This is for old times sake, not exactly a cookie, more of a snack that my family used to make for Chinese New Year. And yes, it's been so long since we had this :( Wonder how many of my Chinese friends out there had this for CNY? Do you make them still?
If I am not wrong, this snack has a Malay origin, i only know it by its Malay name which is Kuih Siput translated it means Snail/Shell Cakes (i like to think of it as shell which it resembles). It's crunchy, savoury and spicy which makes it something very nice to munch on especially with a nice can of cold beer, very addictive i warn you!
My memories recall my Mum mixing the dough and frying it while Pa (plus my sister and I as the little helpers) did the shaping with a grooved board similar to making gnocchi. My Pa was very skilled at it, he even made his own board for this! Unfortunately Pa can't recalled where he kept them when i asked him the other day.
I look at a few recipes but was quite lost in terms of the best water/fat ratio. I had a pretty good idea of the spices that were in it though, so i played around twice and i am going to put the second attempt down for my future reference. The shaping takes quite a bit of effort, i am still wondering how was it possible that we made them by the tins back then, given that there were 4 of us but still, it's quite a job...
- 150g all purpose flour
- 30g butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds, pounded
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds, pounded
- 1 1/2 tbsp dried shrimps, washed, soaked for 10 minutes then pounded
- 50ml water
- 1/2 egg (lightly beaten)
- Sift flour then mix with salt, chilli powder, fennel, cumin and dried shrimps.
- Rub in butter.
- Mix in egg and stir well.
- Add in water gradually and mix until a soft and smooth dough is formed.
- Take a pinch of the dough, press it on a grooved board to get the imprints then using the thumb push it away from you, the piece of dough will roll up forming the shape of a seashell.
- Heat up oil in a wok or frying pan.
- Fry the shells over medium heat until golden brown.
- Ensure shells have cooled before storing in an air tight container.
- These are meant to be tiny morsels, making them big will result in shells that are so crunchy.
- Fry over medium heat, high heat will caused them to brown too easily.