The Chinese were among the earliest traders who came to Malaysia during the 15th century. Legend has it that a Chinese princess was sent as a gift(!) to the Sultan or King of Melaka (a state in then Malaya) in 1459.
The intermarriage between the princess and the Sultan formed the Peranakan community in Malaysia. The Peranankans or descendants evolved to form the combination of a Chinese and Malay culture which had their own unique customs, food and language.
Peranakans are renowned for their food especially desserts which are called kuih in Malay.
Seri muka is a two-layered dessert. The top layer is a green custard made from the extract of pandan leaves and the bottom layer is steamed glutinous rice. The result is a whole lot of deliciousness.
Here is a recipe for Seri Muka. I have never attempted making Seri Muka but this recipe actually looks fairly easy so I may have to try it.
Malaysia was a British colony and still retains some of the customs from colonial times. We still have tea around 4 pm in the afternoons and peranakan kuih are a popular item served alongside traditional tea sandwiches.
We move around a lot because of my husband’s job and I was lucky to have made some really good Malaysian and Singaporean friends when we lived in San Diego.
At our going away party, my good Singaporean friend, Phyllis made a huge tray of Seri Muka for us because she knew how crazy I am for it.
So now whenever I see or eat Seri Muka, I am always reminded of Phyllis who is not just an amazing cook but more importantly a fantastic person and friend.