Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Thursday, October 14, 2004
Nekbat Posted by Hello
Puasa Ramadhan or fasting in the month of Ramadhan is one of the 5 tenets of Islam. My ustaz (religious teacher) told me once that puasa is the ibadah that you do for Allah alone. Others, like solat or going for haj might be done insincerely, not voluntarily or 'auzubillah just to show off. Fasting is between you and Allah. Nobody else knows whether you are really fasting or not.

Ramadhan is coming. Many bloggers mentioned it. RTM has already listed the places where the sighting of the moon will take place. A long time ago, it was only at Teluk Kemang that they sighted the moon. I began to think that Teluk Kemang was the place in Malaysia nearest to the moon and would make the best place to launch rockets to the moon.

In old Terengganu, we waited for the coming of the Ramadhan at Padang Malaya. The eve of Ramadhan is called petang megang. As children, we would wait for the geta (big brass bell) to be rung while sliding down the hill (Bukit Puteri) on a pelepah pinang (areca nut palm frond) on the Istana side of the massive arch where beta-blogger said the atu kekeng (astriding ghost) was.

When we heard the geta being rung and the cannon (on another hill) being fired, everyone would know "Esok pose!" (Fasting tomorrow). We would then run home and reminded our moms not to forget to wake us up for sahur (the pre-dawn meal). We wanted to pose (fast) because we looked forward to buke pose (breaking fast). We wanted to gulp down the glasses of air sirap Cak Bunga Ros ( with biji selasih in them)/air nyior/tuak and then go for the dish of the day. Some families, like mine, did not break fast with rice and lauk but went for stuff like meatballs with toasts, mee siam, bata Buruk, roti jala or other delicacies. Or else we go to Mesjid Putih for bubur lambuk. But ice is a must. Dimestikan or de rigueur if you must be uppity.

Those days, enterprising kids would make extra money for raya by selling ice blocks. They bought blocks of ice from the ice factory in Pulau Kambing and retail them by sawing them into profitable and portable smaller blocks. The ice would be sawed on demand and then smothered with sawdust to thwart thawing and tied with a kercut (a type of reed) string.

One of the desserts that my late mother served during Ramadhan was nekbat. I would eye the square glass butter dish that she used to put the nekbat in long before breaking fast time. Nekbat looks like small baulu but it is not sweet. You made it sweet by cooking it in water with sugar and throw in some cloves. Terengganu people call this part of cooking sira. The amount of water will determine whether the nekbat melts in your mouth or just be soggy. Nekbat doesn't keep well. Every year I asked my friend Pok Daud Basika to courier me dozens of nekbat. They would always arrive with fungi on them.

I used to tell my kids how this nekbat got its name. Once upon a time it was called nekmat (pleasure) for the sheer pleasure that it gave. But the boy who went around hawking it had a stuffed nose and instead of crying out "Nekmat! Nekmat!" he sounded "Nekbat! Nekbat!" and the name stuck.
Believe it, or not.

Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan!

( In case you need to brush up on Puasa and Terawikh, there are free ebooks available)

| 12:36 AM :: ::
18 CommentsOldStyle:
  • ...kita pose sebab nak bukak pose...i thought that's funny ;)

    By Blogger PretentiousRot, at 12:27 AM  
  • Saya masih ingat pergi membeli air batu yg di gergaji semasa bulan puasa.Makanan yg saya amat suka ialah cendol!

    It is very rare that I could get good cendol during Ramadhan in KL.

    Selamat Berpuasa.

    By Blogger Mohd Adib Noh, at 6:07 AM  
  • Nekbat - my favourite kuih ever. Spare a thought for this soul di perantauan during the fasting month, will you.

    By Blogger karina, at 8:48 AM  
  • i've never tried Nekbat before but im sure its heavenly. remind me to try it if i ever go to Trengganu, uncle.

    'SELAMAT MENYAMBUT RAMADHAN AL-MUBARAK' to all muslims out there.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:08 AM  
  • They used to 'tembok meriam' on Bukit Puteri as a sign of waktu berbuka, I remember. But according to my dad, they stopped doing after the change of government (waste of money, the reason I think). Hope they'll start again this year. It is always exciting waiting for the sound. Btw, there is a shop in Gong Kapas which still sells ice blocks!

