be served to families and distributed to neighbours, before she started receiving orders.

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"In the beginning I made these ‘kuih bakul’ to eat, then I gave some to neighbours. When someone wanted to order, I started to focus on making ‘kuih bakul’ as a side income.

"Now I have marketed ‘kuih bakul’ through an online sales platform where orders are received from all over the state and have reached up to 2,000 containers within a month.

"Orders are getting higher during the Chinese New Year festival season.

“Not only do I receive Chinese customers, however there are also many Malay customers who are interested in this delicacy," she said.

Rosidah was also helped by her daughter, Nur Qayyimah Haziqah Halim, 24.

The mother of seven said that there were two types of ‘Kuih Bakul’ being sold, namely ordinary ‘kuih bakul’ which are sold at a price of RM10 and banana leaf ‘Kuih Bakul’ which are sold at a price of RM12.

"The process of making banana ‘Kuih Bakul’ is a bit complicated, but the smell is more fragrant. I need time to make a mould from banana leaves, that's why the price is more expensive.

"For both types of the kuih, they can last up to five days if placed outside the refrigerator and can last up to six months if stored in the refrigerator," she said.

Rosidah said that in addition to being able to produce ‘kuih bakul’, she can also produce moon cakes and is skilled in making traditional Malay cakes such as pulut dakap, lemang and ketupat.

"I inherited this skill of making kuih from my mother, Meriam Osman, 85, because I used to help her make kuih to sell since I was a child.

"Now that my mother is older, I am determined to continue the production of this traditional confectionary and process it according to various variations so that it can be accepted by all walks of life," she added.

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