The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

Updated post on 16-2-2017

As promised, I have updated a recipe with sweet potatoes and since this is not for praying, I have added cranberries to enhance the taste.

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

The recipe is actually the same by just adding sweet potatoes to the dough. I personally find that it is slightly softer and the taste will not defer much as i have not use a lot of sweet potatoes. 

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

INTRODUCTION

I have been locating this recipe for at least two years because it is my childhood cake. I missed the cake and I am trying to see if it can be home prepared. This is a special cake and it will only appear the most twice a year, one is Ching Ming festival and another one is the Chinese ghost festival. Therefore, this is a cake for praying to the deceased and not the Taoism deity.

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

This cake nothing more than a mantou (馒头),but it is special because unlike normal mantou, it cracks on its own. It’s taste is exactly like a mantou. Note that this is not huat kuih (发糕)as it is technically wrong to call as such as the method of preparation and the ingredients are totally different.

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

In Sarawak where I hail from, it is called Piko or cracked cake (必糕) and usually required by the Chawan (诏安) dialect for these two festivals. It is pure white in colour and  obviously only Chawan community buy this kuih for praying. As far as I know, this kuih currently can still be found in Kuching, Dalat and Miri though it is not as common as other cakes. Initially, I wanted to classify this kuih as a Chawan cuisine, but I have decided to hold back because West Malaysia apparently have the same kuih after I studied the recipe.

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

Unlike East Malaysian version, West Malaysia called in moho kuih (摩诃粿)and it it usually very colourful with red, yellow, brown and at times, i saw green colour being used. i am trying to link the Sarawak piko and the West Malaysia moho kuih but not successful until I posted in a Taiwanese Group who give me some name to goggle.

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

I managed to find a write up that has the name of moho kuih and piko and confirmed that it is the same. In Taiwan, this cake also only appeared during the ghost festival. But instead of the white colour piko, the color the piko with pink and hence it is called a pi to and a cracked peach (必桃)

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

I gave up tracing the history of this kuih and apparently there is none in the internet. What amazed me is the name moho kuih that was used in West Malaysia and Taiwan. Moho is definitely in Hokkien dialect and in Mandarin, one way of written is 摩诃 and if you Google 摩诃, it is a Buddhist term that is used to describe one of the disciples of Buddha. Are they related? Well, i do not know and how i wish there are people who can answer my puzzle.

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

I have tried a few times preparing this kuih before but not successful. My intention is to issue a recipe of my childhood piko and I do not want to associate piko with moho kuih. Therefore, I have designed my own recipe but it refused to crack like I wanted it to be.

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

Recently , when one member of my Chawan dialect group Ms. Patricia posted her sweet potato piko, she shared with me how she did it and gave me a recipe and some pointers. And I realized that i failed terribly because of the “shaping” of the buns. There is not shaping required and with her pointer, I tried and it is successful. Subsequently I checked moho kuih recipe and it is basically the same and that explain why the two recipes are in the same post.

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

This is still my own simplified recipe that are very much faster than other moho kuih recipes in the internet. It took about 3-4 hours to get the cake as opposed overnights sourdough proofing.  My first attempt is successful in terms of shape but not the taste. It is too bland for my liking. Therefore I prepared the second batch with adjustment and bingo, the taste is very close to those sell in Kuching, at least during my childhood era.

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)


WHAT IS REQUIRED

Servings: 6-8 smiling mantou depend on size

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

  • 220 grams of plain flour or bao flour
  • 120 grams of white sugar
  • 1 egg (can be substituted with 50 grams of water for vegetarian version)
  • 50 grams or ml of water
  • 4 grams of instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon of double acting baking powder
  • 10 grams of vegetable shortening or cooking oil (optional)

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

For sweet potatoes version:

  • 220 grams of plain flour or bao flour
  • 120 grams of white sugar
  • 1 egg (can be substituted with 50 grams of water for vegetarian version)
  • 50 grams of mashed sweet potatoes 
  • 50 grams or ml of water
  • 4 grams of instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon of double acting baking powder
  • 10 grams of vegetable shortening or cooking oil (optional)

 

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)


STEPS OF PREPARATION

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

  • Put all the ingredients in the mixing bowl and knead until it forms a pliable dough.

  • Cover with a piece of wet cloth and let it proof for at least 3-4 hours. Overnight proofing in fridge is acceptable.

  • Prepare a steamer with hot boiling water.

  • Lightly dust the work surface with some flour, transfer the proofed dough to the work surface. Lightly shape it into an oblong shape of about 1 feet long. Do not knead the dough but handle the dough lightly. Use your hand to twist separate some dough about the horizontal length of the palm and transfer to a piece of paper with the twisted side facing up. Transfer the dough immediately to the steamer and steamed under high heat for 10-15 minutes.

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

  • For the preparation of moho kuih, take about 20% of the dough and put  some cocoa powder for brown dough, another 20% of the dough and put your preferred colouring for coloured dough . Proof the 3 dough for at least 3-4 hours.

  • Prepare a steamer with hot boiling water.

  • Lightly dust the work surface with some flour, transfer the proofed dough to the work surface. Lightly shape them into three oblong shapes of about 1 feet long. Do not knead the dough but handle the dough lightly. Put the coloured and cocoa dough on the middle of the white dough. Seal the edges until it form a long dough.

  • Use your hand to twist separate some dough about the horizontal length of the palm and transfer to a piece of paper with the twisted side facing up. Transfer the dough immediately to the steamer and steamed under high heat for 10-15 minutes.

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

  •  For sweet potatoes version, the method of preparation is the same except that when you add the water, you have to add gradually as it will depend on how wet is your  mashed sweet potatoes. Once it forms a dough like the above, it is considered as done.

 The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)


CONCLUSION

I blogged this recipe as a respect to my childhood cuisine. Whether or not there are members who tried it is irrelevant. What is more important is this must be captured for future generations. If you are not prejudiced, you can prepare this as a breakfast item. It is no more than a sweetened smiling mantou that can be eaten on its own . Since Ms. Patricia has provided a sweet potatoes piko recipe, when time permits, I will also share that recipe. I wish to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Patricia to share this recipe with me and without her pointers, I will not be able to proceed.

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

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The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)


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The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

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The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

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The Smiling Mantou–Sarawak Chawan Piko (必糕) aka West Malaysian Hokkien Moho Kuih (摩诃粿)

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