Here In My Home - Malaysian Artistes For Unity

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Premium Putu Piring Under A Tree

This blog has never claimed to be a food review chronicle, but instead it attempts to document those few remaining souls who bravely sail against crass commercialism to produce food items the way it should be produced. This usually results in food that is not only authentic but delicious, with a balance of tastes that only such preparations can deliver. Usually such establishments operates from under a tree with no signboard advertising their presence, yet they survive from the patronage of those who seek out such artisans and who will go to great lengths to locate them, not even including those who have tasted such deliciousness and become repeat customers. The stall I am featuring is one such operator, and after a lengthy hiatus due to family matters that caused me to worry that they had finally closed shop, I rejoiced after discovering that they had reopened about two weeks ago. Nonetheless it has taken me this long to finally be able to write this feature, as usually by the time I arrive at the stall after work the stall would have run out of their putu pirings, their specialist offering that I dare claim as being the best in Kuala Lumpur. Located along Jalan Jujur in Bandar Tun Razak, the old man and his wife who run the stall are the embodiment of the specialist artisans who concentrate in making the best product they know, in this case the freshly steamed putu piring but in this case are supplemented by a small container of puttu mayam as the consolation offering, usually for those who arrive too late to buy their putu piring. This usually happens by six in the evening after they open in mid afternoon, so you have to come early in order to make sure you can get your putu piring.

So yesterday I was lucky enough to get the last batch of putu piring that the uncle and auntie were making, so I am able to document their putu making process to boot. The process itself I have mentioned in my previous post, but I must say their being generous with the ingredients is what makes their offering such a delight to savour. If there is a product that would earn the title of being premium, then their putu piring has to termed as premier putu pirings. Look at this picture of the mountain of rice flour mix atop the putu mould and you can clearly see that you get full measure. And to see the oozing gula melaka from the recently steamed puttu, you know that you are getting gula melaka chips in the puttu and not a mix of flavoured plain sugar that seems to be standard nowadays. This is plain to see from the sugar container. This the real deal, broken up palm sugar of the highest quality they can source, as the taste testifies they have taken care that this will become a natural caramel once steamed and not have any artificial aftertaste of non-premium gula melaka. And to complete the experience, Auntie will only put fresh coconut shavings on top the ready puttu before putting a square pandan leave on top, so the creamy of the coconut and the aroma of the pandan will mix together to add more zing to the taste. After all this are complete, the puttus are quickly packed to seal in all the goodness as they continue to steam in the package, that when they are unwrapped a cloud of steam smelling like heaven would be released.

As I drive away with the last eighteen pieces of putu piring of the day, I take this photo of the uncle and auntie closing shop. As you can see from their set up, selling three pieces of puttu for one ringgit does not bring them fabulous revenue as it would if they had given up their artisan ways for pure profits. I am not a fool and realise that sooner or later they too will go the way of other food artisans, like the uncle selling freshly fried spicy potato filled curry puffs that gives both pleasure and pain when you bite into them, that has since moved on. There would come a time when I will not be able to open up these wrapping of crumbling sweetness that seeps with caramel goodness. But until that time comes, I will try my best to arrive in time to buy this old couple's puttu pirings before they sell out, at least once a week until they too finally move on.

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