Bubur Kapur: A Traditional Cendol Dessert Found in Sarawak
Bubur Kapur is a delightful Cendol dessert that graces the tables of Sarawak, especially during the sacred month of Ramadan. Sometimes referred to as bubur kasak, bubur sekapur, cendol sekapur, or simply sekapur, this sweet treat derives its name from the Malay term for “lime porridge.” However, it’s important to note that the “lime” in this context refers to calcium hydroxide or slaked lime, rather than the citrus fruit.
Bubur Kapur consists of two essential components—the jelly-like strands of Kapur and luscious sweetened coconut milk. While it shares similarities with other Cendol variations found throughout Malaysia and Southeast Asia, Bubur Kapur stands out for its unique Kapur jelly strands. Unlike traditional Cendol strands made from flour like cornstarch, mung bean starch, tapioca starch, or glutinous rice flour, Kapur strands are created solely using rice flour. In some instances, the Kapur is shaped into cubes rather than strands.
To craft the traditional Kapur strands, rice flour is combined with blended pandan leaves paste, water, and slaked lime. The mixture is then slowly cooked until it thickens into a batter-like consistency. The batter is carefully strained through a sieve, allowing the Kapur strands to solidify overnight. The solidified strands are rinsed in cold water, enhancing their firmness and eliminating any residual alkaline taste from the lime. It’s worth noting that the lime serves primarily to lend texture to the Kapur, rather than imparting flavor.
The cooked Kapur strands are then immersed in a luscious bath of coconut milk sweetened with Sarawak’s beloved palm sugar known as Gula Apong. Gula Apong is derived from the sap of the nipah palm or “atap/attap,” which flourishes naturally along Sarawak’s coastal regions. It possesses a slightly pungent aroma and taste, setting it apart from Gula Melaka. Nowadays, other palm sugars or brown sugar are also used as alternatives. A touch of salt is added to accentuate the flavours of this delightful concoction.
Bubur Kapur can be savoured either warm or cold, though it is most commonly enjoyed chilled, offering a refreshing respite from the tropical heat. Each spoonful is a harmonious blend of the tender Kapur strands and the creamy coconut milk infused with the alluring sweetness of Gula Apong.