AN INTRODUCTION TO "TEPUNG TALAM"
Atah made the best "tepung talam" in the whole world. "Tepung talam" or "kuih talam" is a Nyonya° dessert that is mainly made from flour (types of flour can vary too - wheat, tapioca or rice flour), coconut milk, palm sugar, and pandan leaves. As I travelled a bit more in the South-East Asian region, I discovered a diverse range or versions of "tepung talam"; in Indonesia, it is also known as kue talam, in the Philippines, they are called "talam sapin-sapin" or cassava cake, in Myanmar, it is regarded as "kway talan" (ကွေတာလန်း) while in Thailand, I came across this dessert as "tako talam". Regardless of the name, the dessert is universally delicious, creamy, a genius balance of saltiness and sweetness and great to be enjoyed hot or cold.
I recalled during the fasting month of Ramadan, Atah would make trays and trays of tepung talam which I would eat for iftaar (breaking fast) or after I performed my "tarawikh" prayer. And even now, as a 43-year old living abroad, one of my fondest memories of my childhood with Atah was eating plates of tepung talam in her warm cramped kitchen as she sat beside me, watching me gobble up the dessert with a twinkle in her eyes.
°They are the descendants of early Chinese migrants who settled in Penang, Malacca, Singapore and Indonesia, inter-marrying with local Malays