Thursday, April 10, 2014

Traditiional Haig Road Putu Piring - A Lost Dessert

It is a sign of the times when it gets harder and harder to find some of the traditional desserts that we used to eat when we were growing up. And Putu Piring is one such tradition.

Although we can still find the Chinese variant of this beautiful sweet in the form of Kueh Tutu in a number of places, the Malay version is getting more harder to locate.

Fortunately, in the largely Malay community of Geylang Serai, there are still a few stalls that are still churning out this dessert snack and still doing it the old way.

Putu Piring actually originated from an Indian classic, and uses gula melaka (palm sugar) as its main filling as opposed to either grated coconut or grated peanut in the Chinese version.

The soft cakes are actually made from rice flour and pressed into small conical metal cups. The palm sugar is then inserted into the center before more rice flour is used to cover it up. It is further pressed with a small piece of banana leave to give it a lovely aroma when it is steamed.

Making Putu Piring

The entire concoction is then steamed for a few minutes. The rice flour will harden and the palm sugar will melt and what you end up with is similar to the effect you get with a chocolate lava cake. A soft but delightful texture from the rice cake on the outside, and a gooey sweetness of the gula melaka within.

At this stall in Haig Road, the uncle still does everything fresh and on the spot, so that when you buy it here, it is piping hot and fresh from the steaming process. And boy, you need to eat this hot for when it cools down, it loses some of its magic.

Delightful Putu Piring

You get about 5 rice cakes in each packet and they are garnished with shaved coconut that has been lightly salted. And it is this combination of the sweet and savory that will tantalize you long after you finish your last bite.

The nice aroma, the wonderful textures, the lovely flavors all come together like a well tuned orchestra, giving an encore performance time and time again. It may look simple, but trust me, there is hardly anything that tastes like this anywhere else.

Putu Piring, something that needs to be kept alive for ages.

Traditional Haig Road Putu Piring
14 Haig Road
#01-08 Haig Road Food Centre

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