#1 Kuih Kapit
The recipe is half standard and half by feel and experience. 1 kg of flour, 1 kg of sugar. That’s the standard portion. The other half is measured by “holding up a wet finger in the air”. 15 to 20 eggs, depending on how tasty (or heong) you want the love letters to be. Milk from 4 coconuts or more, depending on how old the coconuts are. The older they are, the more milk they produce, the less you need.
The amount of coconut milk added to the batter of flour, sugar and eggs is another thing that’s based on feel. My uncles who are pro at this always go by the consistency of the batter when they mix and stir it around a little. Too thick, just add a bit more milk. Too runny, and you’ll be in trouble.
While the batter is being prepared in the kitchen — it takes about 2 hours to get it just right — outside at the indoor garden, the stove is prepared. Charcoal pieces are placed into the stove (see how rusty it is? Now, that’s a really well-used ka-chang!), and left to burn till they smoulder nicely on their own. The perfect “fire” for barbecue.
The moulds are heated up to melt the layer of coconut oil that was applied the year before to keep them from rusting. Now, this is the “secret” — only use coconut oil to coat the moulds before, during and after making those love letters. We’ve tried all sorts of other cooking oils, but they don’t preserve the moulds well enough compared to coconut oil.
Once the moulds are cleaned off of the old oil and recoated with a new layer, the love-letter making begins!
Now, this is one thing I admit I’ve never really tried. Handling the moulds themselves over the stove. I’ve beaten the flour, sugar and eggs, squeezed the milk from the coconuts, mixed with a spring beater till my arms are all tired, folded the thin biscuits till my fingers are almost blistered from the hot oil. Those things, I’m good at.
Cooking the love letters themselves, no. One needs to pour batter onto the mould, put it over the stove to cook for awhile, scrape and clean the edges halfway through, put on the stove again till biscuit turns golden brown, peel off from the edge and toss to the designated letter folder (which is usually me). I’m ok with burning my fingers on the folding, but too chicken shit to try the actual cooking which probably might be less taxing on my fingertips. I’m afraid that I might burn half of the biscuits before they even reach the folding stage. Maybe next year, eh? Or the year after that… Or I’ll just stick to folding…
Labels: Cakes/Pastries, Chinese Dessert, Dessert, Recipe