Sunday, February 13, 2011
Kuih Tok.. with love! ♥
It was late in the night, and her tummy was grumbling. Not really wanting to eat anything this late at night, she ignored her hunger and continued to read the book in her hand for a few more minutes before her tummy got the best of her.
Having not cooked for the whole day, she knew she had to whip up something simple but filling as she had no snacks her in kitchen cabinets. Pondering a while over what she had and how long her tummy was able to stand being hungry, her eyes fell upon the plain flour container she had on her fridge while an old memory of her Pah's kitchen came into her mind.
"Thats it, I'll make some kuih Tok!"
Not really remembering the exact measurements and ingredient, she whipped it up from memory. Well, Pah didn't actually use any exact measurements anyway too and the best, they say, is what you do using your instinct as your guide.
Right when the batter was ready, she heated up her frying pan with just a little bit of oil. Her batter was at just the right consistency.. or so she thought!
When the frying pan was at just about the right temperature, she poured in the batter carefully at just the right amount.. and then she waited.
She remembered, as a young girl living with both her Pah and Tok, she spent most of her mornings in the kitchen. Not that she was old enough to help anyway, but she just loved being with her Pah as she prepared the meals for the day. She'd wake up early and sit with her Tok as he had his breakfast of kuih Tok, as she called it, before he went to the mosque for his Subuh prayers. This was always his favourite breakfast, and it became the favourite breakfast for the whole family where even her cousins would request kuih Tok. Some would eat it with sugar, others with leftover curry from yesterday. But best of all was to eat it all by itself.
Her first attempt of kuih Tok yielded a very thick one. Not at all like the ones her Pah used to make every morning. Oh well, it was still edible and there was still enough batter for another two pieces. This time, she spread the batter a bit farther than the previous one but, oh no! It wasn't all nice and round, instead it was a misshapen kuih Tok that she had on her pan and she just let it cook.
This time her memories bought her to a time when she was a bit older but the funny thing is, she was still in her Pah's kitchen. Only instead of the kitchen in the Bukit Chandan home, it was the kitchen in the Kg Menora home. This time she was in the kitchen with Pah and her cousin, Sayang. They were helping Pah make some kerisik.. well, at least they were TRYING to help anyway.
Both of them had a mortar and pestle each and she had her favourite one where the pestle was made from a river stone and was smooth to the touch. Pah had taught them how to pound the fried coconut shavings until its oil was released but somehow, no matter how hard she pounded, she never got anything out of it whereas Pah was already pounding her fifth batch of fried coconur shavings. Almost at tears, she tried to hide how frustrated she was when Pah took her mortar and help her to pound it and voila! In a matter of seconds her mortar was filled with the kerisik they wanted. And all the while Pah told her, she had helped a lot pounding it earlier.
She was shaken from her day dreaming by the smell of burnt flour mixture and quickly took out her second attempt from the pan.
She only had enough for a last one but even as she poured the rest of the batter in the pan, she knew she'd never make any kuih Tok as good as Pah's! It was all holey by her attempts to pour the batter more thinly and she felt a bit frustrated with herself.
And she remember, how in the 10 weeks she had stayed with Tok during her industrial training, not once had she offered to make some kuih Tok for her grandfather who must be missing the kuih Tok made by his beloved wife all those years ago before she started getting sick and eventually passed away. She had helped to prepare his breakfast and morning coffee everyday without fail, even made some attempt at Malay kuih for tea which her Tok lovingly finished no matter how tasteless it turned out to be (cucu punye pasal kaaann!) but she realized, she never did that favourite breakfast item they had both loved and shared when she was smaller and for a while, her eyes felt hot with tears threatening to fall out of her eyes.
As she sat at her dining table with her 3 failed attempts at making something she had loved from the time when she was a wee toddler, she offered a small prayer for both her grandparents who had looked after her full of love. She missed them so much and wished she still had the chance to tell them how much she loved them.
If only she had the chance for another breakfast with the both of them with kuih Tok made by her Pah..