It has been a year since mum passed and I think of her every day. Even though I get emotional each time, I believe she is in a better place now. At least she is not in pain anymore. It broke my heart seeing her suffer so the last months with her was hard but I treasured every single moment. I could tell she missed having me around and I am glad I was there for her when she needed me most. Fifteen years of the big C and she lived her life full of happiness and without complain. She was and will be the strongest and most genuine person I know. Every single one of her friends only had praises for her, a great friend with heart of gold. She also had great talents with crafts. I have memories of her helping me with a school craft project and we made a robot out of foil mini cupcake sleeves. She was creative and anything she touches becomes beautiful and special so I am proud her talents had influenced me a great deal.
To remember her, I would like to share one of the last things she taught me, her signature ‘kuih’. Kuih is bite-size snack or dessert in Malaysia and the neighbouring countries of Singapore and Indonesia. They can be savoury or sweet. This was her modern take on the Nyonya ang ku kueh, a Hokkien word translated into red tortoise cake. It is a soft, chewy and sticky pastry made with glutinous rice flour wrapped around sweet filling. Mum’s version used sweet potatoes to make the pastry orange in colour rather than the traditional way of using red colouring. This also calls for skilful hands and patience.
The sweet filling
Sweet filling wrapped with the dough made of glutinous rice flour. The outer layer has to be thin yet sturdy enough to hold the filling inside. The crease was marked with toothpick to mimic the pattern on a pumpkin.
The kuih was topped with green peas
We made this for our neighbours who have been very kind to visit mum, to cook for her and spend time with her to distract her from the pain. They have been the greatest neighbours anyone could ask for. The least we could do as mum’s children was to show our appreciation to them with mum’s delicate signature kuih.