Friday, 25 July 2014

Mak Rusmah Cookies: Generations-old recipes popular as ever

Rusmah Makom, founder of Mak Rusmah Cookies, her son Nasaruddin Supardi at their Kampung Baru shop in Kuala Lumpur.

Rusmah Makom, founder of Mak Rusmah Cookies, her son Nasaruddin Supardi at their Kampung Baru shop in Kuala Lumpur.

Rusmah Makom’s generations-old recipes remain ever popular.

After 31 years in the business, Rusmah Makom, 74, is still passionate about creating new varieties of cookies for Raya. “It’s a passion of mine to make every batch of cookies the same way I bake them for my close family members and friends. I still use the traditional recipes passed down for generations and probably that is why so many people like them. Many of my customers have remarked that the cookies tasted like how the older generations used to make them,” she says.

Rusmah shares that the secret lies in the precise amount of butter and margarine to get that aromatic, flavourful combination.

Rusmah started off as a young housewife selling traditional Hari Raya cookies to neighbours and family members. She received her big break in the early 1990s when the armed forces placed orders for kuih bangkit to distribute to soldiers during Hari Raya. 

Today, the founder of Mak Rusmah Cookies enjoys a thriving business. Despite her success, Rusmah remains humble through the years. These days, due to her age, she has close to 20 workers to help her. 

A worker preparing pineapple tarts.
A worker preparing pineapple tarts (above) while another packs chocolate chip cookies (below).
Chocolate chip cookies are packed into clear plastic containers which are then sealed to retain freshness.

The cookies are baked three months before Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Production is ramped up during the fasting month as the workers bake from morning to midnight. During the three months, half of her single-storey house in Kampung Baru, KL, is converted into a kitchen to bake and pack the cookies.

Each Raya season, about 100 sacks of flour and 50 sacks of sugar are used to make more than one million cookies. “I passed the business to my sons a few years ago. They are the ones who monitor the taste of the traditional cookies to ensure that quality is maintained,” says Rusmah.

Nasaruddin Supardi, her 47-year-old son, shares that out of the more than 30 varieties of cookies, the most popular ones are kuih sempritkuih bangkit, biskut badam, pineapple tarts and Almond London. He says that every year without fail, their entire supply of cookies will be sold out a few days before Hari Raya, and they do not bake again until the following year’s Raya season.

Tags / Keywords: Entrepreneur , traditional hari raya cookies , woman entrepreneur , kampung baru , cookies


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