Just before CNY each year for the past 20 years, residents are carried away by the aroma of tnee kuih, a sweet and sticky glutinous rice cake, wafting in the air.
My dad has been making the traditional delicacy at home over the years now. Tnee kuih (in Hokkien) is also known as nian gao in Mandarin and kuih bakal in Bahasa. Although it involves a painstaking process, my dad want to continue making this delicacy as it is a Chinese tradition which was pass to him by my granny.
Tnee kuih is highly sought after as a prayer item during the sending-off of Zhao Chun (Kitchen God) a week before CNY, on CNY and when welcoming the deity back on the fourth day of the celebration. It was a Chinese belief that with the offering of this sweet and sticky kuih, the Kitchen God, upon his return to Heaven, would only have good things to say about the family to the God of Heaven. During CNY, some people would offer 5 pieces of tnee kuih stacked one on top of another (from the largest to the smallest size) to symbolize prosperity.
To make the delicacy glutinous rice flour and sugar were mixed, without any preservatives or colouring, and poured into metal tins wrapped in banana leaf. The tins are then arranged in a wooden tray and steamed for at least 12 hours in a custom-made wok before mixture turns dark brown.
Took some pictures when my dad started making it.