KUALA LUMPUR: Two years ago, Husaini Mat Rejab, 42, embarked on a quest to collect vintage brass moulds and to get to know more about traditional kuih bahulu recipes.After almost three years of searching, he now has over 200 moulds in 70 different shapes, and has even come up with a recipe inspired by his journey which he has put to good use at his shop-cum-bakery in Jalan Pahang called Bahulu Arang.
“The idea came after watching a video sent via a WhatsApp group which showed a child helping a parent make kuih bahulu using coconut husk and charcoal.
“After some research, it turned out that it was the way things were done before.
“It sparked my interest to scour each state – from north to south – for folk recipes and moulds to revive the atmosphere of former times and remind people of the traditional kuih bahulu,” said the computer science diploma holder whose career in information technology (IT) has spanned 17 years.
Husaini’s hunt began in Terengganu which he thought would have shops selling the brass moulds, but the ones he saw in Pasar Kepayang, Kuala Terengganu only had moulds which didn’t quite fit the theme he had in mind.
Not giving up, he continued searching villages for the coveted brass treasure and discovered an elderly woman in Johor Baru who had a mould in a prawn-shape with Jawi script on the back.
“I bought it immediately for RM350. Still not satisfied, I continued my search in Melaka, Perak, Kedah and Penang.
“I have hundreds now, but I’m still trying to find more,” said Husaini, whose moulds are on display at his shop.
Husaini, who hails from Kuala Nerang, Kedah, and has lived in Kuala Lumpur for almost 30 years, is unapologetic about paying a lot of money for the rare moulds.
He said that he has even forked out as much as RM500 per mould and spent RM50,000 over two weeks on this pursuit.
“I have no regrets, even if it cost me RM100,000, because the hunt has paid off,” he said, adding that he used asam jawa (tamarind pulp) to keep the moulds looking immaculate.On the recipes he has picked up, Husaini said: “Although the basic ingredients are eggs, sugar and flour, tastes differ in the north and south, with folk in Johor preferring to use chicken eggs while in Kedah and Perak, the recipe calls for duck eggs.”
Husaini’s own recipe for the kuih bahulu cakes uses chicken and duck eggs. — Bernama