I choose…

Of course, there is no panggang like Kate’s panggang and by the way, that is the name we call it in our family after the lady who used to go round on a bicycle selling them. Don’t go round the kueh stalls in the kampungs asking for Kate’s panggang – they would not know what on earth you’re talking about. They call it by the name of the person making them, a Haji something but somehow or other, I just can’t seem to remember it even though those sellers have told me more than once.

The old man had retired, the younger ones in the family are making them now but unfortunately, they do not make them on a regular basis so you would have to be very lucky to stumble upon any for sale. They are going for RM1.10 each, the rest are priced at RM1.00 only so chances are if you come across any priced as such, those would be the ones to grab. The last time I managed to get some, it was at this kueh stall at the end of Kpg. Hilir beside the SEDC hawker stalls, opposite the MDS Supermarket at Simpang Tiga here…and that was quite a long time ago, still as nice as ever but they somehow looked thinner and shorter.

Now why am I bringing this up, you may ask? Well, when my Kuching cousins were in town, that afternoon when they dropped by my house for the popiah lunch, I saw that they had with them two leftover panggangs in a plastic bag and they looked so green and clean. “Eyewwwwww!!!” I exclaimed, “Those can’t possibly be nice!” The ones in Kuching are like these that I came across in Bintulu…

Bintulu sambal panggang
*Archive photo*

They have sambal inside and yes, they do taste nice if the sambal inside is nice but once I had some from Kuching with a whole lot of sambal and very little pulut (glutinous rice) so that was some sort of an overkill. Not nice. You just can’t go overboard with these things, really.

Those do not need much panggang-ing as there is the sambal to give it its taste to go with the pulut but our pulut panggangs here are not the same. Yes, lately, we do have the ones with sambal as well but true-blue panggang eaters will not settle for anything less than the real thing – the kosong (no filling) ones…and when buying, one must know how to tell the good ones from those mediocre or not-so-good ones sold all over.

Firstly, the banana leaves must be badly burnt and black…

Pulut panggang 1

– that would be an indication that it has been well-panggang-ed over a hot charcoal fire. That is essential to give it that smoked fragrance without which the panggang will be nothing more than salted pulut wrapped in banana leaf, nothing to get excited about.

You can also take one and smell it. My missus finds that disgusting and would grumble that the sellers would not be happy about me doing that. Well, if I cannot detect the much-coveted panggang-ed fragrance at all, I would just put it back – no point wasting my time and money…and calories.

Then when you open one up, it should be nice and oily…

Pulut panggang 2

…not dry and clean. In Kate’s ones, you may detect some traces of the santan (coconut milk) which would go to show how lemak it is. Now that is another thing in panggang that separates the boys from the men. It must be lemak enough and that is what makes Kate’s stand out way above the rest – those are extra lemak and of course, extra nice! I sure would not mind forking out that extra 10 sen just for that!

If you look at the pulut, you may detect a slight tint of gold…

Pulut panggang 3

That must be very slight and not brown, the result of over-panggang-ing, in which case the pulut would be hard and not all that palatable at all. In the case of this one, you can see that the tint is only on the outside…

Pulut panggang 4

…very superficial so it is perfectly all right and may be considered as having been very nicely done actually.

Many would prefer to eat this pulut panggang on its own and enjoy its slightly salty and very lemak taste plus the panggang-ed fragrance but with my sweet tooth, I would rather have it with kaya (coconut jam)…

Pulut panggang 5

…or condensed milk or to the very least, sugar.

I bought this one at RM1.00 each and I found that it was pretty good – no, not as nice as Kate’s but good enough. After all, as they say, beggars can’t be choosers.

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Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

12 thoughts on “I choose…”

  1. I have only eaten those with sambal inside. Have not eaten any that is kosong like this.

    Oh? I wonder if this is a Central Sarawak thing. In my young days, the coffee shops opened at the break of dawn and on every table, one would find a saucer of this panggang and a saucer of hardboiled eggs for people to have a quick breakfast before going to work. They could order toast as well – and toast was with real butter and own-made kaya – Planta and Yeo’s were non-existent then.

