Kuih Kapit is part of Nyonya Food and Malay Food, so that makes it part of Malaysian Food. The Penang Nyonyas and Malays have perfected their skills to made this Nyonya cookies or biscuits into a novelty.
Now it has become a Malaysian culture to made this biscuit on Chinese new year or Hari Raya.
The Penang Nyonya tradition of serving this biscuits or cookies during Chinese New Year is notably a good practice. Ask anyone local do they eat Kuih Kapit? Chinese New Year is not complete without these dainty biscuits.
But the process of making is laborious and time consuming. Only the "lau choew", old timer or very experienced person, can make this delicacy.
So watch Aunty Yean and Ah Cheng making Kuih Kapit from beginning to the end. To ensure that she can maintain the quality, she selects and grates her own coconut.
Pssst...Secret Recipe : Using not too old Coconut for grinding will ensure you get the most juices or what we called 'Pati Santan'(Getting the cream).
Then watch how 60's years young Aunty Yean, juggles through task at one time minding the fire. Same time, turning the moulds, cleaning the mould in between so that the kapit comes out with a clean finish and mixing the batter.
Ah Cheng (eldest daughter)is in charge of getting the batter ready, folding and storing the kapit.
Three main jobs need to be done during baking the kuih. One, preparing the charcoal grill and getting the kuih mould ready. Second person duty is mixing the batter and baking the kapit.
Managing the fire, turning the hot metal mold, scrapping the edges, then peeling off the cooked love letters demand you to multi task unless you prefer eating the 'Pii' meaning remnants or rejects.
The baking or shall I say cooking (I wonder) process entails using the right consistency of batter, then pouring onto the mould, clamp the mould and place on the charcoal fire.
Same time, she switches, check whether the kapit is cook before peeling the hot kuih off the mould. And by the side, is where the third person sits and waits for the kuih kapit to be flung to her for folding into a fan like shape.
Folding is as important, as it takes skill to fold Kuih Kapit. It must not be too flat or too bulky.
I can smell the aroma of freshly baked kapit, clamping of the mould, as if it was yesterday when i was a child.
Looking after the fire is an art. If too much charcoal is added, it browns easily and lots will be wasted. Not enough charcoal added, it maintain a white kapit, not cooked.
You would need at least three or five people at any time for the whole making and baking process.
That is why I marveled at Aunty Yean as she copes with 12 moulds and all the other processes. While Ah Cheng folds the kapit and arrange in tins or plastic containers.
These two heroines can make 12 tins a day, and 400 tins in a month. It is quite a feat if you know the whole process.