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13 October 2007

Eid ul Fitr cookies in Malaysia

(Kuih Hari Raya Aidilfitri di Malaysia)

Eid ul Fitr is an annual event for Muslims ending at the end of a month of fasting. The intention of fasting is to strengthen a persons willpower against bodily desires as well as be more closer to God through prayers and reflection.

This festival known locally in Malaysia as Hari Raya Puasa or Hari Raya Aidilfitri is celebrated in the city with fireworks or firecrackers at the end of the fasting month. In the villages, people light up lines of oil lamps around the perimeter of their homes.

It is a time for families and friends far and near, to gather together to eat and make merry and to catch up on the latest family news. Food abound especially meaty dishes and rice dishes but the ones that attracts the most attention are the pastries including cakes and cookies. There are many traditional cookies as well as more modern ones - cooked in an oven.

The ones featured here are the modern ones, scrumptious and sweet using mostly natural ingredients including various types of flour, nuts, grains and chocolate. Granulated sugar, icing sugar or honey is used to sweetened these cookies. Colourful decorations and food colouring are sometimes used to temp the young who generally like colourful food.

1st Picture Source -       2nd Picture - own photo.
1. The first cookie that I personally like is called the pineapple tart (Tart Nenas in Malay). There are two versions; the first has a crumbly and very soft cookie texture, wrapped around homemade pineapple filling like a sausage roll. The second is more crunchier, with the pineapple jam on top and marked with a X.


2. The second is called Toasted Honey Cornflakes with Almond. This has a crunchy texture and may sometimes fall to pieces if handled too roughly. The taste of the corn from the cornflake goes well with the honey and almond nuts. Usually it is served in tiny cupcakes just enough to pop into your mouth.

Picture Source -

3. The third one is the Pistachio Nut Cookie (Kuih Pistachio in Malay). Again with a crunchy but smoother texture and sweetened with icing on top. Often it is in the form of a heart shape.

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4. The fourth is called the (Cowrie) Shell Cookie (Kuih siput in Malay). As it’s name clarifies, it is in the shape of a shell and is quite savoury/spicy compared to the others. It is mixed with chili, curry powder and curry leaves before being hand rolled into 1cm sized shell shapes and then deep fried until crunchy. Making it is quite tedious but the taste is worth while.

Picture Source -

5. The fifth, is the round Makmur kuih (Kuih makmur in Malay). If well made, it has a soft crumbly texture which disintegrates in your mouth as soon as you put it in. The centre is made of ground nuts mixed with butter or the more aromatic ghee and sugar. Then it is shaped into a ball and rolled onto fine icing sugar to give it a white outer coating.

Picture – Own photo

6. Last but not least, is the chocolate coated hazelnut cookie. A whole hazelnut is found right in the centre of the cookie. The cookie is then coated with melted chocolate. This is often the favourite with children.

There are many, many other biscuits or cookie that are served during the Hari Raya festival. To mention them all would take many pages. Some recipes in English can be found in the links provided. For cookie lovers, this is the time to experiment and try them out.

Kuih Raya 1
kuih raya 2
Batang Buruk
Kuih Raya 3

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