Kuih Kalakatar: The Traditional Kuih from the Banjar Community in Malaysia
Kuih Kalakatar is a traditional dessert closely associated with the Banjar community in Malaysia, particularly in the northern part of Perak where a significant Banjar population resides. Also known as Wadai Kalakatar, Bingka Kelapa Muda, or Bingka Kelapa, Kuih Kalakatar is a coconut-flavoured cake with a custard-like texture.
The exact origin of the name is not officially documented, but there are speculations regarding its etymology. Some believe that “kalakatar” is an onomatopoeic representation of the wobbling and jiggling of the soft custardy cake. According to Banjar elders, the name Kalakatar is derived from the Banjar’s old language, combining “kala” and “katar,” which means “while hot.” This is fitting as Kuih Kalakatar is indeed best enjoyed warm.
Preparing Kuih Kalakatar is relatively simple. A batter is made by combining young coconut water with flour (either plain flour, rice flour, or a combination of both), eggs, sugar, and salt. Some variations may include the addition of milk and vanilla essence for enhanced flavor complexity. Once the batter is well mixed, it is poured into an oiled mould, and strips of young soft coconut flesh are added. The batter is then baked until the cake sets and develops a crust. Alternatively, the kuih can be steamed.
Kuih Kalakatar is not commonly found throughout Malaysia, except in areas with a substantial Banjar population, such as the Kerian district of Perak. During the holy month of Ramadan, this kuih is often prepared specifically for consumption before and after fasting, adding a delightful touch to the iftar and suhoor meals.