The annual balik kampung exodus has begun – and one of the things many of us look forward to (aside from duit raya!) is tucking into delicious festive dishes, such as lemang and rendang. For those with a sweet tooth, kuih raya and cookies are a must. Thankfully, Malaysians are blessed with more than their fair share of unique treats to indulge in.
Here are some of our favourites.
With roots in the Middle East, kuih makmur (literally prosperity cookie) is a traditional Malay kuih made from butter, ghee, flour and crushed ground nuts. Nutty and milky, they are easily identifiable by their round shape and white coat of icing sugar and powdered milk.
Simple but addictive, honey cornflakes have become a staple in many households during the Raya season. They’re extremely easy to make, and you can even rope in the kids for a fun bonding kitchen activity – although sufficient honey has to be added in order for the cornflakes to bind properly. Some versions use chocolate instead of honey, and add sprinkles to the top for a colourful pop.
Even among the vast array of raya cookies, the semperit cookie is legendary. Using just several ingredients such as margarine, vanilla extract, custard powder and corn flour, these flower-shaped cookies are prized for their fluffy, melt-in-the-mouth texture.
A testament to its popularity, pineapple tarts are not only common during Hari Raya, but other festivals in Malaysia as well. They come in several shapes, such as jam on the top with a cookie base, or rolls with a jam filling.
Ask a Londoner about Almond Londons and you’ll probably draw blank stares – these cookies are very much Made in Malaysia. While the origins of the name are unclear, that doesn’t stop people from making a beeline for the table whenever these are available. The base comprises of a butter cookie, with an almond centre. The cookie is then coated in sweet chocolate and topped off with crunchy almond bits.
No stranger to the festive season, especially Hari Raya, kuih bahulu is the Asian version of the French madeleine. Biting into one of these sweet delights is like munching on clouds, as they are slightly crusty on the outside but soft on the inside.
Flaky and crumbly with a powdery texture, kuih bangkit is a classic favourite. Primarily made from tapioca flour, they are often flavoured with pandan or coconut and come in various shapes, usually as stars or fish.