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Rasa Malaysia

Putu Mayam and Putu Piring at Pulau Tikus, I know exactly where you went and how they taste. I am constantly amazed that how something so simple can be so delicious and "artistic." About your pbservation about Penang food, I think you are probably right. That wooden press, my family has one, it was passed down from my late grandmother to my aunt. She uses it to make a Nyonya dessert called "Bee Tie Bak" it's basically flour in pandan-leaf infused syrup...the shape of the wood press is slightly different and the end product is also different but you get the idea. In my family, we have so many old-fashion cookwares that it's amazing. :)


Rasa - that was quick! The next time you go home you should consider doing a series of posts on your family's collection of cookware. With a little history, maybe a recipe (or not), some reminsicences from relatives who've used them, where they came from, etc. That would be an incredibly interesting series!


FANTASTIC photos. Very, very cool post.


My grandmother (who was a Nyonya from Penang) insisted that everything be made the old fashioned way. With help from "tai ee" (I now learnt was a bondmaid), they churned out some fantastic eats. When my family came to visit (we lived in KL), food was always amazing! She believed that everything should be chopped with a knife (no food processors involved) and my aunts still carry on that tradition. Imagine trying to make fresh popiah and cutting all the jicama by hand instead of using a grater, and slicing all the cabbage, carrots, you name it that goes into this laborious dish. The dish really was a labour of love. And it fed the whole family (10 children and grandchildren and then some!) And tai ee used to get up early and bring out the old "giling" to grind all the spices and pastes. So many of my nostalgic memories of food have come out of my "ah ma's" kitchen.

BTW, this is another post that is leaving me quite sick--I LOVE putu mayam and miss is something terrible.


Oh no....I can almost taste it!! Putu mayam and putu piring are 2 recipes I have been dying to get. Anyone out there who can help?? Love the article, but now I am so homesick!!!


Love your blog. Love your artistic photos. Love your observation. Love your morning visits to markets. Love your adventurous nature to explore. Love your spirit in quest for street food. You are one of my inspiration!


Kevin - thanks! They're a bit dark, we think (the light wasn't great that day), but we love the subject. ;-)

Annie - thanks for that. I love it when our posts elicit reminiscences like yours. Perhaps I should collect them all in one 'Malaysians reminisce' post. BTW - I chop everything by hand too. The food processor very rarely makes it out of the pantry!

Chris - we're hoping to spend some time with this vendor the next time we head to Penang. With any luck we'll come away with a recipe and some pointers. But, you know, I'm not sure I'll ever have 6 mos free to perfect my technique!

Pinky - thank you! One of the nicest comments we've ever received. Thanks for reading....


It's really interesting how different cooking utensils can make the taste of food! I too think traditionally made dishes makes eating a better experience.


I love love love love putu mayam, but I haven't had it in years... it seems like no one makes it anymore. Not in Johor anyway. Now that I'm in Australia, putu mayam is just a distant memory.

Some early memories of family cooking: Grandma, mum, and aunts all gathered around chopping, boiling, stir-frying the stuff for poh-piah, and us kids sitting on the floor, pile of beansprouts in front of us, having a competition to see who could "pluck" the brown stuff off beansprouts the fastest.


Ilva - I'm not sure the old-fashioned wooden press affected the taste of the putu but I know the bamboo steamer did. Lucky you ... living in a land of traditional cooking methods!

Yin - thanks for sharing those memories! Good putu mayam are pretty much non-existent in KL, except now, during Ramadan.


You know the photography is good when it succeeds in eliciting salivation... the putu looks very good! Am smacking my lips right now... sigh...wish this was easy to get one's hands on in Manila.


I am so grateful that you are able to record these things, I fear sometimes that these techniques will be lost and forgotten as we continue to sprint to modernization.


Megamom - some credit must be given to the subject itself. Those putu are very good!

Cynthia - I fear it's inevitable. Which is why we should celebrate this sort of thing while it is still around to enjoy....

Mary Florence

I really wanted to implement "asian cooking" in my hotel services, but it doesnt seems so easy from now on :)

Cheers from Italy

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I'm so in love with putu mayam & more so with putu piring. There used to be an Indian lady selling putu mayam on her motorcycle in my housing area. But she hasn't been coming for months already. My family misses it so much. It's been years since I last tasted yummy putu piring. Since the makcik in pasar malam shifted, I've been searching high & low for this food. Until 1 fine day, I found a stall selling it! But it was not as good. I couldn't be happier any longer coz a week later, the stall is no more there.. Anyone knows where to find this food in Seremban? BTW, thx Robyn for these photos. Oh, I'm drooling over it now...

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