    The express boats ply all along the Rejang River and in the old days, they would stop at the towns along the way like Kanowit or Song when going upriver to Kapit or Bintangor when going downriver to Sarikei and at each of these stops, little boys would jump on board with their baskets full of panggang and hardboiled eggs and kampua mee and drinks to sell to the passengers. Some of my ex-students in Kanowit used to do this outside school hours to earn a bit to supplement their family income.

    The sambal ones have made their appearance here too. Maybe the younger generation are not so into the real thing and would prefer the sambal ones…in which case, good or not, it will depend on the sambal, not the pulut nor the skill of making.

  2. Pangang with kaya! Yes, please. I have never had it before. I don’t know about having it with condensed milk, that’s up a level. Do you have it with light condensed milk or the original?

    I agree about the aroma of the grilled Pangang. The texture is important too; it should not be al dante or soft.

    Condensed milk? It was the original but these days, no more available – all are sweetened creamer, they are called – palm oil substitutes, no cow’s milk…unless we pay through our noses for the imported ones. I think there is a brand from Singapore, made in Indonesia. With kaya, lots of it, it would be something like eating the nyonya favourite, the serimuka.

  3. My favourite since I were young. Panggang with sambal in it. Mum used to buy from the Kenyalang market when she goes marketing. One pack panggang without sambal and another pack with sambal. The pulut must be lemak and fragrant and sambal must be good; spicy and sweet at same time.

    Thinking of it, it has been a long time since I ate one. Kind of miss it. Haha.

    Oh? So they do have the kosong ones in Kuching as well then.

    The Kenyalang Market had a lot of pretty good stuff, used to drop by but that was quite long ago. The nyonya chang was nice and they had some nice nyonya kueh too like serimuka. The food from the stalls there was good too but I can’t remember what I had.

    I clearly remember seeing something that looked nice, very fragrant so I went and asked the guy what it was and he said, “Kay boi!” (cock tail) and in Chinese, kay boi chiew is a buffet party. “Huh?” I responded and the guy said, “Kay kah chui lah!!!” Eyewwww, no, thank you!!! 😀

  4. I like pulut panggang, be it kosong or with fillings but of course, the rice must be fragrance with lemak taste. My 1st time seeing pulut panggang leaves so green & clean.

    Those were the ones I bought in Bintulu – very nice, the sambal was great but it was not panggang in the true sense of the name, just sambal in pulut wrapped with banana leaves, dunno if they were baked in the oven or not even.

  5. Take and smell it? hahahaa.. yeah, I also don’t do that… but my mother used to do that.. when buying fish! hahahaa.. I wonder if it is effective…

    Smelling fish or prawns will help tell you if it has gone bad. Once I bought a whole plate of giant freshwater prawns from the ethnic seller at the jungle produce market – one whole plate for RM10 only. When I got home, I opened the bag and there was this horrible smell. I had to smell the prawns one by one to find out which one had gone bad and was emitting the smell and I quickly threw that one away.

    Smelling can also help tell you if the kueh had gone basi (chow sui) especially kuehs with santan – they go bad very quickly in our very hot weather. You can tell from the smell and throw it away…but no, when I smell the panggang, it is not for any of the aforementioned reasons – it is to tell whether the panggang is good or not, worth buying or not. Not the same, not at all.

  6. I love pulut panggang, and my favourite is the ones made by my mum. I like the ones in Brunei Tamu, the ones with spiced beef filling.

    Wowwww!!! Your mum makes these! Impressive! Spiced beef filling? Don’t think I’ve ever had that though I have had lemang with spiced beef floss or serunding.

  7. I love pulut pangang very much. I have tried those with sambal inti , it is so much smaller than what you showed here. We call it rempah udang. The kosong pulut pangang looks very tempting to me. I think it is tastier to eat with rendang ayam la!

    Rendang? That would go with lemang – my girl loves that but I prefer panggang to lemang. Different, the taste and the texture. I’ve seen something that looked completely different in Kuching, looked like otak otak on the outside but inside, it is the one and the same – pulut with sambal inti.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own.

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