A few weeks ago the Malaysian Star published an interview with CEO of Tesco Malaysia. In the interview, the Brit particularly stated that Malaysians buy a lot of fresh food since "food is the center of the universe for most Malaysians. And Malaysians love to cook."
Unlike other countries, where cooking is a skill only a handful master, most Malaysians take pride in a handful of specialty dishes one masters. Of course one could never discount festive specialties in the multicultural nation with almost 50 public holidays annually. For Chinese New Year, the Chinese (editor: redundancy!) would busy themselves with festive cookies - from kuih kapit - well-regarded as the most difficult, to peanut cookies - kid's play to my well-experienced aunt. It's not about saving a penny buying the MacBook, but "to get a feel of Chinese New Year" by Mum, and "to preserve tradition" by ultra-conservative Sim Jun Hui.
Well, "child's play" is no child's play either. These are peanuts, baked and skinned (our kakak done that for us). At this stage, my job is just to photograph them.
Put them in blender. Grind.
The process would produce peanut grains somewhere between fine and chunky peanut butter, yet not as greasy.
Mix in flour, cooking oil and fine sugar. Dad's hands.
Now if you have children at home they will come in handy - time to get dirty! Mix the batter until smooth and consistent in texture. Ultra-conservative's hands and Managing Director, my aunt's hands.
Finally, the real work begins. Shape the batter into mouthful balls, lightly press the top with a bamboo brush cap (for the circle pattern), and for decorative purposes only, apply some egg yolk on top (not shown).
Everything goes into the oven.
The gastronomic guru will tell you the best peanut cookies melts in your mouth upon the slightest tampering with the tongue. It has to be fragrant, satisfying, has the sufficient 'oomph' factor, and not too salty or oily.
For me, when Sim Jun Hui can't stop sending fresh from the oven cookies into her mouth, I knew we were on the right track
A little packaging and these would go for RM16 (NT$150) per jar. But these are mainly for friends and relatives.
Stay tuned for part 2: almond cookies!