Wednesday January 2, 2013
When the rain comes, ‘putu halba’ stalls flood Kelantan
KOTA BHARU: A popular delicacy in Kelantan crops up each time the rains come every year-end.
Stalls selling putu halba would sprout like mushrooms all over the state.
The reason why the delicacy is widely sold during the monsoon season is because of the wide availability of tapioca.
“The rains would soften up the ground and it makes it easy to pull out the tapioca plant,” said seller Zainure Zainuddin.
“Many farmers harvest the tapioca during this season because the plant would be spoilt if it is left in the soggy ground,” added the 24-year-old.
“There would be a surplus of tapioca and that’s the reason for the many stalls selling putu halba.”
Zainure, who has been selling putu halba in Pengkalan Chepa here for several years, said her delicacy sold well because of her “secret recipe”.
“You must mix the right ingredients and use banana leaves packed with grated coconut to preserve its taste and aroma,” she said.
“The base ingredients are halba seeds, flour, brown sugar, which are then mixed with boiled ubi kayu (tapioca), spices and steamed in a cooker like how one makes putu piring.
“It is then packed tightly with the leaves to ensure that the smell and taste of the delicacy are maintained,” she added.
Zainure said putu halba was best eaten while it was steaming hot. “It only costs RM1 a piece,” she said.
“There were times when I had to travel at least 20km to find fresh supplies of tapioca and it is best cooked right after being pulled out of the ground.”
Zainure said other popular kuih like pisang goreng or keropok were less popular during the monsoon season.