Thursday, 19 September 2013

Kuih Jala (or net cake)

We went to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysian Borneo for our summer holiday this year, and while we were there we visited the Mari Mari Cultural village. It was really good - interesting and fun for both adults and children. There were various cultural demonstrations and one of these was making Kuih Jala or net cake.

Sophie and Justin just couldn't get enough of these yummy biscuits and when I got home I did a little research and found out what they were called and how to make them: mysabah.com has a great page all about them - Kuih Jala (Net Cake), fun to make & good to eat:

"Kuih Jala is a famous snack found in Malaysia. “Kuih” means Cake and “Jala” means Net in Malay language, so it is literally translated to “Net Cake”. It is named after the pattern that looks like net.


However, the most interesting aspect of Kuih Jala is not how it tastes, but how it is made. It is really fun to watch the making of Kuih Jala.

The materials are simple, just mix rice powder with sugar and water until the mixture becomes dense and gluey. Put the mixture inside a coconut shell that is poked with many small holes underneath. Then move the shell container quickly over the hot cooking oil. The mixture will drip into the oil like thread. Move the shell in circular motion for a few seconds, until the mixture forms a plate-like layer on the oil. 
When the sizzling stops and the kuih turns yellowish, use sticks to fold the kuih into triangle shape. If you are highly-skilled, you can roll it into tube shape."

I bought some rice flour and had a go at making these. They were relatively simple but quite time consuming in cooking (a lot like cooking pancakes) and the biggest problem was finding something to replicate the coconut shell with holes in. I used a conical strainer that had about 10 holes in the bottom and swirled the batter around enough for it to pour out in almost strands into the frying pan.

I don't have a wok so cooked my version of Kuih Jala in a simple frying pan. This meant they didn't cook evenly and some parts were very well done while others were still white but overall, for a first attempt, the Kuih Jala came out okay and they tasted good which is all that really matters. They didn't last long and were fun to make!
© 2013 Nicola Noble: Please observe the rules of copyright and blog etiquette. If you use my ideas or images, please link back to my blog. And do let me know - I'd love to take a look.

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