Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Making traditional cakes with grandma

This is my maternal Grand Ma Kong.
Grandma wore her Traditional Chinese pants and top with frog buttons. She wore her long hair in a bun.

She loved making all sorts of Chinese cakes. She made them from scratch, grinding her own flour from rice grains. Dr Mercola would approve.

We called her Wai Po, her real name is Lai Yee.

In this pix, I was visiting her from New Zealand.

She wanted to make some of her special cakes for the water engineer, one of her new grandson in law from West Malaysia. Alas she was too old to turn the stone and she didn't make cakes much any more  she needed my muscles to turn the heavy stone. I have good memories of this because she would guide me along, not too fast or not too slow. She would spoon little spoons of rice into a hole in the middle of the stone. If I went too fast, I would knock her with the long pole handle. It was hard work. , but the memories of this grinding rice to flour forever remain in my mind.

This cake is called FATT GO JEE, or according to  the owners of this photoNanie Yang Yit Kiun and Julie Yang who  gave me permission to use this photo., in Miri they call it Paktongkou-

photo courtesy: I like my Cantonese Kwong Neng name, because this Cake is eaten on most happy occasions. Fatt  means prosperous, Go sounds like higher or promotion. Jee is cake. Grandma Kong would come with this white cakes during birthdays, weddings.

I remember this occasion when we moved to our brand new house, Grandma's grinding stone was in her house in Durin, not in her town house in Sibu. Mother told me to help her. Grandma went to her Foochow neighbour, and we borrowed their stone to make the cake. The grinding stone owner said, "what a great grand ma you have, it is not easy to move the stone." 

Round and round, I turned the stick."

Grandma's trays were a meter in diameter. She sprinkled red dates for sweetness, and Lotus seeds for fertility.

Sure enough, 2 years after we moved to the house, Dad was promoted to be the DEO, holder of the highest rank in the region. It was great Grand ma made the cakes.


  1. Interesting story that you have. Cheers for that.

  2. Interesting story that you have. Cheers for that.