... once upon a time ... a long long time ago ...

Small satchets of happenings from pockets of my life, as lapses of memories rewind to the particular place, moment and time ... realities of life
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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Buat Emping (Making Rice Flakes)

When the padi plants start to bear grain, the entire field will look greenish yellow; as the grains are turning yellow at the start of the ripening process. Acres and acres of them - you can see them as far as your eyes can wander. Before the grains start to ripen, we would sometimes make 'emping' (rice flakes) from the 'almost ripe' padi grains. With a small knife in the palm of our hand, we choose and clip the 'almost ripe' padi grains. Put them all together in a container and take them home for the adventure tonight.

As arranged, there will be a small gathering of the neighbours and close relatives at a house, which is normally part of a large compound. The adventure is to make 'emping'. A 'lesong kayu' (wooden pounder) is necessary to make the 'emping'. The 'almost ripe' padi grain will be heated in a frying pan (without any oil) over a small fire, to ensure that when it is pounded, the husk will be separated from the flakes. From the frying pan the heated padi grain is poured directly into the wooden pounder. Two or three people will pound on the grain (for a minute or two) turning them into rice flakes. This cycle continues until all the 'almost ripe' padi grain is all finished. The pounded lot is then taken out of the pounder into a 'nyiru' (flat container made of rattan - about 2 feet in diameter) and someone will juggle the 'nyiru' into the air, the lighter husk flying-off into the air leaving the heavier 'emping' in the 'nyiru'. This is done to separate the husk from the 'emping'. The 'emping' is then collected and kept in a container.

When all is done, everyone will get together over hot tea while enjoying the 'emping'. The 'emping' is normally served by mixing it with brown sugar and grated coconut, with a pinch of salt. The 'emping' is a little bit rougher and harder to chew; as compared to present modern flakes, like corn flakes. Nevertheless, for people who live in the 'kampong'; frying, pounding and making, and eating, 'emping' together during the evening is an adventure that is never forgotten.

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