    Am off to start puasa in KT this weekend. Already gave mom my list, ne'bat included! Want me to bring back some fresh ones? *grin*

    By Blogger lion3ss, at 10:30 AM  
  • I thought they will tengok the anak bulan in Bukit Besar? Aaanyway, selamat berpuasa to you Pok Ku, and all the readers out there.

    By Blogger lion3ss, at 10:35 AM  
  • I stumbled upon your blog yesterday...and I'm beginning to follow it religiously. I think I'm gonna read all you entries today, if I have the time. I hope I have the time. It reminds me of old memories...my father when he was still alive and balik kampung. Kampung is in Terengganu, of course. Makes me wanna go back tomorrow...if only I can.

    By Blogger Kok Bi, at 10:55 AM  
  • Salams Pok Ku,

    I just want to wish you selamat menyambut Ramadhan :)

    Leen @ xanga.com/ashburn

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:01 AM  
  • nekbat! i want i want i want! sorry ar, me non-muslim so come Ramadhan, i binge! bbuuurrrppp! Selamat Berpuasa Pok Ku ;)

    By Blogger Buaya69, at 11:02 AM  
  • A happy ramadhan ahead to you too. Its amazing that every Malaysian seem to throng all the pasar ramadhan's ;)

    Cheers!!! :D

    By Blogger hyelbaine, at 11:28 AM  
  • ne'bat is my favourite too. Been years since I last had them ;)

    By Blogger elisataufik, at 1:06 PM  
  • someone posted url to this blog at my blog... being fellow terengganuians(?), reading your post on nekbat is nothing short of travelling back to memory lane... fortunately, my mom still made them... plus akok (cook using sabut kelapa), pulut lepa (nope, not the orangy coconut thingy inti, but real sambal ikan), sata, otak2... hhhhmmmm....

    By Blogger badrul, at 4:34 PM  
  • Fasting month means bazar ramadan. There's lots and lots of stalls and lots and lots of kuih and of course there is nekbat too. What we oberve at the bazaar ramadan are also non muslims who also buys the kuih. ( Buaya69 I saw you buying the kuih tiau goreng last year) Thats is really the spirit of Malaysian. I suppose half the customers of the kuih stalls are patronised by Non Muslims. It is good for the seasonal businessmen who can make some duit raya. I remember during the recession a few years ago , a well known BMW dealer also sell his pulut panggang for the breaking of the fast.
    During the fasting month , we dont take the morning breakfast but we take the evening break fast.Since it is in the evening it should be rightfully called break second. What reminds me of those childhood days of fasting is that you can fast half a day today and half a day tomorrow and add them to one day to claim the duit raya equivalent to one day. ( It reminds me of a friend who solat jamak qasar for subuh and zohor!!)
    Selamat berpuasa to all Muslims .

    By Blogger Derumo, at 5:00 PM  
  • Here Ramadan is starting on Friday. Have a happy Ramadan all . I am really enjoying reading your blogs Mann .


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:22 AM  
  • hmm sedapnyer netbak...isyhh dok sabo doh nok balik tganu makan nekbat!

    By Blogger kaezrin, at 3:53 PM  
  • Dear Sir

    That was really nice of you to leave your encouraging post on my blog.

    And since then I've kind of become addicted to yours -- filled with really wonderful nuggets of information that helps me understand adat Melayu.

    Please keep it up.

    Perhaps you can remind me when it was that we met.

    Peace - V

    By Blogger Vernon, at 4:42 PM  
  • Dear Ayah Elida,

    From having eaten both and noticing their similiarity, I believe Nikbat is the Indian Gulab Jamun. It won't surprise me if GJ is the origin of Nikbat. In taste though the Malay or Terengganu Nikbat is waaaay superior to the Indian or Pakistani GJ. The GJ syrup is usually too sweet and too saturated with spice [usually cloves].


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:41 AM  
  • When I was small there was still no electricity in my kampung, so I had to buy the sawed ice block covered in sawdust.

    Selamat berpuasa Pok Ku dan beroleh keberkatan Ramadhan.

    By Blogger Nectar, at 11:27 AM  
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