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Thursday, 20 September 2007

Is Coconut milk and sugar too expensive?

While on the subject of Ramadhan food, one thing my wife and I noticed that in the bazaars other than tepung pelita or limas as we Perakians call it, it is now getting more difficult to find wet desserts made from coconut milk and sugar. The reason I say this was that on Monday my wife asked me to buy some lompat tikam at the Kota Cheras Ramadhan bazaar that usually has good ones on sale, but this time I cannot find this. Lompat tikam is an East Coast specialty made of rice flour and palm sugar and usually makes it appearance this side of the peninsular only during this time, and only when there are predominant east coast vendors available. The taste is incredible and sweet, deserving of the east coast deference to sweet tooths. Though made of simple ingredients, I understand that to make it is time consuming, thus making it a not popular item to sell.

The funny thing was I found another time consuming dessert that has become another rare species, bubur sum-sum in its stead. Called sum-sum because its consistency is similar to bone marrow methinks, the one I got was not so smooth as I expected and the palm sugar is not as sweet. Look at the photo, that is real bubur sum-sum. But beggars cannot be choosers can we. So whatever I can get, I will buy. At least my tastebuds will feel the taste of such sweet things again. The last good bubur sum-sum that I managed to purchase was sold in Kraftangan Complex in Jalan Conlay, but I understand that this is a not a regular item in the menu. This version was smooth as silk and the palm sugar was thick and not adulterated with plain sugar, making it a delight to eat. But to take it away was not easy as there were no containers offered, so we had to take it away in plastic bags. Luckily its consistency made this not much a problem to handle, except some precious portion was lost as it remained stuck to the plastic bag when being poured to be eaten. As winemakers usually say, that is the angels portion.

Anyway back to the subject at hand, I guess maybe it is true to make wet desserts from coconut is no longer worthwhile, not only it may be too time consuming, but with the way food prices are going, no longer economical. The only other type of such dessert that we have found is badak berendam (my wife calls it kuih putat) but I guess other types of such sweet desserts like puteri mandi will remain like a mirage in the desert. (Pun fully intended)

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