Kuih Koci - Brunei's Traditional Mochi

The original Bruneian ‘Kuih Koci’ is filled with shredded coconut that is sweetened with a brown sugar syrup. Picture: BT/Nurhamiza Hj Roslan

‘Kuih Koci’ is not entirely unique to Brunei as it can also be found in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Picture: BT/Nurhamiza Hj Roslan

Saturday, September 5, 2015

PASSED down from generation to generation, Kuih Koci – one of Brunei’s traditional Malay food items that sees a simple glutinous rice dumpling filled with sweet coconut – still remains a delicacy for much of the older generation in the Sultanate.

Noor Auji Mohammad Harunthmarin from the Academy of Brunei Studies at Universiti Brunei Darussalam, explains that to make Kuih Koci, the flour must first mix with water to form a dough which is then divided into palm-sized portions or smaller and then filled with sweetened shredded coconut.

The dumplings are then wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed.

Noor Auji says Kuih Koci can be found in night markets or places such as Tamu Kianggeh, sold at $1 for four pieces.

However, Kuih Koci is not entirely unique to Brunei and can also be found in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

In Taiwan and Japan, a popular variation of the Kuih Koci is known as Moachi and Mochi.

Though each brings with its own national culture and history, Noor Auji says the similarity between Kuih Koci and the Mochi and Moachi is that they are all made using glutinous rice flour.

The main difference is seen in the types of filling used. While the original Kuih Koci from Brunei only uses shredded coconut mixed with sugar syrup, Moachi and Mochi have various fillings which include red bean, peanut and even ice cream, explains Noor Auji.

She also says the Mochi from Japan has become really popular and that it has been able to penetrate the international market, being sold in countries such as the United States of America, China, Taiwan and even finding its way to Brunei.

Noor Auji adds that Brunei’s Kuih Koci can be a potential product for export, and says that she has interviewed a Kuih Koci maker from Malaysia who has successfully exported the dumpling to as far as Dubai.

As part of her research project, Noor Auji says she was required to experiment and find ways to innovate the Kuih Koci.

While experimenting, Noor Auji said she was able to come up with a number of different kinds using different fillings such as taro, kaya (coconut jam) and mung bean paste.

Despite its widespread popularity, Noor Auji also found that many people still did not know for sure when exactly Kuih Koci was first made in Brunei.

She says that for the most part, the time-tested recipe had been handed down from their great-grand parents.

Noor Auji explains that the challenges faced by the makers and sellers of Kuih Koci is a result of people’s declining interest in local traditional food and growing preference of imported food, especially those that carry international brands. – Nurhamiza Hj Roslan

The Brunei Times


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