CNY series: On the eleventh day of New Year…wafers, seeds and nuts

On the eleventh day of New Year my mama said to me
11. wafers, seeds and nuts

Love letters are one of the most popular wafers during CNY. It is eaten only during CNY as it is difficult to make. This is a peranakan snack and is also known as kueh kapek or flattened cake(wafer). There is nothing really symbolic about it except perhaps for the ingredients of rice flour and eggs (among other ingredients) and the mold with Chinese characters that the batter is poured into. Because of the tediousness in making it, this is usually only made during CNY. Its close cousin, the rolled up version, is called kueh belanda, which means Dutch cake (wafer). The origins of this recipe is believed to be from the Dutch when they occupied Indonesia who in turn introduced it into Malaya in the past. Three other snacks — kueh bangkit (made from tapioca flour), honeycomb wafers (made from corn flour) and kueh baulu also made from tapioca flour — are also commonly eaten during CNY.

Dried melon seeds, symbolic of fertility, are commonly served and eaten during CNY. These seeds are common among Chinese everywhere. The seeds are dried, packaged and sold. Some seeds have preservatives on them so that they have a longer shelf life. Some companies would say that their seeds are preservative-free as a marketing strategy, to draw customers to their presumably healthier products. I liked the white melon seeds more than the black ones as they were easier to eat.

Nuts, especially peanuts, are linked to longevity. They are usually served with their shells though many are made into peanut cookies as well. I am nuts about nuts so this is one of my favourite snacks as well.

Dried white and black melon seeds. This is symbolic of fertility.

Peanuts with their shells on.

Peanut cookies. Photo, courtesy of a friend who baked them.

I grew up on White Rabbit sweets. When I found these at the supermarket, I was quite glad until I realised that these have red beans in them and are not the White Rabbit brand though they look similar. The sweets are wrapped in paper-thin rice paper that are eaten along with the sweets.

Kueh baulu

Love letters that are rolled up. This is called kueh belanda and not kueh kapek though in English, they are both known by the same name.

I didn’t know this was kueh bangkit until I tasted it. Made from tapioca flour, this is traditionally white in colour with a red dot and not brown and glazed like this with sesame seeds. But times may have changed and the cookies too.

I am so pleased to finally be able to add this picture, courtesy of another friend, to show some more CNY goodies. In the left tray, on the top, we have pineapple tarts. The white (or creamy) looking cookies next to the tarts are kueh bangkit. They are usually white. The little rolls in the middle are prawn rolls, also commonly served in Singapore and Malaysia during CNY. In the right tray, the triangle-looking things are kueh kapek (or love letters), an old favourite. The cashew-shaped cookies on the top are cashew nut cookies. Several of the cookies here are a result of peranakan influence.

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One thought on “CNY series: On the eleventh day of New Year…wafers, seeds and nuts

  1. Pingback: An initiation into nobility | Sudah makan? Have you eaten?

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