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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bubur Kacang Hijau

note on pix - the one in the blue bowl is plain bubur kacang, the one in green is bubur kacang with durian.

Bubur Kacang is my entry for this month's WTSIM hosted by Johanna over at The Passionate Cook. This month's theme is hotpuds. And I thought what a great way to showcase the ubiquitous Bubur Kacang, the most popular of all bubur in Malaysia! Bubur the word for porridge in Malay can be used for both sweet or savoury dishes. For sweet dishes, it is usually made with coconut milk - probably a combination of thin and thick coconut cream- and fuits, jellies, sticky rice, sago pearls or even dough made of flour and (more) coconut. Usually served hot on its own for tea.
I like serving bubur kacang for dinner parties especially when the theme is Asian/Malaysian. The sweet scent of the bubur warming up as the guests wait to be served their puds lend a promise of exotic escape. And the sensation of mingling layers of nutty, caramelly, sweet and slightly salty tastes makes those who taste it for the first time pause to savour on each flavour slightly longer. Even those who might not find the dessert particularly enchanting would talk about how surprising they find the taste of caramel+salt+sweet taste so good together.
It is also enlightening how something so mushy, soft and comforting and soothing can be exotic at the same time. Maybe I am getting older but I think it is all of these homely and surprising factors which make Bubur Kacang remains as everyone's favourite and why when you think of sweet bubur, it is Bubur Kacang that comes to mind first.
Then you talk about the mung beans, which when left to sprout would turn into bean sprouts or taugeh. I usually tell them about my experiment as a child thinking my mom was saying nonsense trying to build my own taugeh empire under the bed. It was very successful I must say until 16 days later when I came home from school to a nasty stench. And of course there is the cellophane noodles which is mung bean based and makes a great noodle salad (kerabu suhun). And then you tell them about how good mung bean is. And how in Malaysia, Bubur Kacang is usually served hot as a tea time treat even on a hot day as mung bean is reknown for its cooling properties. A fact my dad usually reminded us everytime we had it for tea probably to alleviate his guilt for indulging in the second bowl.
Durian is strictly optional and usually added when it is in season. I usually make it into durian cream to be poured over the bubur kacang when the guests feel inclined to. Or serve it as durian ice cream on top of the bubur kacang.

Bubur Kacang
200g mung beans
1l water (you may have to add more later)
400ml coconut milk
3 pandanus leaves
2 disk of palm sugar
1/2 cup dark muscovado sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 pieces of durian per person ---> optional

1. Wash mung beans thoroughly. In a pot, boil mung beans in a liter of water. Turn the fire lower and leave to cook until the beans break. The beans will double or triple in size. Taste the texture, if it is still hard or al dente - add more water. I usually add a cup at a time. Do not skip this part - if the mung beans don't break and turned mushy, the bubur doesn't work at all.
2. Once the beans are ready, add in coconut milk, pandanus leaves, palm sugar and salt. Stir to combine. Taste for sugar. Add the muscovado sugar as you please.
3. Once the bubur reach the boiling point, lower the fire, stir to combine all flavours and leave to simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Keep tasting for saltiness and sweetness. If you fine the bubur to be too thick, add water and let boil again.
4. To make Bubur Kacang Berdurian, add the durian flesh at this point. To serve different people who wish to have it with and without durian, serve it with a jug of durian cream*** on the side, leaving them to add as they please.
5. Serve hot.

***To make durian cream - combine durian flesh and 165ml of coconut milk in a pot and bring to boil. Add sugar and salt to taste. Serve immediately.


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