Let me start by saying that, on the whole, Eastern cakes and biscuits are very different to what our Western tastebuds are used to. I have eaten traditional biscuits, cookies and sweet treats in Singapore and Bali and whilst they have been OK, I’ve never been blown away by them. However, as someone who is always prepared to be proved wrong I was definitely up for the challenge of tasting a selection of handmade Malaysian biscuits and bakes that were kindly sent to me from Nyonya Recipe Shop.
These are cute little button shaped domed cookies decorated with a small star imprint on the top. Really sweet to taste, perhaps too much so for my personal taste, and that’s coming from someone who has a mega sweet tooth! I am a big fan of a basic ingredient list and there are just 4 ingredients in these: flour, peanuts, vegetable oil, sugar. What you see is literally what you get. Quite a floury texture, so much better suited when eaten with a tea of coffee rather than on their own.
Chocolate Chip and Nut Cookies
These are the ones! Hands down the tastiest of the lot and I literally had to fight my kids for them, because they loved them so much. Ingredients include: butter, sugar, eggs, flour, chocolate chips, leavening agents and almonds – nothing fancy, just plain and simple homely ingredients. Really yummy, nice and light, they reminded me a bit of amaretti biscuits. Beware – open a pack of these and you’ll have polished the lot before you can say ‘chocolate chip and nut cookies’ 😉
Also known as tapioca cookies (way easier to pronounce 😉 ) these delicate pale flower shaped biscuits are gluten free and made to a traditional Malaysian recipe. They are eaten during festive seasons, such as Chinese New Year and Hari Raya in Singapore and Malaysia, and translate as kuih – bite sized snacks and bangkit – to rise.
Personally, these were way too dry for me and the taste reminded me a bit like a rusk. Very crunchy and you will deffo need some kind of drink with them or perhaps as a dessert accompaniment – they are super cute after all. Ingredients – vegetable shortening, sugar, eggs, flour, coconut milk, pandan, salt.
I first tried Dragon Balls in Singapore last summer. I spotted them in a supermarket and keen to try something local and authentic I bought them to eat back in our hotel room. In theory they should have been really tasty… doughy balls, sold in the dessert section… course they’d be nice, right!?! Well yeah aside from the fact they contain mung beans… still can’t get my head around that.
These handmade plantbased, and therefore vegan, dragon balls are like those ones I tried in Singapore… and unfortunately I still don’t like them. Clearly it’s a personal taste thing, but it just ain’t for me.
The closest thing I can equate them to is a dumpling. The outside case is a dense suet based pastry and inside is a kind of paste that is both sweet and savoury at the same time. This is the mung beans and they have been mixed with sugar and onions. Which OK isn’t so crazy, after all that’s basically caramelised onion and I love that…. but nope, still not for me.
They’re best eaten warmed up or at least at room temperature so that they go slightly squidgy. They are normally served as a snack alongside Chinese or black teas, but I think I may just stick to those chocolate chip and nut cookies – now those I like!
Listen, these aren’t going to be everyone’s taste so I’m not about to tell you that they are. But if you want to try something different, if you’ve had this kind of thing in Malaysia before and liked it, if you want some authentic biscuits to serve at the end of a Malaysian dinner party, or if you like cookies (it’s deffo worth getting some of the cookies!) then please go check them out.
If you would like to try these for yourself you can visit the Nyonya Recipe Shop website, or contact them on their social pages:
Twitter – @NyonyaRecipe
Facebook – @PenangLassie
Instagram – @mynyonyarecipe
Pop in my cheeky little discount code BeckSF&F at checkout and you’ll bag yourself a 15% discount!
*products gifted for review