For people who live outside Indonesia, Malaysia or Singapore, you may know the term of Nonya instead of Peranakan. Peranakan Chinese and Baba-Nyonya are terms used for the descendants of late 15th and 16th-century Chinese immigrants to the Nusantara region during the Colonial era. Nusantara is an Indonesian word for the Indonesian archipelago. It is originated from Old Javanese and literally means “archipelago.
Members of this community in Melaka address themselves as “Nyonya Baba” instead of “Baba-Nyonya. Nyonya is the term for the ladies and Baba for the gentlemen. It applies especially to the ethnic Chinese populations of the British Straits Settlements of Malaya and the Dutch-controlled island of Java and other locations, who have adopted partially or in full Nusantara customs to be somewhat assimilated into the local communities. They were the elites of Singapore, more loyal to the British than to China. Most have lived for generations along the straits of Malacca and not all intermarried with the local Native Indonesians and Malays.
In Java, Kee Kian or Kekian is very popular as Peranakan food. This Peranakan recipe actually uses pork fat, but in this recipe I substituted for chicken breast and homemade chicken oil. When I still resided in suburban Surabaya, I often saw ready to use halal kee kian or kekian (which means no pork contain) at the traditional wet market. We usually throw kee kian / kekian into cap cay or cap jae goreng , fried bihun/noodles or nasi goreng. Speaking about cap cay goreng, as I know “cap” means 10 in Hokkien, “cay” (read as jiy) means vegetables in Mandarin, and “goreng” is fried in bahasa Indonesia.
Kee Kian or Kekian
- Peranakan Shrimp and Chicken Cake -
250 grams peeled shrimp, minced
250 grams chicken breast (use the skin as well), minced
2 tablespoons chicken oil
75 grams tapioca flour
175 grams unbleach all purpose flour
50 milliliter water
3 cloves garlic, grated
kosher salt to taste
ground white pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon sugar to taste
banana leaves or food-grade thick plastic for wrapping material
Combine all ingredients.
Put the mixture in the middle of the banana leaves and roll them. Make sure they are tight enough so when they are cooked, they stick together. Leave empty at both ends to be tied up with tooth pick
Steam for 25 minutes.
How to eat them:
Cut the roll, about 1.5 cm (about 1/2 inch) deep and shallow fry them.
You can also use kee kian/kekian in your stir fries with any vegetables. Throw to your nasi goreng or just munch them with your favourite sauce.
How to freeze them:
After steaming process, cool them down. Then, just freeze them as is. When you are ready to eat them, deforst them by steaming or in the microwave. Then cut the roll as above.
You can always substitute this recipe with pure all shrimp instead of a mix shrimp and chicken or shrimp and pork fat.