Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Friday, March 18, 2005
I really have no valid explanation as to why I suddenly thought of kolleh. Maybe the hard drive in my brain scoured the database within and stopped at kolleh. I am not even sure if kolleh still lurks in various brass pots somewhere in the kitchens of Terengganu. It has been a while since I tasted kolleh. The last time was when I was 8 years old. It was about the same time the spherical golden balls earrings, otherwise known as subang bung was the rage. No, I didnt wear earrings and never will so there is no connection whatsoever between kolleh and subang bung other than to pinpoint the period.

As far as I can remember, kolleh is shapeless which makes it harder to remember. If you ask buaya69, he will tell you that it is easier to remember things with shapes (or shapely things) compared to a mass of protoplasm. So, I have to dreg the deep recesses of my memory to come up with a few salient points of the kolleh:
  1. Kolleh is made from wheat flour. There are also kollehs made from kacang hijau.
  2. Quality kolleh has eggs mixed with the flour
  3. Kolleh is sweetened during the cooking process by adding granulated sugar or nissang (gula melaka/coconut sugar)
  4. Kolleh is thick ( it may look stupid too) and when ready to be eaten is somewhat like gruel. Most of the time it is like a brown paste
  5. Kolleh is extremely unattractive and never made it to any cookery page of magazines.
Kolleh is not a dessert. In Terengganu, it is usually cooked for tea although it would be not be anything like the English tea where they have tea and crumpets (or strumpets, as the case may be) or tea and cucumber sandwiches. Thus kolleh will take turns with asang gupal, onde onde, teri mandi, bata buruk and tok aji serbang to be the fare of the afternoon.

On a totally different level, kolleh is something like my ideas. It never gels. It never knows what to be. Like I told you, it is shapeless, hesitating between a syrupy liquid and a gooey mass. Some people are like that too. At least the humble bronok can make up its mind and has a definite shape, turning purple in a given time covered by grated coconut.

I have a friend called Umo Kolleh. Whether the Merang folks gave him that sobriquet due to his fondness of the kolleh or because he demonstrated qualities of the said kolleh, I will never know. Whatever it is, I miss both Umo and kolleh.