I don’t know what you call these in English, but this stuff is locally known as Putu Piring a sweet, Indian delicacy that’s made from flour, shaved coconuts as well as brown sugar/gula Melaka.
My late grandmother used to buy putu piring for us grandchildren to enjoy as snacks during teatime. Living and growing up during the Colonial times, my grandparents and my parents has adopted the British hi-tea culture, and tea time is a must in our family. Usually at 4pm and it’s one of the most enjoyable time during the day for us children, as it means not only foods, but a lot of sweet and savoury desserts in one sitting.
Small, triangle sandwiches will be served without fail during tea time. The most common filling would be sardines in tomato sauce with sliced onions or just plain cheese with bread. Toasts, butter and jams is a norm too.
The real treats during our tea time are usually the local or home made snacks. My late grandmother was a nyonya (Strait born Chinese), and she often made a lot of nyonya kuih for us. Among them are lepats, pulut udang, pulut inti, kuih lapis and many more.
But sometimes, she would take a break from cooking, and buy those treats for us to eat during tea time instead. One of the most common treats that she would buy for us was Putu Piring. I could still remember that sometimes, my late grandmother would wait at the verandah of the kampung house for an Indian man who rides his bicycle to come.
If my memory serves me right, the man’s name was Nathan. He was in his 40s when I was 9 years old, and he rides his rickety old bicycle with bells on it to sell freshly made Putu Piring and Putu Mayams.
I’m 25 years old now. My grandmother has passed away, and the good old uncle Nathan no longer sells Putu Piring and Putu Mayam that his wife made for a living. But I still crave for such delicacies, and so, when I was walking in the shopping mall nearby my house the other day, I knew I had to buy it and satisfy my cravings.
It’s been quite some time since I had Putu Piring. Almost 9 years. I stopped eating them because my grandmother was no longer there to buy them for me and putu piring simply lost it’s appeal since my grandmother pass away, cuz it reminds me of my late grandmother, and it’ll make me miss her.
I couldn’t help it though when I saw a booth selling Putu Pirings the other day…
The putu pirings being prepared.
Putu pirings being steamed in the special utensil meant only for putu pirings.
The putu pirings cost me RM4 for 6 pieces. Quite expensive, considering how small it was. And did I like it? Well, let’s just say I prefer those that the good old uncle Nathan used to sell. The one I bought was not sweet enough, and lack of shaved coconuts.
Cleffairy: Is there any particular food that will send you down the memory lane?