Posts Tagged ‘Selamat Hari Raya’

Ramadan bazaar Geylang

Carpets galore…for every room in the house.

hari raya baju kurung

Dressed up….a stall selling baju kurung, the traditional Malay costume for women.

The Ramadan bazaar in Geylang Serai, the Malay district in Singapore, has made its yearly appearance again. In time for shoppers preparing for the coming Eid festival, or Hari Raya as it is known in Malay.

One can find a variety of goods including traditional Malay costumes and festive cookies. Malays are said to be houseproud, and household goods such as carpets and silk flowers take centrestage, ready to spruce up the house and to welcome the visitors.

Selamat Hari Raya; Eid Greetings.

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Hari Raya feasting

Celebrating with the classic marble cake.

Hari Raya, or Eid, festival in Singapore and Malaysia is a boon time for those with a sweet tooth, as every home will greet guests with a selection of both Malay and western cakes and cookies.

A cake that is popular in our family is the marble cake. My aunts bake really good ones, and one could say that they are “traditionalists” or purists as they only bake the classic version of marble cake. The one that uses pure cocoa powder to create the rich brown swirl for the cake.

I suppose as I grew up with this kind of marble cake, I’m also a traditionalist at heart. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate other varieties of marble cakes.

As a kid, when we went visiting, and were served with a marble cake with red or green swirls, it was an exciting discovery for me.

It was as though it opened up a whole new world; as though a peek inside other people’s lives was offered up with each slice of the brightly swirled cake.

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pristine and tasty

Putu kacang….packed with flavor and memories for me.

A galore of cookies and cakes. That is how Eid, or Hari Raya, as it is known in Malay, is celebrated in Singapore and Malaysia.

Each home welcomes guests with about eight or so varieties of these, to enjoy to one’s heart’s content. There are both modern and traditional cookies, or which I prefer to call heritage cookies. My preference runs to the latter, and one of my favorites is putu kacang.

This is a no-bake sweet, with green bean flour and sugar as the main ingredients. The ingredients are mixed, dampened with a little water, then packed tightly into wooden molds specially-designed for putu kacang.

Then the molds are turned over, tapped or knocked lightly so that the molded pieces will drop from the mold. They are then placed in a tray to be sun-dried or baked by a hot, tropical sun.

I used to help my grandmother make this cookie in my childhood home. The molds she owned had interesting designs, and my imagination was really taken by the ones shaped like a rooster. I couldn’t wait for them to dry so that I could savor the tiny roosters.

Sometimes, to make our anticipation easier, my grandmother would give us the task of keeping an eye on the cookies drying on a table in the backyard, just in case the family cat decided to let its curiosity get the better of it, and jump onto the table.

Today, as most residents in Singapore live in high-rise apartments, there is less home-made putu kacang available, and we buy them in Malaysia.

Making this cookie was one of the highlights of Hari Raya preparations in my kampung or childhood home. I just loved the whole process of making them, the contrast of the textures, and the fresh, creamy taste. And I still do – I guess some things never change.


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Hari Raya food

Sometimes, the beauty of Eid comes to greet us in different ways.

When I was in Singapore earlier this year, my cousins hosted a small, informal gathering where we gathered with our aunts, uncles and members of the younger generation.

One of my aunts cooked Hari Raya, or Eid, food – ketupat, sambal udang Palembang and curry, knowing that I probably would not be back for Hari Raya.

“Eat up. Hari Raya in advance,” they all quipped.

This Hari Raya, I am again away from family and my cultural home. But the memory of the Hari Raya dishes that I had enjoyed at that gathering in Singapore sustains me; because the food was made, shared and enjoyed together with generosity and love.

And that, I think, is one of the timeless blessings of Hari Raya.

Selamat Hari Raya/ Best Wishes for a Blessed Eid.

selamat hari raya

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