The Hari Raya kitchen - Yummy recipes to make at home
Try out some traditional recipes this Hari Raya and teach your kids some good old values at the same time.
I remember when I was just a toddler; I would identify the coming of Hari Raya with the panic attack my mom and aunties would go into. She would scream, “Oh no! It’s a week before Hari Raya and I haven’t made any ‘kuih’! Where am I going to find an oven? You two children start cleaning the house! Hello? Faridah? Yes. We have to run to Geylang to get some supplies! Why are you kids still not cleaning the house? Oh no! No one helps me in this house!” She would ramble on and on.
The completion of the ‘kuih’ and cookies would mark the end of her panic attack. The smell of sweet semolina cake and pineapple tarts baking in the oven would fill the entire house and my cousins and I would invade the kitchen for the first taste of the newly baked goodies. But there my mom would stand guarding her creations.
I’m guessing that it works the same way with all mothers during Hari Raya. Bake the priceless little treats, let them cool, guard it from the drooling kids who were supposed to be cleaning the house but are instead standing at the kitchen entrance like vultures, pack the treats in glass jars, and then proceed to stealthily hide these jars on the highest cabinet in the house. These carefully packed goodies were somewhat a representation of mom’s effort and talent that would be put on display during Hari Raya.
Somehow we kids would still find these goodies on our ‘kuih hunt’ year after year. To this very day, all these memories would come flooding back to me upon the smell of those treats baking away in the oven. Childhood memories make up most of the nostalgia we reminiscence in our adult lives.
Why not give your children a pleasant experience to look back at in the future?
TheAsianparent is going to help you perk up this Hari Raya with some easy-to-do recipes that you can prepare with your children. At the same time, we’ll add on a few tips on baking and what you can teach your children during the baking process.
The ‘nenek’ confidentials
Before we get down to the baking, lets look at some tips that were passed down from generation to generation –
- Use shiny baking sheets when baking. Even aluminium foil would work out just fine. The reflective quality of the sheets will guarantee even baking and browning of cookies and cakes.
- When baking cookies, make sure the cookie dough is divided similarly. If the cookie sizes are divided differently, the cookie pieces with different sizes will require different cooking times.
- When you bake cookies or tarts, make sure the dough is chilled completely. This way, the dough will be much easier to work with during rolling and cutting.
- Time the baking time of your cookies very closely. Remove them from the oven if they still look a little underdone in the centers. They will finish cooking on the sheets.
- Ovens often cook faster towards the rear end of the oven. Therefore rotating the baking tray would ensure an even baking process.
- The right measurement does wonders .It may seem like a tip that’s worn out through repetition. But it really is a tip that is extremely vital. Keep a meticulous watch over the measurements. Use a flat surface to level all measured ingredients. Also, when using eggs, use large–sized eggs. These are usually the standard size used for dessert recipes.
- Grandmothers sitting on a straw mat with a cup of hot ginger tea, folding in ingredients and handcrafting each ‘kuih’ piece with their fingers. They chat away and laugh as they live by the ‘kuih’ making tradition. Ultimately, they had fun and created memories. So have fun when you bake and the ingredients of love and joy would add that extra taste to the goodies you’ve baked.
Semolina Cake aka ‘Suji Cake’
What you need:
- 250 grams semolina
- 250 grams plain flour
- 300 grams sugar
- 200 grams butter
- 6 eggs
- 3 teaspoon’s baking powder
- 120 ml milk
- ¼ cup almond –chopped finely
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
What you do:
1.) Sift dry ingredients.
2.) Separate the egg whites from the yolks and beat the yolks.
3.) Cream the butter and sugar. Slowly whisk in the yolks.
4.) Stir in the plain flour, baking powder and semolina with milk. When mixing in the ingredients.
5) Alternate each ingredient until the measured ingredients are over. Then fold in the almonds into the mixture.
6) Whisk egg whites till stiff. Then fold the egg whites into the mixture.
7) Add vanilla essence and pour mixture into a greased baking tin (18-20 cm square).
8) Bake over moderate heat for 40 minutes till cooked.
With this recipe, you can get your children to chop the almonds under your supervision. Your children can also be in charge of the creaming of the butter and sugar.
What you need:
- 2 and1/4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup pecans or walnuts, lightly toasted
What you do:
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2) Spray cooking oil on cookie sheet and then wipe-off with a paper towel.
3) In a small bowl, combine first three ingredients. In a larger bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Scrape sides.
4) Add vanilla and eggs. Completely combine. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing well after each addition.
5) Stir in chips and nuts. Drop batter by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets.
6) Bake for about eight to 10 minutes.
Since this recipe does not require you to separate the egg yolks from the whites, your children can help by combining the ingredients to form the batter. Instead of dropping the batter with rounded teaspoons, you can buy cookie templates from bakery shops found at Tanjong Katong Complex, fill the mixture into these moulds and bake them. There are templates available in the shapes of butterflies, cars and flowers. You could get your children to fill these moulds with the batter. After the cookies have been baked and cooled, you can get your children to decorate these cookies with cream icing, silver or colored sugar balls and little sugar hearts. All these ingredients can be found in the bakery shops as well. Now, you can gleam with pride, greet your Hari Raya visitors with your children’s customized creations and proudly say, “ Try one of these cookies. My child made them”.
Flourless peanut butter and jelly thumbprint cookies
What you need :
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg white, lightly whisked
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp all-fruit preserves
What you do:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3) In a medium bowl, stir together the peanut butter through vanilla extract.
4) Using a mini ice cream scoop, spoon cookie dough onto the baking sheet you’ve prepared.
5) Make a small indentation in the center of each cookie dough ball using your thumb and fill each with a bit (about 1/2 teaspoon) of preserves.
6) Bake at 350 degrees F until the cookies are lightly golden brown, but still soft for about 10-12 minutes.
7) Let the cookies cool for about five minutes on the baking sheet, then cool the cookies completely on a wire rack.
8) Cookies will harden a bit upon cooling, but the end product is a fairly soft and chewy cookie.
Your children will have endless thrills making these treats and of course , eating them as well. Your children can help by mixing the peanut butter and vanilla essence together. But the real fun actually lies in getting your children to use their thumbs to create an indent in the center of each cookie dough ball and filling each indent with the preserves. Just imagine the fun they would have making these cookies and the sense of pride they would develop in claiming ownership to their creations.
There is a learning moment in every experience. For example, when making use of ingredients such as milk and sugar, you can point out to your children the importance of appreciation and how they have so much to be thankful for, as children in other parts of the world do not even have the basic essentials such as sugar and milk.
You can then point out that when you fast each day during Ramadan, you break the fast once the sun sets. But the poor may not even have anything to break their fast with. But even with such circumstances, the poor still continue to fast. You can point out the values of will power, responsibility and determination here as well.
TheAsianparent wishes all Muslims Eid Mubarak and hopes that your Hari Raya celebrations this year are filled with infinite fun loving experiences that will leave you and your children some beautiful memories to look forward to in the future. Selamat Hari Raya!